CBN News – Twenty-five years ago the Berlin Wall came down, marking the beginning of the collapse of communism and the Soviet empire.
“The fall of the Wall has shown that dreams can come true,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this past weekend during anniversary festivities in Berlin.
CBN News Sr. International Reporter Gary Lane was in Berlin during that historic weekend in 1989. It definitely was a dream realized because shortly thereafter, Germany was reunited.
But 25 years later, the world is seeing a resurgence of Russia.
It was a day many Berliners had long hoped for: Tears of joy flowed and there were cheers and applause. The Berlin Wall was coming down!
Instead of keeping people out, the communists built the wall in 1961 to keep East Germans in.
Twenty-six years after it’s construction, President Ronald Reagan issued a challenge at the Brandenburg Gate: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Two years later, on November 9, 1989, the East German government finally relented and gave its people permission to travel to West Berlin.
In Berlin that weekend as the Wall began to come down and East Berliners poured through, CBN’s camera crew and Lane were amazed by what they were witnessing.
“None of us thought in our lifetimes we would actually see the Berlin Wall come down,” Lane said. “But we couldn’t help but wonder, was this truly an end to Soviet communism, or was it just a fleeting moment of freedom for people behind the Iron Curtain?
Four months later, Lane produced a news segment with Christian leaders — Pat Robertson and Billy Graham — as they walked along the remains of the Berlin Wall.
“Now these people can come in freedom. It’s a heady day for Germany!” Robertson said.
“That’s right, it is…and I would say to everybody, let’s get behind Pat in Eastern Europe,” Graham remarked. “The Lord didn’t say just go to the capitalist countries. He said go to the whole world. So that settled it for us and that meant the communist world and every other part of the world that we can get to.”
Both leaders predicted the window of opportunity for spreading the gospel in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union would be fleeting.
Today, church attendance has skyrocketed but Christians in the former Soviet states, including Ukraine, face persecution.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is now attempting to regain the glory of the old Soviet Empire. He’s annexed the Crimea and Russian tanks and troops have reportedly invaded parts of eastern Ukraine.
Just days ago, Russia fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles from a submarine in the Kamchatka region of the Pacific Ocean. That provocation followed some recent Russian aircraft violations of U.S. air space.
NATO allies like Poland worry about Russia’s increased defense spending and its “intensifying policy of confrontation.” A top NATO general said Putin is effectively working to shift Russia’s border westward into Ukraine.
So, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new divide may be rising between East and West. The question now is, how will NATO and a Republican Congress respond this coming year?
And, as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev recently said, are America and Russia headed for a new cold war, or something worse?
Report via CBN News