THE BLOG
11/07/2014 07:53 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2015

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

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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.

WHO WE ARE

EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost's 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost's Senior World Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the "whole mind" way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council -- as well as regular contributors -- to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.

MISSION STATEMENT

The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.