While celebrating Berlin Wall’s fall, a wall still encloses West’s mind

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/9 21:08:58

Two women link their fingers through a hole of the remains of the Berlin Wall at a memorial on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, Germany on Friday. Germany will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Saturday. Photo: VCG

The collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 30 years ago, led to dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. Two years later, the Soviet Union disintegrated. Looking back at history, what would come to our mind? Is it about why the West's celebration for victory ended so early or the impact the event has had on today's global changes?  

The fall of the Berlin Wall is seen as a sign of the end of the Cold War. The West celebrated it as the "end of history," but soon was disappointed and upset. The world is changing, so is the West. The 2008 global financial crisis, in particular, crushed morale of the West, showing the world how unreliable the "end of history" is. Those who cheered the West's victory began to realize the "decline" and "failure" of their financial system. But the root cause is the dysfunction of the Western system.

We can see how changes have taken place from observing the global economic landscape. From 1980 to 2007, the developed economies accounted for an average of 59 percent of world GDP (measured in terms of purchasing power parity), whereas the combined share of developing and emerging economies was 41 percent. Now those shares are completely reversed. The latest estimates of the IMF show advanced economies took up 41 percent while developing economies 59 percent. 

The global expansion of Western civilization in more than 500 years has reached a turning point. This shows the trend of global development, which determines the outcome of the Cold War and where the global pattern in the post-Cold War era is headed. 

It's not easy for some Western theorists to accept this change. The Cold War, in essence, is a political confrontation and a battle that a value wanted to triumph over another. It won't end just because of the disintegration of one side. French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO is in the throes of "brain death." It's because the "military brain" of the world's largest armed organization is degrading after losing its military rival but its "political brain"is still vibrant. 

The end of the Cold War has reinforced the impulse of the West to expand its values and systems, prolonging the life of the "political brain." Even if it has suffered frustrations in reality, this is far from enough to propel a change. 

The Cold War's toxic legacy to the world is that it advocates values that can be classified into superior and inferior and can be used to create confrontation. The danger is that till today some major powers still make their global strategy based on this. They can't adapt to the trend of global development. Especially when facing the overall rise of the developing countries spearheaded by China, they hope to replicate the Cold War and score a victory. 

Some are deliberately looking for new opponents. They even create imaginary enemies and a sense of crisis so as to inspire themselves. The Cold War mind-set might seem vanished but it is so deeply hidden that it will emerge anytime.  

No one wants the reemergence of "balance of terror" between major powers as in the Cold War. Under the "balance of terror," people on both sides of the Berlin Wall felt threatened. It also dragged the whole world into nuclear terror. 

When the West celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it should  bring down the wall in its mind instead of letting the old-fashioned Cold War mentality disturb peace-loving mankind.

The article is an editorial of the Global Times.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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