Weekend Roundup: 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Is the World Dividing into Blocs Again?

The world is at a tipping point. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing rise of China and other emerging economies, fragile institutions -- the Asia Pacific Economic Community summit taking place in Beijing and the G-20 in a few days in Brisbane -- are trying to hold the links of peace and prosperity together.
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The world is at a tipping point. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing rise of China and other emerging economies, fragile institutions -- the Asia Pacific Economic Community summit taking place in Beijing and the G-20 in a few days in Brisbane -- are trying to hold the links of peace and prosperity together. Will these efforts to build a new order based on a convergence of interests win out over dis-integration as Russia, China and the West embark on divergent paths that risk solidifying into opposing blocs?

In the WorldPost this week, Helmut Kohl, Germany's chancellor when the Berlin Wall fell, recalls his emotions during that historic time. Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, who was instrumental in German reunification, writes about his country's "happiest year" in recent history. Writing from Vladivostok, Artyom Lukin remembers his Cold War childhood and laments the new wall rising between Russia and the West. Writing from Beijing, Chinese strategist Chen Xiangyang argues that a new balance of power is emerging in Asia based on three pillars: the U.S. and Japan; China and Russia and ASEAN and India.

We also examine why the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, feels betrayed by the West and recall the fall of the Berlin Wall and German unification through the words of key leaders at the time -- George H. W. Bush , Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand as well as Gorbachev.

German sociologist Manfred Wilke wonders what lessons his now unified country's post-Cold War generation will learn from past divisions. In a conversation marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Henry Kissinger says "Putin is not Stalin" but more in league with Peter the Great. (Watch the full video of his discussion here). Writing from Moscow, Alexander Golts argues that Putin wants to regain the "respect" the Soviet Union had when Nikita Khrushchev was in charge back in the 1960s. In an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski calls on President Barack Obama to launch a "new opening" to China as a way to balance Putin's Russia.

Turning to the Middle East, Egyptian Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail reports on his meeting in Cairo with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, compares him to Anwar Sadat and argues that it would be a big mistake for the U.S. to cut aid to Egypt. Writing from Tunis, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who persuaded then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to bomb Libya to protect rebels back in 2011, discusses the situation in that country still torn by violence today. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports on the tribulations ahead for Syrian refugees as winter sets in.

Writing from New York, veteran political analyst Howard Fineman warns the world not to expect much from America now that it has been even further divided by the Republican sweep of the U.S. Congress in midterm elections. Though facing this political turbulence, Nouriel Roubini notes that for now the global economy is flying on one engine of growth -- the U.S. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan heads to China's "Silicon Valley" to gauge whether the Middle Kingdom is also becoming a tech giant. Writing from Beijing, CCTV host Tian Wei says China "can and must" close its gender gap.

Alexis Crow writes from London that falling oil prices are revealing the "fracking trap" that lurks behind America's recent energy boom.

From Mexico City, Televisa news anchor Carlos Loret de Mola writes that for all of President Enrique Pena Nieto's notable reforms in telecoms and energy, he has left out the key element -- judicial reform and the rule of law -- which the country now demands after the disappearance of 43 students.

Writing from Paris, Diane Ducret explores why women are always the scapegoat when troubled societies turn to moralists for answers. Lord David Owen takes a clinical look at the personality disorders of political leaders -- above all, the affliction of hubris.

Finally, "The Black Box Society" author Frank Pasquale chronicles how "big data" can ruin your reputation and career.


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