tv Cross Talk RT November 8, 2019 11:00pm-11:30pm EST
you didn't. understand that. the 1st funerals were held for an american family brutally slaughtered in mexico by a drug cartel as it's revealed they would killed with weapons that originated in the u.s. we look at how the illegal arms trade is fueling baden's. hallway squeezes its u.s. rival apple out of the lucrative chinese market with a surge in global profits despite washington's bid to discredit the tech giant and . brazil's president of leftist leader the silver is released from prison as he appeals his corruption case he was greeted by cheering supporters who believe the charges against all politically motivated is. well those all the headlines and that's it for me for now
andrew follow will be here with you next hour to take you through all the latest news from around the world and stay with us for cross-talk next here on our international. hello and welcome to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle 30 years ago the berlin wall fell the cold war had essentially come to an end the fall of the cold war symbol was heralded as a new spring of nations and the end of communism decades on what is the legacy of this historic event the promises of 1989 been fulfilled.
crosstalk in the fall of the berlin wall i'm joined by my guest john laughlin in paris he is a political scientist and historian in washington we have harold james he's a professor of history and international affairs at princeton university as well as author and editor of a number of books including when the wall came down reactions to german unification and in cork we cross to geoffrey roberts he is emeritus professor of history at university college cork and a member of the royal irish academy all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always appreciate it let me go to john and paris for 30 it's been 30 years now believe it or not because i remember it so vividly when it happened a few months before i had been living in poland for a number of years and an avid student of eastern european communist affairs at the time john 30 years on what is its meaning because i look at cursory reviews of you know that in commenting on it it is the people's power the rise of the spring of
nations in eastern europe but that's a kind of a narrative that is very western i suppose but i lived there it was i don't have that same kind of feel for it ok though having said that i'm very glad those communist regimes are gone and the wall go ahead john. you know well like you peter i lived through those events very directly like you i was studying eastern european studies at oxford at that point i spent that summer in 1909 in romania and in hungary and indeed in september 89 i was in west berlin and was there when the 1st east berlin is arrived in west berlin having driven through czechoslovakia hungry austria and and the whole of germany so i have a very strong memory of it as well i would make 2 points the 1st is that none of it would have happened without gorbachev decision to pull the rug on the eastern european communist regimes that was decision he took in june and which he announced to the german chancellor helmut kohl at the time and all the events that we remember now the jangling of keys in the square in prague the the torch is the
candlelight the songs and so on all that was nothing but operetta it was political operetta it was froth on the tidal wave of history but it was not the cause of the tidal wave of history the cause i'm afraid was much more basic and much more realistic it was the decision as i say of the soviet union no longer to support. those regimes and once the support of moscow had been withdrawn they collapsed so it was not the triumph of people in the streets of berlin or whatever it was instead it is jus political decision taken by moscow which had the inevitable consequences that we know about ok now you only lighted the human is and fell ok i mean i did as i say it is not is that harold was disagreeing with you go ahead errol in washington you know i really do think it has much deeper roots it has roots that go back into the 1950 s. and 1960 s. but for me that really transformational story was good papacy of john paul the 2nd
. mobilization you saw the demonstration of millions of poll. people really united against against the regime and from that moment on. the regime lacked any legitimacy in addition to that there's a systematic economic failure and it's not but gorbachev is dealing with stuff that gorbachev has to respond to threats the basic sentiment is there in the streets of force or it's a bear in the streets of prague and it's very very clear i think i'm ok i think it's completely wrong i think of it as well. ok but harold i agree i spent a lot of time in poland and one thing on jang on jeff hang on one thing is that i would tend to agree that maybe kind of split the difference with john here is that i think i know that there was a lot of people were disgruntled with the political and economic system they had in poland many were that is true ok but the pappas the of john paul the 2nd united
people and what they didn't like it wasn't where they wanted to go that was very unclear that there wasn't even a glimmer in anyones eye of where they should go they just didn't know what they did they didn't know what they didn't like jeff uncorked jumpin a lot a lot of different things he did and again i think we got to we had a time delay go ahead jack i liked might be ok maybe yes go ahead well i agree i agree to a certain extent with both john and with highroad yes i agree i agree with joe on that goal which i hope was a factor in 1000 when the globe which of there's no there's no people's revolution in 1009 in the senate i don't agree with you on that goal which will pull the rug from under the east coast european congress route regimes or at least that was the intention go to chelsea intention was to save the comic book to save communities and to revitalize it and what he was trying to do was to encourage east european congress leaders to actually to do the necessary reforms on the other hand it's not
just about gold which of the dead was a kind of masculine popular uprising in various countries in eastern europe and that mass uprising that people's revolution was critical in pushing events in the. direction such as like said i agree. with high road yes i was to the fact is is to go but you'll fuck the revolution from above is led by cold which of and is the revolution from below that comes from the street ok and you. had. thanks i mean obviously it's difficult to discuss such a big issues in the short term it's needed for television the reason why i said what i said is that on the 13th of june 1909 gorbachev effectively toyed helmut kohl that he the soviet union would not oppose german reunification that the communication of that information to call in the gardens of the federal chancellery says it all because once the soviet union let it be known to west germany that it
would not oppose east german reunification then the entire house of cards could only collapse of course they were popular discontent i would never dream of suggesting otherwise and i certainly didn't suggest otherwise what i would say though to harold james is that those previous expressions of popular discontent including in poland were suppressed by force they were suppressed by force in berlin in $153.00 in prague in 168 in budapest in 156 and in poland in 1901 we all know that the decision was taken by gorbachev to stop that policy to abandon the doctrine and once he did that the whole thing unraveled and that seems to me to be the cause of everything you hear all the want to respond to there go ahead. yes i mean i do think that is right there was a moment we know now when the east german regime was considering using force and they had after all the example of tiananmen square behind them and they were
explicitly prohibited from doing that by the by the soviet union by major gorbachev and so that is indeed important but i do think you really have to think that by that stage it's really too late there is an enormous amount that's just going on on the street and actually i wanted to disagree a little bit peter with what you said before that there wasn't a plan for what to do in the middle of the 1980 s. and 1905 solidarity office in brussels the summit on the show office in brussels wrote to the international monetary fund that they wanted a plan for the reconstruction of poland along the lines proposed by leisure boats or ovitz and so the discussion of the reform has now been well documented after 990 it was already being discussed well ok well when we very important given harold with all due respect i mean solidarity wasn't a monolithic thing even in the 1980 s. there were a lot of different solidarity is for sure ok absolutely ok absolutely of course i
mean any political party any political movement is a coalition of different things and you know there was a catholic element to it a very very strong effort and absolutely as a liberal and i'm into that ok with this kind of easily dovetail so my question for jeff uncork i mean if given the go to child mind set in 1909 i think all of us probably at the time thought there would be some kind of reform communism because that's what got a bunch up was talking about for the soviet union itself and i think that's what really caught all of us every single one of us off guard because you can't have a little bit of this of a little bit of bad and it's either one or the other jeff. that was very much that was the intention was recent comments and also. it was the intention that a lot of the activists who were leading these mr must demonstrations in the g.d.r. in prague and other places that's the way they saw the future as well and it's were a lot of outside observers saw the future now we know what happened that there was
no reform comes and communism collapsed but because that happened to me to say that it was inevitable at the time there were lots of all kinds of different possible political futures and so on and i don't accept you know that once you once resolve the same motion and once gorbachev did what he did it the only outcome was the outcome of that happened which is a complete collapse and the introduction of this little girl i don't believe that all of it or all kinds of possibilities there what happened was amount of political choices lots of different political choices including choices were made by gorbachev by western leaders by you know the people on the ground in central east europe as well ok well johnny made my bed again the actual existing socialism our going back to graduate school here i mean it was very totalistic it's either one thing or another it's not like how do we you know it's like the further perfecting of communism a model that kind of. language which has a really make any sense ok and i didn't believe in breaking it through
a reform reforming actual existing socialism was possible if you can't you can't reform it it has to go down. yes i think that's right i think you can be any more half communist than you can be half pregnant and the subsequent history of the soviet union itself of course showed this because as we know the forces which gorbachev unleashed ended up destroying the soviet the communist party of the soviet union in the soviet union itself so i agree with that i also think that today just as in a comment about russia in the today common to present day russia western commentators focus only on the liberal opposition they never focus on the nationalist opposition or of the communist opposition. so they have a totally liberal interpretation of the coming down of the berlin wall the coming down of the berlin wall was of course the physical barrier which divided the german capital and therefore the german nation and so it did have an important national
content and the same applied to some extent for the other countries of eastern europe although of course as we know the un curtain itself came in june john mccain really john crush hold on to call john d. tony in his hold that thought we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the fall of the berlin wall stay with me. nobody wants to look at the wildfires and say the obvious number one the taxes are being misused and they're not being adequately distributed to where they are needed on the infrastructure side because there's a government failure number 2 climate change regardless of whether you believe it's happening or not the damage that is going to be applied to your pocketbook that you
will pay for climate change whether you believe it or not you know it's still the price is still there. today there are good tennis and bad debt it's the bad news in yemen the united states deems to be a threat the good those who work in syria the cia and the u.s. military were engaged in covert actions really throughout the world. where they were assassinating populist leaders they were backing up the right way military funding an army just was there's no. more because there's always a small. really good. profit. welcome back to crossfire where our things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the fall of the berlin wall 30 years ago.
ok john i had to go to a hard break there are you more back and would you like to finish your point go ahead so what i was saying was that the fall of the berlin wall obviously physically symbolized the reunification of germany in the liberation of the nations of central europe but what it really was if you like even more so than the collapse of a physical barrier was the collapse of communism itself as a governing ideology and as i said earlier we know that the collapse of that ideology ended up in golf in the soviet union itself what this collapse allowed western liberals to do is to do what trotsky originally did back in the in 1920 s. which was to prevent soviet communism as purely an expression of russian imperialism and nothing else and to make an obstruction if you like of the whole communist ideology the whole marxist ideology which they the today's liberals the
intellectuals who in the in the cold war in western europe and the united states had supported let's never forget that marxism was extremely alive and well in western universities throughout the entire period of the cold war still we're now with a sort of revisionist leisure demo it's now presented it still is it's now print the berlin wall of the collapse of the berlin wall is now presented as nothing but the collapse of a russian empire when in fact it was the collapse of a marxist ideological empire and that to me is the is the most important thing that we must remember i think the critical years later errol do our reflect upon that that's very interesting. i'd like to. go ahead and i agree. i agree that the. it was the collapse of the communist idea and that's absolutely right i remember these discussions in east berlin in 199991 people discuss the 3rd way and whether the world of of there were formal
tentative and then there was a very powerful mind that the 3rd way is just a way into the 3rd world it's a way to backwardness and you had a model of yugoslavia that which was obviously not soviet style communism and in some ways it was held up as an example of how you can do reform but yugoslavia fame of this miserable it is the soviet experiment failed but then it also was i think you have to think of that also historically that this is the result of $145.00 and so if you think of what happens in poland what happens in hungary what happens in czechoslovakia it's the result of soviet power and the story of communism in in poland or hungary is not simply a nature of movement this is taken over. because of the military presence of the soviet union jeff we have a time delay i'm sorry for that let me let's go to jeff now we go to jeff. yeah. peter i'm a bit surprised the extent to which you buy into the western liberal triumph of
this narrative is i'm not i'm a plotline not you still there is no no no there's actually a well let me finish my but that's actually existing socialism is either one thing or the other then you actually can't explain what happened in 1909 because the reform the impetus which i each kind from weave in common dismissals. and from from from something. you know you talk about you know the end of the communist idea well people said that in relation to china i mean what they will society in 1990 was that china will be next chinese commies in the full was not the case we still have a communist regime in china don't we and we have a situation where the people are talking about china becoming the most powerful actor in the little so how does that fit in with this kind of like triumphalist you know to try out the place where they listen and you have to write a letter you come and i think ok i would i would like i would love a answer that i have to tell you heidi on hang on here i'd love to answer that but i want to hear my guess 1st because i have a bone to pick with you jeff but i'm going to go to harold 1st go ahead. so i mean
i think if you think of what to what happened in china of course it's it's a communist party in china but what's happened is a completely different kind of evolution than the evolution of the soviet union and an adoption since the early 1980 s. of market principles. and so the really the creation of a tremendous find dynamism that comes from the. liberation of people in the economic sphere so there's a lot of economic freedom obviously on the political side there's a one party state but in in terms of economic dynamism that's where it comes from it doesn't come from old style central planning and in the soviet model ok well let me go to john here and i kind of want to address what jeff had to say here because i hate to. i could just get very quick just get here very quickly can i just get in
very quickly peter one quick point one quick point yes what i'm trying to get away from here is just kind of what i can essentially is kind of view of history what happened was a matter of historical contingency what only so all kinds of different outcomes are possible and we can see that now because of the time everyone's saying no to transfer of the west front of liberalism democracy would we say that's the case now that i do not i am not i said just now is that we democrats now we want what are you with us are you saying history into the year ok let me go to john here and i think it will answer jeff's concerns with my questions now with look at 30 years later in eastern europe and you have a lot of people in these former communist countries that are not very happy with neo liberalism you can look in poland you can look at hungry you can look elsewhere all through the former eastern bloc i'm directing this question for jaf but i want john dancer it. i think you're slightly tilting at windmills because i think the
other peter ryan also the old defenders of western liberalism or western liberal fairytales know what i was trying to say earlier is that the collapse of the berlin wall is of course a physical event but what it and what it showed was the liberation of east 1st east berlin as east germans eastern european saw but it was also the liberation of russians and of soviet citizens from the same communist dictatorship which had by then collapsed or was in the process of collapsing and the revisionism that i was referring to in my earlier answer is the revisionism to say that the communist regime in eastern europe which is how james of course rightly says was imposed through soviet force that that regime was somehow the domination of russians over czechs and germans and poles and so on it was not that it was an ideology minister ideology over all those people equally and so the. liberty if it came came just as much to the russians as it did to the east germans and everyone else liberty which
like all the party comes with a price and risk that's what liberty is and of course yes not least because of the abuses of western power the abuses of neo liberalism yes of course plenty of people in particular i would say in hungary actually more so than poland i don't know perhaps you know better than i do of course they're disappointed with it but i don't think that those disappointment should cause us to forget the very real tyranny under which people lived both in the soviet union and in eastern europe as a result of marxism a ghetto i agree with that heraldry reflected by now because we do have a. major differences apparently on this program go ahead carol. yes i mean i think if you just look at the results. if you do when you look back over the 30 years you can see really substantial increases in wellbeing if you take objective indicate. mortality. life expectancy. the
health of the population life is just simply got better for people in central and eastern europe. dramatic improvement they've got why direct sister health care. it's a really very very impressive ok moment ok but harold there's something that's i mean i think you should there's something more than economic indicators ok so how would you do explain the rise of populism and nationalism in eastern europe i think it is a region it is a reaction in many ways a rejection of neo liberalism ok because the communist period put a put into deep freeze a lot of ideas in eastern europe and probably ideas that should have been frozen ok but now with the end of communist rule in eastern europe you're seeing it come up again and and the e.u. and neil liberalism is not answering all those needs. economic indicators isn't
enough i mean we live more we need more than just bread ok that was the whole point of the question. were there but people do need a basic. measure of existence and. that was really problematic if you look in the 1980 s. their life expectancy was very low there were more deaths because of cancer more deaths because of heart attacks more deaths because of violence and that all changed in the 1990 s. so it does seem to me to indicate not just the kind of as you ok well you know but it doesn't need to really really but it can prove that it doesn't answer my question though why is there why is there the rise of these populist. nationalist movement and rejection of the neo liberal model imposed upon them from brussels jeff you are a perfect person to answer this one it's absolutely not imposed by brown. well i want to sound let me start with yours have to disagree on it russell says
it's about something completely different what the plan is you know how do you want you to know how to think we'll have to disagree on that ok we have to disagree and i'll get jeff jump in but peter to put the point to point i would like to make is this is the liberal western capitalism is not just been challenged by nationally some populists it's also been challenge from the left as well you know there's actually been a revolt point of socialism and socialist thinking and socialist movements yes so 'd we have what with. this i did with 989 the whole continent socialist project and then that was a history of sullivan and the future was all liberal and complex in the west and that's turned out not not not to be true in the future it's very much open at the moment and you know one of the put the possibilities of science very likely but more realistic and that is you know some cause some kind of you know you know every visiting of different forms of socialist of such just about of the sessions the approaches to the resolution of the economic problems so you know i don't think you
know 99 percent at the end of so she's ok ok ok well that's certainly what you made certainly it certainly wasn't the end of history we were as we were told last 30 seconds go to you john go ahead. you know i don't think the sense of national identity was put in the deep freeze on the communism in hungary and poland and elsewhere i think on the contrary it was i would say almost reinforced by communism in reaction against it that's where that's how the hunger in the polls to 5 and so when the. communist regime disappeared that's what was left it was such a deep freeze it was probably a fascinating point say almost hell i've run out of time we've ended on a fascinating note from john but we've run out of time many thanks to my guests in paris washington and in court and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t.c. you next time and remember crosstalk girls.
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oh max geyser this is the kaiser report i go to areas sense that things are not quite what they peer to be stacy in fact we're going to look out at california 1st and then we're going to go to a town right here in new york and that is kingston new york where our guest in the 2nd half is from it is going to it's a tale of 2 economic models over in california we know not only do we have forest fires going on all over the place huge fires thousands of people being evacuated from their homes but we see blackouts millions of people suffer and blackouts and p.g. and e. the multinational basically utility the giant utility company listed on the stock exchange they have declared bankruptcy to avoid all their obligations over you know over the last years disaster and it looks like we have
a disaster again this year and people in california are not happy with the blackouts stop harassing p.g. and e. workers gavin newsome says they didn't create this mass amid reports of pacific gas and electric company workers being threatened and run off the road governor gavin newsom urged californians to save their outrage for the utilities corporate owners and treat workers on the ground with respect over a 1000000 people and businesses have their blackouts essentially and people are getting angry and they see p.g. and e. you till you try x. and they throw stuff at them or they're trying to drive them off the road they say this is a actually work capitalism fails we have this debate about capitalism versus socialism it's very big in the cup coming election and in the areas of the economy like utilities you have a distinct preference for the role of guy.