Good Bye Lenin!

Good Bye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker, 2003

          Hopefully, there is still time to get back to the edge of the cliff, and that applies to all parties. After a lot of diplomatic contacts – in this regard, the efforts of the President of the Republic on behalf of France and Europe were completely justified and there is no room for political polemic – the moment for arms has arrived.

***

At first it is absolutely essential to be firm on principles and there is no alternative but the most vigorous condemnation and the adoption of harsh sanctions. This is what we are witnessing, in a coordinated manner, on the Western and European sides.

Beyond the consequences on both sides of a vast array of economic, financial and measures against targeted personalities, it will be clear that the whole problem is not limited to Ukraine and  has not been solved. A confrontation of blocs would be a return to an ante situation of the Cold War and probably worse than that since the stability of the face to face would not be guaranteed in the long term as in the « balmy days » of the American-Soviet condominium.

Is the time for diplomacy completely over? The French foreign minister and his Russian counterpart are expected to meet by the end of the week. In his speech announcing a sanctions plan, President Biden did not rule out the possibility of continuing the dialogue. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was “suspended” by the German Chancellor and not abandoned sine die. The Russian President, after the famous and disastrous meeting of the Security Council on February 21, made a new media appearance during which he drew the lines of a vast bargain.

Unlike the movie Good Bye Lenin! , Vladimir Putin did not wake up when the Soviet Union – not the GDR – had disappeared, but he kept dreaming that «the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century» was just a nightmare. Like the narrator of the film, he could have said, “das Land, dass meine Mutter verliesst, war ein Land in das Sie geglaubt hat… ein Land das mit meiner Mutter immer verbunden wird”.

We, on the contrary, open our eyes to the grandiose and at the same time frightening spectacle of the eruption of a very real Soviet-type threat that we thought had disappeared forever. Can dread and dream come together at some point?

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I was in East Berlin in the early 1980s, more than a decade before the wall was torn down, when the New Year’s fireworks were displayed. It was a rare time when both parts of the city seemed to reunite in the deafening noise of the Festival’s firecrackers and rockets. Today the clash of weapons is real and could ignite a part of Europe Can this language of destruction and death, which is also a form of communication, precede a renewed dialogue in the face of that collective danger? For it will be necessary to build a European security, instead of sterile and destructive paralysis, in the vast world that awaits us all.

Good Bye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker, 2003

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