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Happy Birthday, Freedom! Print E-mail

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Let’s drink a toast, let’s have a party, let’s light 25 torches of freedom! 25 years ago on November 9, the Wall that imprisoned Berlin died, and freedom was reborn.
This is a birthday party in print. You’re invited!

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Sticking with the Union Print E-mail

Crying for Scotland: Pro-independence supporters console each other in George Square in Glasgow on Sept. 19.
Crying for Scotland: Pro-independence supporters console each other in George Square in Glasgow on Sept. 19.

Scotland has rejected independence but other European separatists still want to go it alone. The solution is to make Europe an entity in which everyone can feel at home

By Theo Sommer

September 26, 2014

The earthquake did not occur. Scotland will not secede from the United Kingdom. Some 55.3 percent of the voters rejected Scottish independence, only 44.7 percent voted in favor. It was a close-run contest, but the result is clear. Britain won’t lose one third of its land mass and one twelfth of its population. The union remains intact and the world is going to be spared “Little Britain” – at least for the time being.

If the protagonists of independence had had their way, the new state of Scotland would have entered the world scene on March 16, 2016. Until then, angry and noisy wrangles would have poisoned British life – quarrels not unlike the acrimonious feuds between divorcing couples. Could Scotland have kept not only the Queen but the pound sterling as well? How to divide up Britain’s national debt, its currency reserves, the National Health Service, the country’s social insurance systems? Above all: How to split up the oil and gas riches of the North Sea? And as the rump UK would have had to relocate its nuclear submarine fleet, the backbone and bedrock of Britain’s claim to world power status, from its present base at Faslane on the River Clyde and the warhead depot at Coulport, a fierce argument about the future – or non-future – of the British deterrent would have shaken the country.

Enjoy the gain – share the pain Print E-mail

Germany is profiting from the euro crisis. Time to give something back

By Hans-Jürgen Jakobs

September 26, 2014

Nobody likes an overachiever, the model child who knows the answer to every question, gets top grades and then has the highest-flying career. Yet that is roughly the position occupied by Germany in the European Union and the eurozone.

Sure, this model child is no primped and proper square. It’s come to be quite modern and liberal; sometimes it’s amazingly relaxed. But there is still the problem of it’s constant excellence, this show of performance, these straight-A report cards – which make Germany lonely in Europe. So much brilliance makes others jealous and suspicious when economic growth overall is too weak.

Europe, the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are all focused on Berlin, Angela Merkel and the economy she represents, whose movers and shakers stand out in an economic landscape full of craters. Germany’s transformation from “the sick man of Europe” – as The Economist magazine called it ten years ago – to European superhero has been too sudden. Much of the change is due to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s Agenda 2010 policy, which for many has become a magic formula for overcoming economic ills.

When the Wall came down Print E-mail

Berlin: Zimmerstrasse/Ecke Wilhelmstrasse.
Berlin: Zimmerstrasse/Ecke Wilhelmstrasse.

Twenty-five years ago, East Germans tore down the walls and fences the communist regime had used to imprison them

By Edgar Wolfrum

September 26, 2014

The Cold War division of the world took place after 1945 in several stages. It was two events, however, that acted as catalysts: the 1948 Berlin Crisis and the 1950 to 1953 Korean War, in which Stalin’s Soviet Union first cooperated with the newly-founded People’s Republic of China under Mao. The United States considered the situation so threatening that it came close to using nuclear weapons. These fault lines of the conflict, where liberal democracy confronted communism, were in Germany and Korea, two countries split into territories dominated by either side.

With the establishment of the occupation zones in 1945, Germany began to drift apart, as the idea that the Western Allies and the Soviets could jointly administrate the defeated and shattered country soon proved illusory. Between 1945 and 1961, three and a half million people left the Soviet occupation zone, which became East Germany. The young and well educated in particular voted with their feet against the “Workers’ and Farmers’ State.”

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