The Null Device


The latest flashpoint of the culture war: whether or not a street or square in Berlin should be renamed after Ronald Reagan. Germany's conservative ruling party wants one, though the idea is not popular with Berlin's more left-leaning residents, or the city's Social Democratic local government:
That's why many in Berlin see Reagan, who would have turned 100 last Sunday, as a trailblazer for German reunification. Indeed, some would like to see the city do more to publicly honor the man. In December, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tabled the idea on behalf of his party, the conservative Christian Social Union, of placing an official commemorative plaque honoring Reagan on Pariser Platz, the square in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Guttenberg's CSU is the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. The Berlin branch of the CDU, for its part, is calling for the renaming of a public square or a street in Reagan's honor. But so far nothing has happened.
And is there not a slight whiff of truth to claims that the city's leftist government has trouble with Ronald Reagan as a person? The Republican, who since his death from Alzheimer's in 2004 has become the most popular US president ever, was considered by the German left during his two terms in office from 1980 to 1988 to be the personification of the Cold War. Reagan's appearance in West Berlin in 1987 was not without risks. In adddition to the Cold War aspects, his message of Reagonomics was deeply unpopular with the city's anti-capitalism movement.
They could always wait a few years, until the left-wing Berliners have been gentrified out, and replaced by affluent schmicki-mickis who are a bit more fond of winner-takes-all capitalism, by virtue of being the winners. Perhaps then, with the vanquishment of Communism as an ideology, and the second ongoing vanquishment of "poor but sexy" anti-capitalist Berlin by the forces of gentrification, they could rename various streets named by the DDR after famous Communists after NATO hawks and prophets of the free market. Karl-Marx-Allee could become Milton-Friedman-Allee, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße Reaganstraße and Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz Thatcherplatz.

There are 4 comments on "Reaganplatz":

Posted by: naptastic Wed Feb 9 20:49:07 2011

Gorbachev did more than Reagan to bring down the Berlin Wall peacefully. Why Britain would name a square after him boggles my brain. The only thing I can really credit the man with is improving discipline among the US armed forces. Everything else is a wash or massive failure.

Posted by: Eine kleine Nichtmusik Thu Feb 10 03:10:02 2011

Peaches-Platz, Chicksonspeedstraße, Einsturzende-Neubauten-Allee, Flughafen Berlin Rammstein...

Posted by: Michael S. Sun Feb 27 13:31:54 2011

I've always been amused that Paris has a fairly prominent street called "Avenue du President Wilson." You don't hear much about Woodrow Wilson anywhere these days; presumably he was important to the French once.

Posted by: acb Sun Feb 27 23:12:10 2011

Wasn't he instrumental in drafting the Versailles treaty? The French thought it was a splendid idea at the time.

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