The road to four months that changed the world

Thirty years ago, on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. This was the beginning of a period that would change the world. When the last remnants of the wall came down in November 1991, it began four months that transformed all that had gone before. On Dec. 31, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist; then on Feb. 7, 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed, creating the European Union. Like 1918 or 1945, this four-month period marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. It is 30 years since the beginning of this transition and its meaning is only now becoming visible…

The fourth period has, in an odd way, created an imperial structure that permits a degree of sovereignty for its member nations, in return for a coordinated economic – but not military – will. It punishes states that resist, but most important, it has Germany as its economic center. The Germans are accused of fixing the euro to benefit themselves, limiting European economic and sometimes political choices, and so on. The EU has been and increasingly is a German question.

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