Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on an armored personnel carrier near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 8, 2015. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)
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Far from the rubble-strewn streets of eastern Ukraine, a clash of titans is taking place as Europe and America tussle over visions for the post-Cold War era.It is 70 years since the end of World War II and a quarter-century after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the reunification of a once-divided Germany.But the lessons drawn from a painful common history by those old enough to remember are being used by both American and European leaders to underpin their competing visions of how to deal with an unruly Russia.In a rare personal insight, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Saturday touched on her own childhood growing up behind the Iron Curtain in order to explain her opposition to fueling the Ukraine crisis with more weapons.In the end, Merkel said, Europe's principles and values would win the day – suggesting that in these early convulsions of its young democracy Ukraine must remain patient.Merkel's words were met with anger, especially among American delegates who feel the United States spilled blood in World War II to ensure the vision of "a Europe, whole, free and at peace" and aren't prepared to let Kiev wait.
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