On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and Bosch Public Policy Fellow of GMF’s Transatlantic Academy Ivan Krastev for the final installment of GMF’s 10 month Legacy of ’89 series. The discussion entitled Europe 25 Years after German Unification: Crisis, Unity, and Opportunity, focused on the security challenges facing Europe and the transatlantic relationship today, as well as the legacies from 1989. GMF President Karen Donfried opened by welcoming the speakers, as well as the event moderator and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
Ignatius began by considering how “in our world today, right now, the Berlin Wall, figuratively, as a symbol of division is being rebuilt in a spirit of confrontation between Russia and the West.” Krastev reminded participants that people now only remember the hope that 1989 brought, neglecting the real fears of those actually affected by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Relying on the virtues of economic interdependence as the bastion of their security in the years following the fall of the Wall, Europe believed hard power no longer mattered. However, Krastev noted that hard power is back, and this same interdependence that provided a sense of security now also serves as a source of insecurity in crises. Nuland reflected on the hopes held following German reunification that the “spirit of openness would continue east” to Russia, and went on to praise the transatlantic relationship, highlighting that, despite challenges, the community “has held together as a community of common values and has also held together in response to some of the more aggressive actions that Russia has taken.”