Marco Rubio op-ed: More than sledgehammers took down Berlin Wall

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To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio warns it was more than just sledgehammers to take down the symbol of oppression.

“The Berlin Wall also reminds us that physical barriers are only part of the story,” Rubio writes in the Daily Caller op-ed published Sunday. “Freedom is also blocked by ideas, worldviews, and tyrants.”

What brought down the wall, in part, was what President Ronald Reagan called the “will and moral courage of free men and women.”

Democratic ideals, combined with the strength of American arms, helped win the Cold War and halt the spread of Soviet-style communism. And nowhere was that attitude clearer than in Reagan’s Cold War strategy: “We win, they lose.”

Sadly, Rubio says, the current administration has taken a different approach against an “increasingly hostile Russia,” where the U.S. peeks from behind an “ever-thinning curtain of American strength.”

President Barack Obama, he writes, watches idly as the global order is challenged and resorts to “baby-steps and half-measures” (when he acts at all) to defend allies, our principles, our people.

Sanctions imposed on the Putin regime following the Crimea annexation, are weakened every turn and fail to strike at the main arteries of Russian aggression.

Subsequently, support pledged to Ukraine has been too little, too late.

“One cannot win a war with blankets,” Ukrainian President Poroshenko told Congress this past September.

With ISIS on the move, China threatening Asia, Rubio understands that Russia is not the only threat to U.S. supremacy. Failing to heed lessons learned in the Cold War – and the fall of the Berlin Wall — doom us to lose valuable ground gained through decades of global progress. Those lessons include a moral clarity of purpose and a strong military to meet any threats to the global economy.

What is required is bold leadership and collaborating with our European partners to support Ukraine and other states facing Russian intervention.

America must take the steps to ensure a free Russian people, just as East Germans did a quarter-century ago.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.