Tony Blankley
As we approach the festive season -- the elongated, enchanting month from Thanksgiving through Christmas to New Years -- my mind has been drifting through various memorable past holidays. Some have been personal -- the last one with my father before he died. But one that stands out for historic reasons was Christmas 1991.

It was precisely on Dec. 25, 1991 -- 20 years ago next month -- that the Soviet Union expired. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned his office, and the godless Soviet Union formally ended its existence. On that Christmas Day -- of all days --mankind was given the gift of deliverance from the half-century-long threat of nuclear annihilation. Mankind had never been more than one human misjudgment away from the unthinkable. It seemed a miracle that for all the human blundering, the crass politics of the world, the trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons -- we had come out the other side untouched by the long-dreaded nuclear flame.

But after expressing my heartfelt gratitude for the deliverance from such an evil, I remember thinking that it was a pity that from then on history and politics would be so boring -- not that I was complaining.

Of course, it didn't take long for the world to be filled once again with the horror (and the thrill) of danger. That point was murderously punctuated in history on Sept. 11, 2001. The rise of radical Islam, the resurgence of long sleeping China, the economic crash of 2008, which keeps on crashing; the ongoing folly and incompetence of Washington politics; the imminent fiscal and perhaps political chaos of Europe -- all reveal the truth of Hamlet's famous pronouncement that: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy."

It was that quote from Hamlet that came to mind this weekend as I was reading the leftist, German magazine Der Spiegel approvingly quoting and elaborating on the words of Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of the German Social Democrats (SPD):

"'We must invent and establish Europe a second time,'" It's easy enough to say this from his standpoint as leader of the opposition. But many in Angela Merkel's party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), tend to agree -- they just don't talk openly about it. Officials at the Chancellery are also looking for concepts for the day when the crisis is over.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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