tv Ronald Reagan Symposium Panel 1 CSPAN August 12, 2015 11:21pm-12:31am EDT
tyranny has to be imposed on people. this is not to say there's one particular democratic government that has to be exported anywhere else around the world. it can be all sorts of flavors and expressions of it. but let's remember, it's not democracy that gets imposed on others. it's tyrannies that do. >> i like that analogy that mcfairland raised this morning, that is that that is a 1980 moment. what she meant, of course, is that we're facing this question of our relationship to opposing ideologies in the world as we were in 1980, vis-a-vis the soviet union. the real question for the next generation or maybe two generations of americans and of people around the world is the question of whether or not freedom, some kind of liberalization process is
possible. in the islamic world, and ultimately in the authoritarian powers, that is in russia and in china. my -- i think what reagan would have argued is, look, we can get along or we can manage a piece with these countries, but we'll never achieve any lasting accomplishments or any lasting developments together with those countries unless there's some narrowing of these idealogical differences. for example, in some islamic countries, it's not possible to have an opposition party because you can't be second ewe list. you must, in fact, adhere to the islamic law. which is identified with the government and with the state.
individualism in asian societies is such a different concept as it is in western societies, that is individuals have the right to question authorities, even authority of their own parents and their own family. we believe that in the west. we educate our children to think for themselves. sometimes that means they do disagree with their parents as well as with others. so we need to talk about what we believe and the fact that there are elements of this in every other culture and be extremely modest. he even says in his autobiography he wonders if chinese students didn't go too fast with their tiananmen square protests. there's a sense that reagan
understood this is a very long-term. he knew where it was going. it was a long-term process and i think he was aware, as we should be, of the struggle we've had in our own country over how many years in order to perfect our union so on one hand, you can be morally clear and i think it's going to be very spornt important for us to be morally clear about what are the essentials of a democratic society in all kul trs. >> well, i can't think of a better way than to end our question and answer z's session of the second panel here and our time is, unfortunately b drawing to a close. so i will make some closing comments and dismiss you all. i invite you to join me in thanking aram bakshian, k.t. mcfarland, gerson moreno-riano,
eric patterson, craig shirley and kiron skinner. i'd also like to thank our sponsors, gold, silver and bronze, our friends at c-span for their coverage, the audience here in virginia beach and our audience online through the live streaming and those who will be watching the broadcast by c-span. finally, i'd like to thank the high school students, college and graduates, the community members, some of whom came from as far as d.c., piedmont, virginia, the northern tier of north carolina to be present at this event. just one order of business following our conclusion here, there will be a networking lunch, xlumtry lunch for students and you're welcome to
join that. there will be a uniformed persons, student ambassadors who will help you to find your way over to that in the divinity building on campus here, catty-cornered to the building where we are currently. and with that, it's my bittersweet task to conclude and announce the tenth annual ronald reagan symposium is here by concluded and thank you very much for your participation. american history tv and prime time continues thursday with a look at journalism history. at 8:00 p.m., women reporters in vietnam. in conjunction with the new exhibit, reporting vietnam, the museum hosts a discussion with women who covered the war. at 9:20 p.m., we marked the 150th anniversary of the nation,
one of the oldest magazines in america. we have interviews with former editor victor novaski and current editor and publisher. journalism history on american history tv. 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. c-span is in des moines for the fair and cover aemg of the presidential debates. the counties walk the fairgrounds and speak at the des moines register's candidate soap box. thursday morning, starting at 11:30, it's republican mike huckabee followed by democrat jim webb at 2:00 and martin o'malley at 5:00. on friday morning, at 10:30 eastern, republican jeb bush. starting at noon on saturday, republican rick santorum at noon followed by democrats lincoln chafee at 12:30 and senator
bernie sanders at 3:00 p.m. and on sunday afternoon, republicans ben carson at 5:00 and george pataki at 5:30. c-span's campaign 2016 taking you on the road to the white house. this sunday nice on q&a, ant anti-war activist phillip bennet on u.s. foreign policy since 9/11, the recent negotiations with iran and the war on terrorism. >> who is size? what do they believe? why are they so violent? all of those questions are important and i address them all in the book. it's something we can do something about is what is the u.s. policy regarding isis? why isn't it working? can we go to war against terrorism? are we doing the war wrong or is it wrong to say there should be a war against terrorism at all?
i think those are the questions that will be the most useful. >> sunday night on c-span's q&a. >> congress is in recess for the summer district work period all this week we're bringing you american history tv in prime time on c-span3. tonight, a look at the major speeches of our nation's 40th president, ronald reagan. up next on american history tv, a panel discussion from regent university's 2015 ronald reagan symposium. this year's fame was democratic revolution challenges to fostering global freedom. the session coming up focuses on the speeches that define president reagan's administration, including what became known as the evil empire speech and his 1987 west berlin call to gosh chaff to tear down this wall. this is an hour and ten minutes.
>> good morning. welcome. i'm delighted that you chose to join us for this, the tenth annual ronald reagan symposium here in this cold, lake winter warning. my name is eric patterson. i serve as the dean of the robertson school of government here and i'm delighted that you chose to join us. i'd like to introduce to you one ever our senior lead toers greet you at this time and to kick off this conference. he's a scholar and academic. he's the author, editor of five books and he currently serves as the executive vice president for academic affairs here at the university. please help me in welcoming to the podium dr. gerson moreno-riano. >> good morning. thank you. on behalf of chancellor robinson, i want to welcome you to the 10th an aul ronald reagan
symposium. this symposium brings leaders to discussion themes of ronald reagan's a political career. this year's theme connects to the university's mission and the distinctives of the robertson school of government, individual liberty and constitutional government. more importantly, this symposium should lead us to think about the grander theme of statesman ship as embodied one of america's great presidents, ronald reagan. political issues come and go. the ronald reagan sympathy pose i couldn't say yumm hosted by the robinson school of government is a testament to that fact. thank you for attending this event and thank you dean patterson for your commitment to
never forget the gipper. >> we'll hear from three panels this morning and then there will be a question and answer time to follow that. then a break and we'll follow the schedule as you have it. i'll moderate this panel and i'd like to introduce to you each of the three panelists first and one by one they will come to the podium. the honorable action a former speech writer for three u.s. presidents including service as ronald reagan's speech writing. numerous inventory uses, including "the wall street journal," the american enterprise and the "new york times." our second speaker today is mr. craig shirley, a "new york
for two critically acclaimed books on ronald reagan. the first rendezvous with destiny and the second, reagan's revolution, the untold story of the campaign that started it all. mr. cherylly is the first reagan scholar at eureka college, a principal at shirley banister public affairs and a former decorated contract agent with the central intelligence agency. welcome. our third mep member is kathleen k.t. mcfarland, fox news's national security analyst. she held national security posts in the 234ixon, ford and reagan administrations. she's woshgdz as an aid to henry kissinger, secretary of defense to casper wineberger and later as principal assistant secretary of defense and as a pentagon spokes perpendicular. in 1985, she received the defense department's highest award given to a civilian. for her work in the reagan administration.
she's a much sought offer writer and speaker. >> good morning. i'm very happy to be here in virginia for this occasion because i have a particularly personal reason for remembering the westminster address that president reagan gave. i was director of speech writing at the time and i was, of course, there in london. but something happened shortly after the speech where i was walking -- i was showing a few people around, had been to london before. i passed a shop that had all these model soldiers in the window. there were hundreds of them. one caught my eye. it was a single figure and i bought it. i still have it.
in fact, i have it right here. oil turned out it was a figure of a member of baylor's continent lagoons. years later when someone traced the family tree, i discovered that me the my great, great, great, great, great, and i forget, maybe there was one more great grandfather had been a baylor's a trigune. so this is a home coming for me to vish at the same time as it is a commemoration for ronald reagan's west minister address where i accidentally bought my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. the whole point of the west minister address is it was a defining moment.
speeches come and go. you could arbitrarily assemble a list of any number of people. but west minute strer was a keystone arch speeches that reagan gave amongst many others that defined the cold war, defined the principals behind things and that step by step led to the end of that cold war and the collapse of communism which very few people thought was going to happen. how did he do it? and how important were the words? that was what i did and that was how i worked. first of all, i'll tell you what he didn't do. that is what other people sometimes do wrong when they are trying to ex either american leadership globally. while i was working on my remarks for today, i happen to
also be reviewing two books that made me think more about what i had to say and they reminded me of. the first is about woodrow wilson and current house, his chief foreign policy adviser. and as i read the book and wrote the review, some thoughts occurred to me which helped explain why woodrow wilson failed and why ronald reagan didn't. i'll read a sharp excerpt. when it comes to presidents, the brightest are not necessarily the best. there are at least three other qualities that matter, as much or more. the presidential greatness of men like washington, lincoln, ronald reagan was due at least as much to these qualities as it was raw intellect. and then there was woodrow wilson, a brilliant scholar with high ideals, temperamentally and
judgmentally incapable of successful leadership at the presidential level. he was a self-proclaimed progressive who loves humanity in the abstract, but doesn't really like people very much. his conviction that he was always the smartest guy in the room and his particular version of a presbyterian god whose him as a unique messenger, in fact, it's one thing to recognize god. it's another thing to think you're god. woodrow wilson had that problem. all that rendered him unable to code with everyday parts of the presidency. it was a problem that ronald reagan emphatically did not have. the title for me speech was i remembered fdr referring to al
smith as the happy war yar. i think ronald reagan was the happy cold warrior. he fought the cold war, but he was not a%jwuz ledgeant, negati man. he was a man of strong conservative principals, but he had a moderate personality in the sense of not being closed to -- he was close to people instead of being closed to people. which was why he was able to reach out to people politically. who haven't voted for -- it is not a coincidence that a whole new political term entered the vocabulary, reagan democrat. starting in the '80s. at any rate, those were some of the things that made it possible for him to do what he did.
a review just ran in the washington times a few days ago, tuesday, about abraham lincoln. but lincoln was a master of the words. in fact, i entitled the review abraham lincoln, a man of his words, with an "s," because, as i'll explain in a minute, i think ronald reagan was one of ever of few others that was a president of his words.
a r as i was doing the lincoln book, i started thinking more and more about lincoln. most presidents define about by while they were in office and what others write about them afterwards. in the 20th century, only franklin roosevelt and ronald reagan embedded themselves in history largely through their living words and images, fdr via radio and film and ronald reagan with television, as well. part of the reason is the immense mainly positive impact of their words. fdr told us that we had nothing to fear but fear sxifts we overcame the great depression and liberated the real isis of evil. ronald reagan told mr. gorbechev to tear down that wall and it came down along with the evil empire hiding behind it.
great rhetoric matched by great words. only one president attained the same level of success and he had some things in common with ronald reagan which is why i started thinking about that as i wrote he this review. abraham lincoln -- well, basically, he expressed himself in a way that the vast number of his fellow countrymen, without ever hearing his voice, he burned his image into their souls and he had a lot in common with ronald reagan. they bottom came from modest backgrounds and ronald reagan became president at a time when you needed presidential speech writers because of the incredible number of speeches you had to give. legal pad, handwritten and very few corrections would come out
of whole speeches. but ronald reagan had done himself. that is not true of many a president, i know. the other thing is, abraham lincoln was a man of mossest evaluation, self-educate, but very bright. republican ald reagan had a college education, but had to work very hard to get it but it was at a small college at a time when a bachelor's degree meant something and at a time, in fact w when you graduated from the sixth grade, you could spell better than i'm afraid many a ph.d. today. abraham lincoln had something going for him that no politician does anytime. there was one book that was in almost every american home at the time. and it was a book that decides
its beautiful and inspiring message, beautiful and inspiring language. that was the king james bible. and if the instead of four score and seven years ago, we might not even remember it. we wouldn't remember it with the same intensity because there was a biblical imagery to it that gave it a majesty. and then he linked it to the founding fathers so he wasn't talking about just the north and the south at that moment. he went through it and said now we're engaged in a great civil war. he linked it to the tragedy of the civil war. he then reconnected it and tried
to make people understand that as bad as it was, i wasn't being done for nothing. he talked about a rebirth of freedom. moving forward with principals, honor. so that it ended on an inspiring and future looking note. that was a sgift ronald reagan had in his speech. and in westminster, he defined the ideals. he said in various other speeches during the course of his career why we had to do this, why we had to do things that were just very practical and material like the strategic defense initiative, which was ridiculed as star wars and as
one of the advisers i remember at the time said teddy kennedy thought he was being clever when he ridiculed the defense strategy as star wars, but remember, that's one of the most popular movies ever made. it has a happy ending and the good guys winsed. and that's what happens. so it back fired. ronald reagan called the soviet empire an evil empire. i remember when people asked me, well, why did he say that? because it is. haven't you noticed? we have the -- it took fancy footwork. that expression was introduced and what was a minor speech in the sense that it wasn't the state of the union and built as a foreign policy speech. with the result and presidential speeches, the drafts are always circulated to the second of
state defense and etcetera, etcetera and one of their senior staffers are supposed to review them. that was sort of on the bottom of the pile and a lot of people said, oh, that was some speech about two broadcasts so that the initial draft with the words evil empire in it didn't get spotted by them. and the objections didn't start pouring in until we've got a draft to the president. the guy that happened to be on duty at the nfc the day that the draft went in. it's their job to find out and i'm not going to tell them about it. and let the president see it because then you start getting the phone calls as director of speech writing, whoever is on the draft, once they have gone to the president, i had to keep track of things and the changes. so what should have gone to the president and came back out and he kept it in. if you got a call from a senior
deputy from the secretary of state expressing -- the secretary of state feels this must come out. you could say, well, i feel the secretary of state must tell the president that this must come out because he kept it in. and if the secretary of state wants to tell the president and convince him, that's his job and more power to it. did you h. nobody did. reagan kept it in. it made history and he caught all sorts of criticism at home. they always said he was wrong. they always underestimated him and it was one of the best things he had going for him. it was brought home to me how much speeches like that meant. when i -- after i -- i've been a speech writer twice before for presidents and i love doing it for reagan. but i like doing my own writing. but in 1989, as a writer, i was with a grup of other writeres and journalists and we went to warsaw and budapest and east
berlin. and the people i met there. which was just when the wall was coming down and you could say that ronald reagan's prophesy had been fulfilled. but the people on the other side of the iron curtain, the people who speak freely, i was over there and met many of them who said his words were more than words and this couldn't have happened without it. thank you very much. and my great, great, great, great, great grandfather thanks you. >> thank you, mr. morrison and thank you regent university. speaking at this time of day
reminds me of what ronald reagan said about the collision of time and day and age and when you see, the definition of middle age is when you face temptationes and choose the one who will get you home in bed by 9:30. as a side note, i'm delighted to tell you this week i've turned in the manuscript for the last act which is the third book i've written by ronald reagan about his -- contrary to popular belief. he announced he said he had alzheimer's and passed away. there was a lot of living that went on in those 15 plus years. but it only took three years to complete. this is profitable and what writing is more probable, is it books, open he hads or speeches and i thought for a moment and i
said, most profitable form of writing is ransom notes. i'm also going to work on a book about reagan in the wilderness. and it goes to the point of the conference here today. from 1976 to 1979, he went through a complete idealogical makeover and because ,lzrreagan this time, ends up rejecting the containment and policies which dominated american policies for the soviet unit to the time of the famous telegram in which he advised truman to contain the soviets. this had been a policy for 40 plus years. and he comes to believe at this time that the soviet unique can be complete defeated.
they thought the soviet union and the berlin wall were things of permanency. the cold war was a thing of permanen permanence. codified the soviet come nigz of eastern europe for president to the ford to sign over the objections of dick cheney, who was the chief of staff at the time. he said he would support every president running for president except ronald reagan. he had how can it occur to anyone he should be governor much less president? 12 years later in 1992, he was given what turned out to be his farewell remarks to the republican party at their convention in houston. he had made other speeches in 1993 and 1994. but this was his last spooek
speech to a national convention starting in 1960 when he was a private citizen and the head of democrats for nixon. a time this time, 1992, the society union, collapse, and it was great misfortune, george bush did not make this event, the event of our lifetime in which billions were sent, national defenses raised, 38,000 american boys die in one cold war eruption, 58,000 dying in another went nearly unremarked and no notice. this was, in my opinion, a great tragedy because the american people needed to be told that they won, that the soviet communist law and sacrifice south korea and south vietnam .other locations were not in vein and that moral rights, science, moral evil. so reagan called it an evil
empire and he never backed away from it until the day he died. reagan issued a statement and went on "nightline" the night the wall fell which was the prelude to the coming collapse of the soviet union. but he was understandably restrained. seemed to some he was itching to give what might have been the greatest speech of his lifetime. many of us agree that it was a speech that reagan, kennedy, roosevelt could have given in their sleep. some ways later, reagan addressed the matter, but without embarrassing bush, and he did so at the houston convention. it was widely regarded as -- he was trying to stitch back together a divided republican party in 1992. i'm not going to try to inflict his voice, but i'll read you what -- quote, we stood tall and proclaimed that communist, we never heard so much ridicule from our liberal friends.
the only thing that got them more upset was two simple words, evil empire. but we knew then what the liberal democrat leaders just couldn't figure out, that the sky would not fall for strength and resolve. the sky would not fall if an american president spoke the truth. the only thing that would fall would be the berlin wall. he continued, i heard those speakers at that other convention saying, we won the cold war and i couldn't help wondering just who exactly do they mean by we? close quote. reagan knew. he always knew. going back to his days in hollywood when soviet agencies and their friends and supporters including a healthy number of democrats such as henry lawless and alger hiss, that the soviets always had a political beach head established in the i'd of america. soviet agents threatened to throw acid in his fate in the
1940s. the soviets said they had a bullet at a their headquarters. he knew in the most personal terms and he was so concerned, he hired security for his wife and two children. a strike by a communist leaning union in 1946 shut down the studio where reagan was begin to go fill night after night and reagan pushed back. later, communist members sterling told congress -- the striking union was later funded by moscow. during his time as governor, two men tried to take gasoline bombs and throw them in his home where nancy and their son was sleeping. the men slipped away in the darkness. yet when he testified before the house committee, he didn't advocate evicting communism from the i'd. he said the united states was strong enough to tolerate all
points of view as long as they were peaceful. this stripped him out from robert taylor and other actors who were cooperated who called for the expulsion of communists in the hollywood trade union. in 1980, we were losing the cold war. by 1989, we were winning the cold war. as gene kirkpatrick said, the republican national convention in august of 1984 about the san francisco democrats. quote, since the fall of sigh conin 1975 to january 1981, cambodia, ethiopia, mozambique, libya, syria, aiden, madagascar, nicaragua and grenada. not all the democrats were pro soviet anti-american, that's ridiculous, to be sure.
there are many good anti-communist democrats. but there were, for whatever reason, a number of democrats in the 1980s who you call them travelers or deconstructionists, but -- communism or even the famous phrase useful idiots. these were the democrats to which patrick was referring. another writer anthony lewis, many other liberals denounce reagan's consigning it to the history. the soviets at the time called their policy ir reversibility. soviet surveillance was everywhere. and their embassy in washington with regard to more than operating policy with the kgb. even president carter, who i
happen to believe is a very good man but was simply in over his head pushed ahead with his beloved treaties with the soviets even after they invaded afghanistan and, yet, he still went on national television with barbara walters and expressed astonishment that the soviets would do such a thing as invade another country. yesterday the soviets never gained one more inch and, indeed, rolled back. beginning grenada and extending to afghanistan and eventually the world. let's be clear here, the soviets gained ground against every american president from woodrow wilson to jimmie carter and no soviet dictator ever willingly gave up power. they surrendered without debate. reagan used to tell a joke about gorbechev, you guys were standing in line, he tells the
joke, they were cued up and there for days on end and one man said to the other, i'm sick of this. i'm sick of waiting around. i'm sick of all the shortageses all the time. i'm going to go to the kremlin and shoot gorbechev. he left. a couple days later he came back. he said did you shoot gorbachev? and he said, no, that line was longer than this one. i think it illustrates the point he wanted to defeat the idea. he understood that the way to beat an idea is with a better idea. during the war, they produced silent russia and mission to moscow. see if you can watch them. further he wrote, that it was communism john patrick diggins, his political consciousness
developed during the cold war. he also wrote communism was always on his mind. whether he was performing for the camera, dining out with his wife, writing letters to friends or later preparing to enter american politics on the world stage. to say that reagan was preoccupied with the soviets during his term of office is an understatement. in the highly regarded book, they noted in the index that one time he simply had more important things in his mind. over the past few days, the letter to ortega, the communist dictator in nicaragua has been in the news. the details have not been discussed. it was signed by 10 members of congress. it seems like they always travel in packs of of 10. led my congressman jim wright it was shocking. it said dear commandante, military action against the people, our government of
nicaragua. at the time newt gingrich called the document unbelievable. it was nothing more than a shreus taos salutation directly interfering with ronald reagan's foreign policy. gingrich went on to the lehrer report with them. the letter uses friendly and prospects and goodwill and reduced press censorship. and i always thought, there was not supposed to be press sensorship. what was ground breaking in many ways about this letter was it was a direct contradiction of reagan's policy. and it didn't stop there. 1987, ortega negotiated with wright, by passing the
administration to negotiate peace talks. so -- and even reagan, jim was a storm trooper. in the early days the a tkpapb administration ted kennedy was nothing like his brother to the kremlin in exchange for him stopping reagan's defense buildup help defeat reagan's reelection. he said he would help him brush up on propaganda skills and introduce him to the american television networksment the only real threat to reagan are soviet relations. the dear commandante letter was going to nicaragua. there he used reagan of committing terrorism. george schultz was reagan's secretary of state at the time. and he attacked kerry and harp
man as self-appointed adversaries to the regime. he called it mccarthyism. it was mildly humorous because mccarthy was really not comp nymph and harkin seemed to be rooting for communism in nicaragua. they trafpld on the lmped on th tore it up. during the pro nuclear freeze movements the early days in the 1980s, they were being funded by moscow. at the 1977 conservative political action conference he told a crowd, when a conservative says a totalitarian communist is enemy of human freedom he is not theorizing.
again, we quote kirkpatrick. so in 1980, the american people elected a very different president. entered the dismal period of retreat and decline. the american people declared that the world we have the necessary energy and conviction to defend ourselves and we have a well with a deep commitment to peace. thank you. [ applause ]. thank you very much. it is a great honor to be here to talk about the westminster speech. because i think world history or american history, there is the before the westminster speech and there is the after westminster speech. the problem is when he gave it nobody got it. i want to ask, how many of you are of the cold war era? how many were alive and remember the cold war? okay. the cold war happened because
after world war ii, the united states and the world looked at itself and said we have two super powers, united states, soviet union and nuclear weapons. how do we avoid using the nuclear weapons and how do we avoid the mistakes of the last 100 years? how do we avoid the slaughter of world war ii and world war ii. we the united states and the soviet union came up with a theory. we're not going to go to war with them. we know how that doesn't work out. we're going to contain them. we'll have a policy whereby we contain comp nymph within the soviet union. with time we will learn to live peacefully with each other. we're not going to go to war. we will accept 245 they will be around like us and we will find a way to peacefully exist. reagan turned it around. and he said my policy is really simple. we win, they lose.
and then he said about a very specific ways to make that happen. for reagan it wasn't we will negotiate with the soviet union so they can continue. we are going to do a whole series of steps to target their economy, target their ideology, target their allies. and we're going to take them down. so what he realized, though, is you don't do it on the battle field. you have to do it somehow not using weapons. and how did reagan come to that conclusion? he understood totalitarian systems, dictatorships, they suppress the very nature of human beings. they took all the fruits of your labor. they were going to decide who got them. they were going to make all the decisions. so natural human instinct, i'm going to work hard, create, innovate, take chances, do this for myself and my family. those were all suppressed.
reagan understood ultimately a system like that would collapse from within. reagan's plan was to hurry it along a little bit. in the westminster speech he gave a preview of all the policies he was going to conduct throughout his administration. he realized that the soviet union was contracting. the economy was contracting. just a few years before, gal breath, senior american economist had hailed the soviet union to say, oh, this is an economy that we should learn about central planning. they don't have any mistakes. it was thought the soviet economy, planned central avenue would be the way of the future. reagan understood that was not going to work and it would in fact, collapse. his thoughts at the time were quite revolutionary. they didn't sound revolutionary. his speeches sounded patriotic and wonderful. and the media dismissed it as
naive. they didn't think he had a fundamental understanding. when reagan gave the westminster speech when aaron was writing it and the administration was collecting the thoughts, inside the administration -- i was at the pentagon at the time. they were coming up with specific plans to target various aspects of the soviet economy and deposit. first it was -- reagan understood you target that economy. that economy contracted in the 30 years of the soviet union. reagan once said to my boss wine berger, can you believe a super power that can't feed its own people? that's where the soviet union was by 1980. they were having crop shortages, an economy that didn't work and devoting more and more of a percentage to their military building. at the same time he was giving this speech are the things he talked about in his speech.
reagan in the westminster speech, which we will show here in a few minutes. he talked about polling. he talked about the right of workers to organize. he talked about the right of people to be free. he talked about the united states military buildup. it was important for the united states to have a stronger military, unilateral military. he talked about nuclear weapons, the great threat that hung over the heads of everyone in the world. he talked about the need to reduce that. but most of all he talked about the soviet economy. he talked about the fact in the 30 years they had in power, they had their chance 30 years, they were as a declining economy, their economy was contracting. the national security memorandum internally and they were had he highly classified. but the gist of it was, go to america's allies and shore them up. reagan then traveled all over europe. he talked to the allies. he became great friends with
margaret thatcher. he worked with the pope. it was to tell our allies, american leadership is back in charge, back leading. he also talked behind the iron curtain. not just the soviet union but people in eastern europe. and he said, you don't have to live like this. you can change things. you can take things into your own hands. so he encouraged people like wale walesse. he gave a speech to the afl-cio. he probably took hands that aaron had written and scribbled over them. he said to the polish workers you have the right to organize and determine your own future. nobody really paid attention to that speech because reagan was shot shortly thereafter. the eastern pure pines and
leswaleka. the soviet economy demanded on one thing, high oil prices. nobody was buying russian cars. nobody was buying russian watches. nobody was buying russian things except oil and national gas. so he targeted that by realizing that if the price of oil would go down, the russian government would be bankrupt. so he encouraged the natural market forces to continue to get the price down. one of his favorite generals to saudi arabia and say keep pumping oil, push the price down. it went from $40 to $18 in nine months. they had crop failures. so then reagan did the final triumph which is to say star wars. i challenge you, soviet union, we are going to develop a defense and missile system that will destroy your nuclear weapons. if we develop it, we'll even give it to you. the soviet union realized at
this point it was over. they couldn't feed their people. they were devoting a significant amount too military expenditures. even though we in the united states in you star wars plans was probably 20 years ago if we could even get to there. but russians thought it would work. they realized they couldn't devote much of their economy to technology that they had no idea how to do. at that point the soviet union collapsed. reagan, when he gave the westminster speech, said i don't expect an instant transformation. it didn't take an instant. it took a decade. no one at the time thought it would ever happen. when it happened, and this is the part which i think is relevant to today's issues, vladimir tyutin was a young kgb officer. he saw what reagan had done and he devoted himself about reagan. he wrote his dissertation on reclaimed russian power.
he knew reagan targeted oil prices and natural gas. putin was going to buildup the soviet, then russian economy, by high oil prices. that's what he spent his career doing from the late 1990s to today. and he succeeded to a certain extent. he used high oil and natural gas prices to build up his military to, give subsid i dids to retirees. they squandered. they never built factories. who buys russian cars? who buys russian computers? nobody. they buy russian oil. natural gas to europe was the depe depe dependency putin wanted. that's why we are at that point we are at today. he looks at the same ideas that
brought down the iron curtain and ended communism. and he sees them going country to country to country if eastern europe, ukraine today. and he knows if you don't squash it there, what happens in kiev can happen in moscow. at the same time, i as an american look at where are we today? i think we're in a 1980 moment all over again. how many of you are millennials? fewer, but still. the millennials are not here in the auditorium. they're watching this online. but for the millennials, we old folks called warriors. we were not happy warriors in the reagan area. we changed the world. we had a leader who showed us how to do it and we all did it. and for the young millennials watch online, this is your 1980 momentment the world is hungry for leadership. we have lost our way. we think of moral equivalent seu of this system, that system. we're not.
take a page out of reagan. when you listen to the reagan westminster speech, understand our system indeed is the greatest system in the world. why? because it unleashes human nature to do what human nature does best. to succeed, to strive, to thrive. so i am so excited to be here to talk to you about my era, my cold war era as particularly exciting to do it. we're at one of those moments ago. i encourage all the cold warriors, talk to your grandchildren. tell them how you did it. and expect them to do it again. thank you. [ applause ]. >> that was a great panel. we have had a number of questions come in. so i would like to go right to it. the way that we will do this is i will ask a question and then we will direct it to one of the panel members. then if the other two want to chime in as well, that is okay.
we have about 25 minutes for questions. our first question is from mindy asher, a student at sweet haven christian academy here locally. her question is about how we should consider whether or not other countries are ready for democracy. she directed this to k.t., i think. how should we think about that? are thereer countries ready to democratize today. >> you would think it is in retreat. in the 1980s, 1990s, the iron curtain came down. eastern european countries became democracies. even russia briefly became sort of a democracy. we look at the world now and say, what happened to it all? there are dictatorships? totalitarian systems. we look at the middle east in particular and say can democracy even thrive, survive, or is it even possible in that part of the world. you know, i'm a glass -- look, i trained at m.i.t. and studied
nuclear weapons. my job was to figure out how you would go wrong. i'm a glass half empty person, to be honest. i am a glass half full person now. i think it's mostly full. why? because of the same things reagan understood about human nature. while we have been seeing a retreat of democracy throughout the world, what's happened in the united states is there is a couple of revolutions, economic revolutions mostly that are just about to happen. cheap energy. if you said to anybody in this room do you think you would be paying $1.50 for gas, people would have said you're nuts. it's going to be $5 a gallon. what's happened is american ingenuity, persistence, innovation and all those things that are great about america have now developed an energy resource we didn't think we had before. we certainly didn't think we had at these prices. that is going to be a significant change in the world. the same way high energy prices allow the soviet union prices
allowed the soviet union and russia to survive, low energy surprises means on the part of the united states that we're going to thrive economically. in addition to that, there's maybe let's say 12 technologies that are about to happen. how many of you have an iphone? the iphone didn't exist eight years ago. there are now about a dozen iphone-like technologies just ready to happen. it's going to be things like self-driving cars, robotic factories, 3d printing. it's going to be if -- i don't have a watch on right now, but i'm going to get one of those apple watches because that's going to be my doctor on my wrist who is going to do all sorts of things. telling me it's time to go up and it's not going to tell me -- it's going to measure my pulse from my heart rate to my medication. those old technology res inventsed here and available to the world in a short period of time. what that does, i think, is
democracy thrive necessary a period of economic prosperity. and what is what is going to change the world. the world i'm looking at two, three, four, five years down the road is a world where the economy is thriving again. america is back on its feet economically, politically, morally, psychologically and when that happens again, yeah, i think this democracy will no longer be in retreat. why? because the world, if i man looks at a strong horse and a weak horse, we're going to be a strong horse. time for us to be the strong horse again. >> gentlemen, do either of you want to chime in on this? >> just a quick note. democracy, it's not -- you don't get rid of all the evils that
are against democracy by a simple shot of vaccination. things do have to evolve. and information, while in the short-term, makes it possible for an evil regime to saturate and brainwash people. the same information technology, the way it's going now, means the truth is much, much harder to keep up. so that's on our side. but it's always a moral struggle, even in our own society as best as we are. there is back sliding. things can get worse. structures can weaken. it's a constant struggle. you always have to be trying to do the right thing and trying to bring out the best in systems and people, whether it's here or on the other side of the world. >> great. it depends on the day of the week i wake up as to whether the glass is half full or half empty. i think this morning i am a glass half empty. democracy is hard.
dictatorships are easy. dictatorships, you contoll date power. it's a pretty easy proposition. democracy is a very, very hard exercise as the world has shown and history has shown over the last several hundred years is that we've been able to maintain it. a lot of countries, a lot of the people have not been able to maintain it. i do agree that i think the technology is key, but i think also the simply the spread of knowledge. we're not -- the idea of democracy is not being promoted so much as more the idea of stability. and often, those two are in conflict because in order to achieve a stable world, you have to have a form of some type of scroll or dictatorship or something like that.
obviously, we try -- if that doesn't work, i go back to what reagan talked about is that a revolution without -- he said basic it it was to spread the idea of democracy, to spread the idea of free market opportunity, to spread the idea of knowledge, that is where it gets difficult. i think it's possible in the future, but it's not going to be an easy proposition. >> thanks. here is a question, what do you think should be the strategy to return to cold war conditions in eastern europe and at the same time support a democratic choice of the people of ukraine? and that's open to the panel. >> can i just jump right in? >> please. >> because i was in ukraine last year and right after they had their election. a number of the people who are in the ukraine government right now, my feeling is to go back to always using reagan as a guide. people are willing to fight for their own freedom. we don't fight for them.
we can't give it to them. if they're willing to fight for it, i think we should help them. the debate today is should we arm ukraine? yeah, i think we should arm ukraine. not fight for us, but let them fight for themselves. the way we brought down the iron curtain, there's a can you feel wonderful picture that stick necessary my mind with the reagan era, there's a coal mining town in russia or the soviet union, they had a television set with rabbit ears and there were 30 or 40 coal miners around and they were watching "dallas" which was a tv drama at the time where everybody had big hair, big cars, big jewels. and i later met a eastern european leader and i said, what is the moment for you? he said, oh, when we all got a television and we watched "dallas." i said why? he said, well, you know, before that, we would compare our lives and what we had in our lives to
when our parents had and what we have is better than what our parents had. but once we saw dallas, we compared ourselves not with our parents, but with you and we wanted what you had. i think the technology revolution today is not the tv with the rabbit ears, but it's the internet. and it's tear down these walls. so the real way we can foster democracy is to go to all the countries which happen to be our -- happen to be dictatorships. i would say when ronald reagan said, mr. gorbechav, tear down this wall, i would say mr. putin, mr. baghdady, tear down that cyber wall to see how the rest of the world goes.
once you unleash that, people take their destiny into their own hands every time. >> some years ago when it was present, before the czech republic, i was attending a -- in prague. two things i recall is that within weeks of czechoslovakia, part of the warsaw pact, economic opportunity, there were people selling used shoes on the streets, the free market was bursting out all over. but there were two things i recall from being there. i was talking to a woman with forum which was a movement and i asked her about, you know, being a political party. and she pulled me up short and said no, we don't have parties in this country. we tried that. it didn't work.
we're a movement of ideas and i remember that instant she got it. she understood what freedom was about. it's not a party membership. it is an intellectual movement. i joked to somebody architecture from the 12th century still thrives there. i joked that one of our sponsors was -- the town needed a good sandblasting. he said, no, we need 20 years of economic growth and then we'll sandblast. >> speaking of blighted landscapes in the communist world, in many of the major cities under stalin, they would build a palace of wul temperature which was always in hideous taste and very uncultured. the standing joke always was the best view in town was from the
palace of culture. why is that? because it's the only place in town where you can't see the palace of culture. getting back to the oil and energy, it's interesting. even though we have a passive engaged present, we are not the leading free world we used to be. but the saudis are doing today what they did back then. it's not a coincidence that just now the gas prices went up. also our industry with little help from the government has boosted production. but the saudis are keeping oil prices down because they don't like mr. putin, either. mr. putin temporarily has done these things like invading, an exing crimea and inviting unofficially parts of the ukraine. they've rallied temporarily. but i am reminded, mr. putin in a curious way is behaving like a greek colonel from the 1970s.
he's doing something that's temporarily boosted his stock, but his economy is starting to crumble. >> we've had a number of questions about policy in this administration. kwhit comes to u.s. policy regarding support to democracy today, do you have any advice for president obama? >> yes. consider early environment. >> i said, president obama, here is how you should conduct foreign policy. whatever your first impulse is, sit down, take a deep breath and do the opposite. i'm focused on my 1980 moment and i think we are now -- the
current administration is not going to change. they are where they are. i think they continue to go down the same path. i worry in the middle east that they're aligning, that iran at the expense of israel and egypt and our traditional -- i worry that we will have a nuclear arms race in the middle east. in three to five years. all that being said, i think that i'm looking to the future. the tribe of the united states. because we don't seem to agree on much of anything. but the beauty of reagan was that he understood that we are different and that's okay and he found a way to talk to all of us and honor all of us and bring us all together. so my advice for the current administration, bye-bye. and my advice to the next administration, i can't wait.