On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in West Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate and called for Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” referring to the Berlin Wall, which had been erected by the Soviets to keep defectors from fleeing East Germany to the West.
Subsequently recognized as one of Reagan’s greatest speeches, it has long been upheld as an example of the U.S. leading the Western world in the effort to promote open borders and freedom. A little more than four years later, the Soviet Union imploded, and its communist political and economic systems became part of history.
Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has actively promoted its style of democracy and capitalism. After the war, the U.S. used trade as a tool to rebuild Europe and Asia. Countries such as Germany and Japan, two former enemies of the U.S., used trade to build their economies into global powerhouses. The close political relationship that the U.S. enjoyed with the United Kingdom and France during the war was made even stronger through trading ties forged with these allies.
So, on April 23-25 when French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to the U.S. on the first state visit by a foreign leader during President Donald Trump’s administration, I was intrigued about how he would interact with the U.S. president. He had been invited to speak to a joint session of Congress, so I also was interested to hear the points he would convey.