Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

As we all know, Secretary Clinton Meets and Greets Embassy personnel in every country she visits, and she did so today in Berlin. Here are her remarks.


DV601428Secretary Clinton Meets with Embassy Personnel and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Berlin, Germany
November 9, 2009


I am absolutely delighted to see all of you. I want to thank you for the work that you do every single day, and I am thrilled that this Embassy is right in the middle of Berlin and that it has a presence for America representing that vital relationship that the ambassador mentioned. And to see it and to be able to walk into it is absolutely thrilling personally and in every other way.

I am really pleased to have seen Ambassador Murphy. He hit the ground running here in Germany – and I don’t mean just on the field as part of soccer diplomacy. (Laughter.) And both the President and I are grateful for your service and really look forward to a lot of close consultation over the next several years.

And this evening, I am very excited to be joining Chancellor Merkel, as well as many others, to commemorate that day 20 years ago when the Berlin Wall gave way to a new era of peace in a united Germany, in a united Europe.

I spend my time going around the world talking with people who are very much at loggerheads over conflicts that happened 100 or 200 or 500 or 1,000 years before. And then you come here, and you think about how horrific the conflicts of the 20th century were, right here in Europe. And tonight, we will have the chancellor of Germany and the president of France and the prime minister of Great Britain, because they are leading a Europe that understands how imperative it is to move beyond the history that we have all lived.

It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we’re not going to change the past. It is the past, by definition. That doesn’t mean we forget about it or marginalize or trivialize it. But it does call all of us, leaders and citizens alike, to think about the kind of future we can create. And that will be on display this evening.

We’re celebrating the triumph of democracy and freedom, and the important role of the German-U.S. relationship. And it’s very strong today. I had breakfast with Chancellor Merkel. We did a kind of round-the-world tour. And we are grateful that German and American troops have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in international peacekeeping and security efforts in the Balkans, throughout Africa, and now also in Afghanistan, where Germany has contributed more than 4,000 troops.

We are appreciative of the solidarity that our German counterparts have shown in the P-5+1 negotiations with Iran. And we have worked closely together on a range of transnational threats: from the global economic crisis to climate change. So we appreciate greatly our relationship with Germany, and we want to continue to grow and develop it so that it will be the strong platform for the kinds of changes that people are looking for in our world in the future.

I don’t think that our relationship would be as strong as it is without all of you and the work of this Embassy. Day in and day out, you lead one of the most complex missions we have at the State Department. The five consulate general units – Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, and Frankfurt – along with the liaison office in Bonn, reflect the breadth of our engagement with not just the German state – the German states and the people of Germany. And your coordination of the 11 federal agencies represented here ensures that all of our government is working toward common objectives.

I am very appreciative of those of you who have embraced the commitment that we’ve made to robust diplomacy and public outreach, engaging not only with representatives of the German Government, but civil society, business leaders, teachers, students, ordinary Germans. That outreach effort conducting town halls and interviews, public discussions, and yes, soccer diplomacy, has helped introduce the United States to a newer, younger, and more diverse generation of Germans.

Certainly, President Obama’s leadership and the message that he exemplifies is very well received here in Germany. And we have to build on that, and translate it into institutional change, and create the environment in which we can do even more to help formulate and implement policy, and organize in the cultural and educational exchanges.

Yesterday at the dinner that the Atlantic Council sponsored, two of the leading German speakers – one from the past, one the foreign minister, very much from the present and the future – talked about what it meant to them to have participated in the International Visitors Program in the United States. I would like to see us redouble our efforts, particularly reaching out to young Germans, and particularly those from the east, to build a strong foundation of understanding and respect.

I want to pay special tribute to the nearly 500 locally employed staff, comprised not only of German citizens and resident American citizens, but also third-country nationals, who serve as the backbone of this mission. And I understand that 56 locally employed staff have worked here for more than 25 years. And two, Ishaq Mohammed – Ishaq, and Michael Hahn, have served this mission the longest, for 40 and 39 years, respectively. (Applause.)

That’s a long time of service. And of all the embassies I visit, I’m not sure which can claim the longest serving employee, but Embassy Berlin must be right up there. Because the fact is that the level of dedication and skill that I have seen around the world, and what I know is present here in Germany, is absolutely critical for our mission.

This trip is too short. Lots was jammed into it. And it is at a moment when all the eyes of the world are focused on Berlin, as well it should. But I look forward to working with you as we broaden and deepen our engagement with Germany. With Chancellor Merkel reelected, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

And I know that even though it was a short trip, it was a demanding one because of all the moving parts that you’ve assisted with. And there is a tradition, Ambassador Murphy, that when I take off for Singapore tonight, and you see that plane finally clear – (laughter) – it’s time for a wheels-up party – (laughter and applause) – because I then become somebody else’s responsibility. (Laughter.) And everybody can go back to doing the work you’re supposed to be doing every single day, right? Instead of all of the interruptions and the hurry-ups, and this and that.

But this is a beautiful Embassy. And I will end where I started, by saying it’s truly thrilling for me to see one of our new embassies right in the middle of a city. As you know, so many of our embassies are now in the outskirts. They are not accessible for security reasons, which we know are very serious. But this Embassy, with its historic location, with its beauty, is a real symbol of the seriousness of our commitment to our relationship with Germany.

And when I am privileged to speak tonight at the commemoration, I will be thinking about all those who served the United States, going back many, many years, who did their parts – diplomats and soldiers, Foreign Service officers and civil servants, locally employed staff, citizens of every kind and plight from our country, who contributed in their own and your own way to the remarkable accomplishment of what we see today.

So I thank you. There was never any doubt in my mind that someday Germany would be free and reunified, but I had no idea when. And it is such a great personal privilege to be joining with the German people, and people throughout Europe and the world, to celebrate this occasion.

Now we have to turn our attention to the challenges of the 21st century. A wall, a physical wall, may have come down, but there are other walls that exist and we have to overcome. And we will be working together to accomplish that as well. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Here’s the Big Party! Many of us remember this night 20 years ago for its stunning drama. Tonight, in Berlin, in front of the beautiful Brandenburg Gate, they celebrated once more with drama. This time a symbolic wall fell like dominoes, just the way the Eastern Bloc fell away from their harsh governments 20 years ago.

Secretary Clinton was there with dignitaries and heads of state several of whom played a part in the Fall of the Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Revolution. Angela Merkel, now Chancellor of Germany, crossed that night. Nicholas Sarkozy was one of many who took a pickaxe to the wall. Lech Walensa helped inspire the East Germans with his Solidarnosc movement in Poland. And, of course, there was Mikhail Gorbachev – the man who ordered the borders opened and changed history.

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As you know, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Berlin today for the 20th Anniversary of The Fall of the Wall. Here we see her meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. They even wore matching outfits! Great minds think alike. These pictures are priceless.

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Remarks With German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Berlin, Germany
November 9, 2009

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I extend a very warm, warm welcome to all of you here, and a very warm welcome goes out to the Secretary of State of the United States of America. Dear Hillary Clinton, once again, I’d like to use this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to you. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and the members of her delegation to Berlin.

Today, on a day that is of historic importance, we thank you for your visit (inaudible) very much of the importance of the contribution of the United States of America and the American people to the freedom of the country I represent. Since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America has, in a hands-on manner, stood up for our freedom and for our security. This is why the Germans are deeply grateful to the United States of America and its people. Allow me, dear Hillary, to use this opportunity to once again express the gratitude of the Federal Republic of Germany and of its people here in Germany, and speaking on behalf of my people, thank you, and you represent your country, the United States of America.

It’s our third (inaudible). Last week, I paid my first introductory visit to the United States of America, to the American Government when I came to Washington. Yesterday, we both enjoyed a dinner at the Atlantic Council and we enjoyed the honor of receiving the Freedom Award from the Atlantic Council. That was a deeply moving moment, a very touching moment.

Today, we focused on a number of political issues and discussed them in detail. We exchanged views on climate policy issues. Both the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany want to ensure that Copenhagen becomes a success. We would want to see an improvement in the field of climate protection. What we want to achieve is concrete results at Copenhagen so as to better protect our climate, and we’re (inaudible) to believe that if we do so, we stand a chance to achieve good results. Europe and the United States of America have to closely coordinate their policies and have to act together using their strengths and their force to (inaudible) outcome.

We talked in detail about security issues, development of (inaudible), and of course, we also touched on Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we’re really focused (inaudible) the exchanges we had last week. Here again, there is agreement on (inaudible) necessary to make the Afghan Government, to make President Karzai realize that good governance has to become (inaudible). We want to see improvement here. We want the Afghan Government to be a government for the people as a (inaudible) who are (inaudible) to make our contribution towards reaching this objective.

We want to ensure that a good and peaceful development can occur within Afghanistan; and in return, we expect of the Afghan Government that it makes its own contribution towards this objective and that it becomes a government of the people as a whole and that it adheres to the (inaudible) that underlie good governance. Last week already, we talked in detail about this issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear Hillary, once again (inaudible) welcome to you. I had indeed very interesting exchanges with you. They were more than interesting, though. Some were characterized by the inclusive atmosphere, and I want to thank you for that. Personally, I’d like to thank you for that. It’s not (inaudible) something which (inaudible) ultimately (inaudible). Having come to (inaudible) a brief time ago, we can only expect to receive such a friendly welcome and to develop such close contact. I’m looking forward to close cooperation with you, and I’m confident that American-German friendship will continue to deepen and to be developed further. When we talk about Germany and the United States of America, we’re talking about more than a friendship and partnership. It’s a deep and heartfelt friendship between those peoples and countries.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. I can only echo exactly what the foreign minister had said. We have had three very productive and personally rewarding meetings over the last week. I particularly appreciate the words that I heard from Guido last night about his own personal experience as a young boy of 13, when his father took him to see the wall, and how emotionally that affected him and I’m sure influenced his values in politics and his personal commitment. It was a remarkable story and one that I will long remember.

We had constructive and productive discussions starting in Washington last week, continuing here in Berlin. The United States is eager to work with the new German Government on a full range of shared challenges. We face complex threats that cannot be stopped by borders or oceans. Global recession, violent extremism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, hunger, and disease are only some that are the transnational threats of our time. And only by working together in close partnership can we meet these challenges. So I want to recognize Germany’s leadership and applaud Germany’s work for peace and prosperity in Europe, in NATO, and around the world.

Germany and the United States are working together to rebuild the global economy, to forge a strong international agreement to combat climate change and chart a clean energy future. Chancellor Merkel made a very important speech to the Congress last week, and called the test of climate change one of the greatest that humanity has faced.

In Afghanistan, German soldiers are working to bring stability to a troubled land and hope to people who have known too much violence for too long. We honor their service and their sacrifice. And we recognize the commitment that it takes, not just from the men and women in uniform, but from their families and indeed the entire German nation.

We also appreciate Germany’s generous support for the Pakistani people who are working to turn back violent extremism and try to ensure a more democratic, prosperous future for themselves and their children.

And we are grateful for Germany’s leadership and partnership in our efforts to ensure that Iran lives up to its international obligation, that it complies fully with UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA directives on its nuclear program. In her moving address before Congress, Chancellor Merkel urged us to come together as partners to tear down the walls of today. As one of the millions of Germans who grew up in East Germany, she knows what it is like to yearn for freedom long denied. And she knows that there are no walls that cannot be torn down when people stand up and work together.

So here in Berlin on this important anniversary, I am more confident than ever that we are up to the challenges we face. I had an opportunity to discuss these challenges at breakfast with the chancellor, at lunch with the foreign minister – I am certainly well informed and well fed – and to underscore that we are united by core values of democracy, tolerance, respect for human dignity. These are the principles on which Germany and the United States stand today. In fact, they’re enshrined in Germany’s basic law.

But equally importantly, they are in the hearts of the brave men and women who took control of their destinies 20 years ago and gave the world a new birth and burst of freedom, and they exist in the hearts of men and women around the world today. We are very grateful that this partnership is one of our strongest and most important. I am personally looking forward to working with the foreign minister and this new government, because even though we meet today to honor the past, our eyes are squarely on the future, our minds are focused on the challenges we face, and our hearts are beating faster at the possibility that we will be able to meet the challenges of today, as those who came before us met theirs.

So thank you so much for your commitment to freedom and democracy and the values that we think belong to all people, and which are exemplified by our two nations today.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I’m (inaudible) from the (inaudible). I have a question for both of you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: See, the foreign minister and I talked in English, so I have to stick these in my ears.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: You can tell this – them, but they won’t believe it. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am a witness. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madame Secretary, you stressed in your speech that we must continue fighting for freedom (inaudible). Could you be somewhat more concrete as far as the role of NATO is concerned and your expectations regarding Germany?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, could you mention for us what you perhaps have offered on behalf of the federal government and Afghanistan above and beyond what has already been provided? And another question regarding Ms. Steinbach. Do you reject her chairmanship of the foundation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we have consulted continually with our German partners and our allies in NATO. There was an important defense ministers meeting in Bratislava about 10 days, two weeks ago. As you know, Chancellor Merkel met with President Obama on her trip last week. The foreign minister and I have been discussing the way forward. And I think as the foreign minister rightly said, any commitment by the governments and the people of the United States, Germany, and others who have joined with us through both NATO and the international forces has to be met by an even greater commitment on behalf of the new government of President Karzai to deliver services for the people of Afghanistan, to begin the effort to root out corruption, to have more accountability and transparency in the way that the government operates.

We are very clear that we will be expecting more from the Government of Afghanistan. And it is certainly a mutual commitment that the foreign minister and I feel on behalf of our two countries. The United States would not be in Afghanistan, the President would not be engaging in such a thoughtful, deliberative process if we did not believe that conditions in Afghanistan directly impact and threaten the security of the American people and our friends and allies like Germany.

We are not in Afghanistan because it’s a good thing to do or because it’s a nice way to show our concern for people around the world, and particularly to try to help with the development of the people of Afghanistan. Those are important and worthy objectives. We are there because we view the syndicate of terrorism directed and led, funded, and inspired by al-Qaida to be a direct security threat to our values, our way of life, and to our interests and our friends and allies.

So any decision that President Obama makes is premised on that fundamental security assessment. And I believe that the German Government and this new government in particular is conducting its own analysis, and we will be continuing to consult. The President will be reaching out to the chancellor and we will be talking as well. But we are going to present to the Government of Afghanistan and President Karzai a clear set of expectations and of accountability measures, so there can be no doubt as to what we expect from this relationship.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) And I’d like to provide a brief answer to your question. Currently, we are conducting strategic discussions, strategic debate, and from our perspective, it’s also important that we also follow procedure in this discussion/debate. First of all, it sets targets, objectives, and then discuss the strategy. And then after that, additional questions will be answered, particularly regarding implementation.

And I am pleased to be able to state that our contributions and achievements regarding the training of the police forces and the schools is something that’s kindly appreciated by our American partners and others. And Germany can indeed provide an important contribution in this area. And we do want to make sure that Afghanistan is self-sufficient regarding security. And if we want this, then we have to make sure that Afghanistan has its own security infrastructure, that that system is there, and we want to help build it. This is an important contribution that we can (inaudible) discuss this as well. And this is also fully in line with my personal statements and the policies of the new government.

Now as far as the foundation is concerned, I would like to provide another – only a very brief answer regarding – because the Secretary is here. This foundation is called reconciliation for displaced individuals. It has to do with reconciliation, and for this reason, the federal government’s decision will be fully in line with this goal of reconciliation.

QUESTION: Sorry about that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) This is Matt Lee from the Associated Press. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, first of all, congratulations on your —


QUESTION: Very nice to meet you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think he was caught somewhat unawares so –

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: We interrupted you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: My apologies. First of all, congratulations on your day, Mr. Minister. I want to break with – I was going to try to break with tradition and ask only one question, but ask you –ask it of both of you. But something has just happened which – in Iran, which is that the reports that the three American hikers have been – who were detained have been charged now with espionage, and I’m wondering if I could get your comment on that, Madame Secretary.

And then, for both of you, what was going to be my only question is on Iran as well, and that is that for weeks the Iranians have been stalling, have not been answering – have not been giving an answer to your – to the offer that was proposed in early October. And I want to know when can they reasonably conclude that your warnings of sanctions, if they don’t agree, is just an idle threat? Because there are obviously some who believe that it is just an idle threat. When does that time come? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Matt. With respect to the three American hikers who were detained by the Iranians when they were hiking in northern Iraq, we believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever. And we would renew our request on behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian Government exercise compassion and release them so they can return home, and we will continue to make that case through our Swiss protecting power who represents the United States in Tehran.

Secondly, the question of Iran’s response to the proposal by the P-5+1 regarding the exporting out of their low-enriched uranium for reprocessing and then return to the Tehran research reactor has not yet been formally replied to by the Iranians. We believe that this offer represents an important opportunity for Iran both to meet the medical and humanitarian needs that the Tehran research reactor fulfills and to begin to restore international confidence in their nuclear program. We are at very close consultation with our P-5+1 colleagues on next steps; we very much appreciate the active involvement of our German partners. And because we don’t yet have a formal reply from the Iranians, it would be premature to go to any next steps if Iran decides ultimately to reject this offer.

So what we intend to do is press, both through P-5+1 and through the IAEA, to convince Iran to accept this opportunity. But as you know, during the United Nations General Assembly, there was an important meeting in New York where each of the countries in the P-5+1, which include China and Russia, obviously the United States and Germany, France and the UK and the European Union was represented. We all signed a statement that set forth the understanding that what we were pursuing was a dual-track strategy – one track aimed at engagement and diplomacy and efforts like the one represented with the offer on the Tehran research reactor, but the second track very clearly intended to show the Iranians that there were consequences if they failed to fulfill their obligations and if they continued to ignore the opportunity to work with the international community.

So although it is premature to speculate at this point, I think the Iranians are well aware that this is a two-track process, and we continue to urge them to work with us on the first track of diplomacy and engagement.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) First of all, with the – even if the question was not addressed to me, I would like to stress the solidarity of Germany with the three young individuals and their families. This is, of course, a very difficult situation, and those individuals who are impacted by this should know that we are looking to them and that we are at their sides.

And I would also like to make a brief statement regarding your question on Iran. We want dialogue and we want a diplomatic solution. We also we know that dialogue and partnership and talks are what are most important with Iran. But Iran must also know that our patience in the international community is not unlimited. The federal chancellor made a very clear statement in her speech in Washington and we (inaudible) nothing from this.


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Henry Kissinger made the presentation, and he clearly enjoys her company. Funny how when Hillary is around everybody smiles. She really is bombarding Berlin with beauty. She looks absolutely gorgeous! (Mandatory shallow comment for the day.)

Keynote Address at the Atlantic Council Gala Dinner

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Adlon Hotel
Berlin, Germany
November 8, 2009

(Applause.)SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I like Henry, too.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And I am especially honored to have been introduced by him today, and to be with all of you for this extraordinary occasion.

There are so many in this room, and then so many others who have been mentioned, who deserve all of the appreciation and admiration we can bestow upon them. But I have the great and high honor today to accept this freedom award on behalf of the American people, some of whose names are already in the history books, but many of whom will never be known to history.

But because of their steadfastness, because of their conviction about freedom and the hope that it would be, once again, alive and well throughout all of Europe, and particularly in Germany, they supported the policies of successive presidents of both parties, they voted for people who believed strongly in the importance of the Transatlantic Alliance, they paid taxes year after year after year to support our defense of Europe, the NATO Alliance, and to give a tangible and very clear message, that the people of the United States wanted to see a strong and vibrant Germany and Europe.

And there is no better place for this award or this moment than right here in Berlin, a city where some of the greatest victories in the 20th century occurred, and a city that, today, embodies the strength of our democracies and what we have achieved together. So, I gratefully accept this on behalf of all of those Americans.

And I thank the Atlantic Council and Fred, thank you for your coverage of this part of the world over many years, and your leadership of this council, and Alan Spence, as well, for co-hosting this evening, the presidents of both Estonia and Latvia, who sit here today representing two nations that were considered captives.
And, on a personal note, when I was in high school, I was part of an organization that, in our own way, as high school students, tried to speak out for freedom of those who were in the Baltics and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. We would often host events at the school, or at our public library of those who had escaped, to hear their stories, to remind ourselves, to remind all Americans what was at stake, and to put a personal face on what seemed to be a faceless and terrible oppression.

So, thank you. And thank you for taking this time on the eve of the occasion tomorrow to look back, to remember, to convey the emotion and commitment that so many of you who have already spoken have demonstrated clearly, in order to pass it on to that next generation and the one after that.

I am delighted to be joined by members of the United States Presidential Delegation who have come to represent the United States on this historic occasion. We have already heard from most of them: our ambassador, Phil Murphy; our former national security advisors, Dr. Brzezinski and Lt. Gen. Scowcroft; and Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund.

And, of course, as Henry Kissinger said, we are in a federation. And we do understand the challenges and difficulties that each of us has faced, and not only are facing today, but whoever holds these positions of National Security Advisor or Secretary of State will face, new challenges. But that is part of the responsibility that we, together, have assumed.

And I want to personally express my appreciation to the Vice Chancellor and the Foreign Minister. We had our first meeting just a few days ago in Washington, where I was very pleased to host Guido. And tomorrow he will host me for a working lunch. The emotion that his remarks conveyed, the story of going to Berlin with his father, will stay with me. And I look forward to working with you on so many of the important challenges we face today.

This award comes in a year of anniversaries — the one we celebrate tomorrow, the night 20 years ago when history broke through concrete and barbed wire and brought liberty to millions across this continent, but that’s not the only milestone that should be remembered.

Sixty-five summers ago, allied troops landed in Europe with the goal of liberating Berlin. And in 1949, 60 years ago, we formed the NATO Alliance, and completed the largest humanitarian airlift in history, well over a quarter million flights, to sustain West Berlin during the Soviet blockade. And, Admiral, thank you for accepting the award on behalf of not only those who serve today, but most importantly, those who have served in years past, in a continuous chain of commitment.

The Americans and their allies who fought to liberate this city in the Second World War, the farmers and airmen who helped to feed Berlin’s people and fuel its homes, and the soldiers who stood guard for generations to preserve the peace, all did so with the hope that someday Berlin might stand at the center of a free, peaceful, prosperous, reunified Germany in a free, peaceful, prosperous, unified Europe.

But there wasn’t anything inevitable about it. And there is nothing that we can take for granted about that history. The circumstances that surround us today are a culmination of an effort by Europeans and Americans that spanned generations. And, yes, the end to the Berlin Wall was an iconic moment. It was an hour when the hopes and prayers and sacrifice of millions came together in an unwavering exclamation of freedom. But it did not begin with the mistake of a flustered Communist spokesman in East Berlin, or even the peaceful masses that took to the street that evening. It had been building over years.

Edward Gibbon, the great historian of the fall of Rome once observed that a “mighty state reared by the labors of successive ages could not be overturned by the misfortune of a single day.” But I would add the accumulation of days, of days where people no longer could tolerate the oppression and the denial that they had to live with, who could no longer stomach what they saw in those who pretended to lead them, built and built. So, with the destruction of the Berlin Wall, we witnessed the climax of a broader saga that had been playing out in Budapest and Bucharest and Bratislava and a thousand other communities across Europe.

In Poland, that son of a carpenter, who has already been honored, was elected prime minister of a free nation. For the Polish people, it was the end of a campaign for liberty that was marked by scores of protests and years of privation. And for an electrician from Gda?sk, it was the end of a journey that began when he climbed over a wall of the Lenin Shipyards to lead a strike that became Solidarity.

In the Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, a human chain comprised of one-fourth the population joined hands across their lands, and helped break the chains that held their nations captive. Tens of thousands gathered at Heroes’ Square in Budapest to witness the reburial of Imre Nagy, a hero of the 1956 revolution.

And later that summer, Hungary’s Communist leaders opened the border to refugees seeking freedom and, in the morning darkness of September 11th, allowed a vast army of East German automobiles to surge across the Hungarian frontier into Austria. The small cars filled with vacationers didn’t have much in common with the armored battalions of the Warsaw Pact that had menaced generations of Western military planners. But their impact on history was as dramatic as any invasion. There was little use in a wall that you could walk around.

So, when capitals across the region, refugees from the East, found sanctuary in the embassies of West Germany, and when a dying government tried to end the exodus of its people by allowing a handful of them free passage to the West in a sealed train, the sight spawned an outcry for change. East Germans took to the streets of Leipzig in peaceful protests that affirmed, “Wir sind das Volk,”or, “We are the People,” which became, “We are One People,” after the events of November 9th.

Then, only eight days after the destruction of the Wall, we watched students in Prague march and begin what became the Velvet Revolution that would bring Havel, a playwright, to the presidency. For a nation that had grasped for liberty in the spring of 1968, the transition to democracy couldn’t come quickly enough.

There were many authors of the changes we witnessed in 1989. Some acted knowingly, like the Polish pope who resurrected a gospel of liberty. Others, like President Gorbachev, sought a break from a darker past. But in doing so, helped to break down the wall.

But again, I say these events were not inevitable. In January of 1989, East Germany’s Communist leaders predicted that the Wall would still be standing in 50 or even 100 years. History could have gone another way. And, in some parts of the world, it did, and it has.

So, where do we stand now? As we commemorate that moment when history pierced concrete and concertina wire, we remember the troops who faced down war and kept the peace, the dissidents and activists who risked all they had to demand a free and better life, the millions of mothers and fathers, workers and students who never lost faith that a system built on tyranny and oppression could and would be overcome.

So, we remember every citizen of every nation who helped preserve the world with the gift that we accept today. But that gift came with strings, as gifts often do. It came with the responsibility to advance the principles that were vindicated in this city 20 years ago. When the Wall came down, we could not know what the people of Europe would build in its place. And the Atlantic community confronted a cavalcade of crises and a crisis of confidence.

I well remember, following from afar, the debates over reunification: the cost, how it could be possibly accomplished. How would one ever integrate the industries, the militaries, the mindsets of peoples who had been divided by that wall? And the Euro-Atlantic coalition struggled to find policies worthy of the sacrifices made by the people of Central and Eastern Europe, and to help them build democracies on the rubble of a ruined system.

Now, ultimately and together, we achieved successes that would have been unthinkable on this night 20 years ago. And, as we welcomed the historic nations of Central Europe into NATO, and saw them become members of the European Union, the landscape of this continent was transformed.

But our history did not end the night the Wall came down. It began anew. And this matters not only to tens of millions of Europeans, and to the United States, but to people everywhere. How do we take this gift of freedom, this alliance of values, this commitment for a better future, and put it to work to meet the challenges of freedom today?

The new nations of a united Europe are our partners, standing with us in Afghanistan, patrolling waters against pirates, working to combat poverty, helping to prevent terrorism, promoting our common values. Today our battles may be different, and our nations remain imperfect vessels of democracy. But our objectives have not changed. And our work has certainly not ended.

So, we should look to the examples of the generations who brought us successfully through the 20th century, and once again, together, chart a clear and common course to safeguard our people and our planet, defeat violent extremists, and prevent nuclear proliferation, come together to cut carbon emissions and address climate change, increase our energy security — an issue of special importance in this region that carries ramifications for the future of Europe and the world.

To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people. We cannot allow oppression, defined and justified by religion or tribe to replace that of ideology. We have a responsibility to address conditions everywhere that undermine the potential of boys and girls and men and women that sap human dignity and threaten global progress.

European countries have been leaders in addressing the economic and social development challenges of the world. We need to continue our work on an economic recovery, and we need to continue to promote democracy and human rights beyond freedom’s current frontiers, so that citizens everywhere are afforded the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live up to their own God-given potential.

When Chancellor Merkel came to Washington last week, she spoke eloquently about the walls of the last century, and the less visible but equally daunting walls we face today. These are walls between the present and the future, walls between modernity and nihilistic attitudes, walls that divide our common heart, that deny progress and opportunity to the many who yearn for both.

As one who came of age amid the barriers of oppression, Chancellor knows of what she speaks. But tomorrow, when she walks through the Brandenburg Gate, she will do so as a free daughter of Brandenburg, and the leader of an emancipated people. That moment should be a call to action, not just a commemoration of past actions. That call should spur us to continue our cooperation and to look for new ways that we can meet the challenges that freedom faces now.

We owe it to ourselves and to those who yearn for the same freedoms that are enjoyed and even taken for granted in Berlin today. And we need to form an even stronger partnership to bring down the walls of the 21st century, and to confront those who hide behind them: the suicide bombers; those who murder and maim girls whose only wish is to go to school; leaders who choose their own fortunes over the fortunes of their people.

In place of these new walls, we must renew the Transatlantic Alliance as a cornerstone of a global architecture of cooperation. When we come together to uphold the common good, there is no constellation of countries on earth that has greater strength. There is no wall we cannot topple. There is no truth we can be afraid of.

Now, as in the past, we know that the work ahead will not be quick, and it will certainly not be easy. But once again, we are called to take ownership of our future, and to affirm the principles and the sacrifice of the generations who helped us reach the milestone we commemorate. The ideals that drove Berliners to tear down that wall are no less relevant today. The freedoms championed that night are no less precious. And the rights and principles that brought us to this hour are no less deserving of our defense.

Now, some of us may not be here to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Although, if I were placing bets, I would bet on Henry.


SECRETARY CLINTON: But we must be confident that the men and women who gather on that occasion will look back on us as we look back now on them, on the generations that brought us through the Cold War, and eventually saw the blossoming of all that sacrifice during 1989.

So, let us resolve that when our actions are examined against that backdrop of history, our children and their children will be able to say that we served them well. Thank you very much.


SPEAKER: As they are standing here and having their pictures taken, let me just say, Madame Secretary, thank you for that powerful and significant speech on this historic occasion. You talked about bringing down the walls of the 21st century and confronting those who stand behind them. You have carried the lessons of the past into the responsibilities of the future.

You now have standing beside you tonight’s awardees, but you also have what Dr. Kissinger, the longest-serving member of the Atlantic Council Board, called “The Club,” the club of national security advisors and foreign ministers who are looking out for the best of their countries and the best of the alliance, and the best of the world. We salute you all, and I declare the inaugural Atlantic Council of Freedom Awards concluded.


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Our girl with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (R) and his partner Michael Mronz (L) during a Freedom’s Challenge Awards of the Atlantic Council in Berlin today.

She is so cute when she flirts with gay men. I don’t mean to offend anyone. She just is.  The anniversary of The Fall of the Wall is tomorrow.

She also held a Trilateral with the Presidents of Estonia and Latvia.

Camera Spray at Top of Trilateral Meeting with Estonia and Latvia

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hotel Adlon
Berlin, Germany
November 8, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet with the presidents of two countries with which the United States has long historical, familial, political ties. And I look forward to hearing from each of them about what is happening in Estonia and Latvia, and how the United States can broaden and deepen our relationship.

PRESIDENT ILVES: Well, we are just happy to be here. This is a wonderful occasion, 20 years (inaudible). I am glad to see (inaudible). When I was ambassador (inaudible) in charge of your visit to Estonia.


PRESIDENT ILVES: (Inaudible) years ago, yes.


PRESIDENT ILVES: Yes, so it is old friends getting together again.

PRESIDENT ZATLERS: I agree that it is a very important occasion. We are meeting here in Berlin, and (inaudible) turning point in our history and also a turning part for democracy in the eastern part of Europe. It is very important that we are all together today here in Berlin, saying that nothing is going to change (inaudible) future for a better Europe, for a better America.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Indeed. Thank you. Thank you all.


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This is up at Dipnote:

Secretary Clinton arrived at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany today to take part in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the course of this trip, Secretary Clinton will continue on to Singapore November 10-12 for meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. While there, she will attend the APEC Ministerial Meetings and will hold bilateral meetings with her counterparts from the region. After the first of two stops to Singapore, the Secretary travels to Manila November 12-13 to hold consultations with senior Filipino officials, highlighting the U.S.-Philippines treaty alliance. The Secretary then returns to Singapore, joining U.S. President Barack Obama for the APEC Leaders Meeting.

She looks happy and cheerful. I hope she has fun. This event should be very jubilant!

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This just in: Clinton to attend Berlin Wall anniversary: German official

BERLIN (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a ceremony in Germany marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a German government official said on Friday.

She will join a host of world leaders for celebrations in Berlin on November 9, dubbed the “freedom party”, which will take place at the capital’s Brandenburg Gate.

Festivities will open with orchestral music, followed by thousands of gigantic dominoes being knocked down in the centre of the capital to symbolise the fall of the wall.

US President Barack Obama has already said he will not attend the celebrations as he will be in Asia.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are among those expected in Berlin for the ceremony.

Well, this is a bit of a change of pace for our girl as her recent tours have been rather heavy on the side of serious negotiations and messages. I am glad to see that she will be there as our representative among world leaders who respect her.  This will be a very happy occasion.

Ten or twelve years ago, while surfing the web, I ran across this very touching personal account of The Fall of the Berlin Wall by Andreas Ramos.  It is the only written personal acount of that event,  and I have kept the link all these years because for anyone who grew up in the Cold War that spawned that wall, this story of how it came down is amazing and powerful.  I hope you find it as uplifting as I do.

Oh, and note to Andreas, I hope you are able to go to this anniversary as well.  You deserve to be there for this!

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