tv The Presidency Reagan George H.W. Bush Gorbachev CSPAN February 17, 2018 12:00pm-1:26pm EST
explanation of the relationship forged between ronald reagan and george h.w. bush, and with care warpage of during the final years of the civil -- cold war. scholars were convened looking at the complicated history between u.s. and russian leaders over the last century. the discussions included assessments of franklin d roosevelt, jfk, and bill clinton, as well as their russian counterparts. this is about one hour and 20 minutes. >> we have a great panel. philip's elco is going to -- -- he's elco is going to has written a terrific book on the end of the cold war, the principal author of 9/11 commission. many other books. he is in the midst of writing a terrific book on decisions for war in ways that illuminate old
crises and decisions by going to 1988, or wilson's decision for war in world war i. he is reassessing these decisions. we are all looking forward to philip's next book. time, he is doing a dozen other things none of us can keep track of. philip, thank you. need tosorry to say we wait for james wilson to show up . he is probably out there somewhere having a good conversation. if we canhe is send the search y out.
>> glad you could join us. let's go ahead and get started. this is a panel covering the the great second crisis phase of the cold war in the early 1980's, extending to the end of the cold war. earlyhe beginning of the 1990's and the disintegration of the soviet union. perspective on u.s. and russian relations, we start with the perspective from the point of view of the reagan administration with james wilson. james? thank you.
i was looking through a few files the other day and came upon a quote that i think might apply to the subject at hand. "the problems the devil informed policy are not like headaches. with those, you take a powder and they are gone. instead, they are like the pain of earning a living. they will stay with us until death. we have to understand that all of our lives the danger, the uncertainty, the need for alertness, for effort, for discipline, will be upon us. .e are in for it the only real nation is whether we should know. ." line applied very
well to that moment. in 1958ed very much onn strobe talbott sent in to secretary madeleine albright. it very much applies to the topic we have been discussing. us,robably also applies to me, his perception of me when i walked into his office. and six years ago trying to fish and up at the university of virginia. i was living in a house with no potential firm prospect of employment. it has all worked out, i'm extremely grateful to the advisor,epartment, my to the miller center for having the and having me back. the point that he said about common knowledge, what the
millard center does in terms of residential projects, the recordings, the oral history, is tremendously important in this era. it is generally difficult to figure out what israel and what is not, what is authentic history, what is fake news. i'm extremely fortunate to work with my colleagues in the office of historians, particularly my colleague elizabeth charles whom i work closely with him the u.s. soviet volumes. to be working on a similar project that puts forward about 90% of the top level conversations and internal memoranda of u.s. policymakers from 1917 to 1991 when it comes to u.s. and russia. here are mypressed own and don't necessarily reflect those of the department,
state, or u.s. government. with that, i would pick up on -- heroic factor that led that have been raised, and talked a little bit about what i potential lessons are of ronald reagan and the soviet union when it comes to u.s./russia today and in the future. amply put, don't wait for gorbachev. reagan didn't. there is a common misconception at the time, later, and even today, that reagan came into office focusing entirely on building up u.s. and allied strength. deferred negotiations until a new type of soviet leader emerged. togan attempted early on engage with brezhnev and his
successors. at times, giving real emphasis on the role of history in russian foreign policies. the russian role of history and the lives of the russians he was dealing with. in thinking through this letter ie wrote in february of 1984, " have reflected at some length on the tragedy and scale of soviet losses and warfare throughout the ages. surely those losses, which are beyond description, must affect your thinking today. neither i, nor the american people hold offensive intentions towards you or the soviet people ." when it came to policy decisions, i think reagan put option fortable zero
an intermediate nuclear forces treaty. he put that out in the fall of 1981. there was a wide perception that it was a purely cynical thing because the u.s. and nato had yet to have launch ground missiles. he stuck to this, even throughout 1987, where a lot of put -- onend him had not so excited to go forward with gorbachev. reagan put forward with the strategic reduction talks, a much more ambitious proposal than had been seen before in the cold war when it came to the most destabilizing missiles, icbms and submarine launch ballistic missiles.
1983, when reagan announced his strategic defense initiative, he called upon the scientific community to turn their great tones to the cause of mankind in world peace to give us the means of rendering the nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete. and this bigposals idea that went against a lot of conventional thinking throughout the cold war set the terms for the big debates between the u.s. and soviet leaders, even before gorbachev came to office. a the summer of 1984, this is period that i think applies to today, there is a pessimistic view of the next 10 years with the russians.
in the fall of 1984, when there was no strategic arms negotiations going on, the soviets walked out of geneva the fall before. there is a wonderful memo that i recently discovered about the prospects for arms control in the second term. it was written by a magnificent public servant named james tenby. he started out by saying it is unreasonable to expect consensus to emerge within the u.s. arms control and national security field. for that to happen simultaneously with a consensus to emerge in the soviet arms control and national security fields. what we need to do is to set the terms for what we would like to see five or 10 years down the realismh a sense of about what is possible.
if you simply are just waiting for both sides to grind through the bureaucratic process, even with the best staffers, that is not going to suffice. of 1985,w, in march .orbachev comes in just before that, the nuclear and space arms talks commenced in geneva. they persisted throughout the gorbachev era. we don't forget about the arms production achievements during this period. you have the nuclear risk reduction center completed, and upgrade to the hotline, the strategic arms reduction treaty, theopen skies treaty, conventional forces in europe treaty, the chemical weapons convention, two big important presidential nuclear initiatives
. it is an extraordinary period that gets launched during the middle of the 1980's. one moment that really crystallizes what reagan is trying to achieve after he starts to engage with gorbachev and begins to think i can trust him to really uphold his end of the bargain. to the great surprise is some of there ise around him, a saturday morning meeting where i think eric adelman -- there -- hesense among people was talking about this diffusion sharing technology. maybe he is trying to get this out of his system. his ambitions were beyond that.
he laid out this phase for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. even after he signs the inf treaty, he says his team must go for the gold. i must start agreement before the end of 1988. i will close by saying i think there's a way of looking at these individuals, reagan, gorbachev, bush, yeltsin, through a lens of hero of factor. -- hero of factor. that is not to acknowledge the strengths of particular moments within the grades, the contributions of others at other moments.
something that has fascinated me is the last interaction with shevardnadze and reagan in september of 1988, where reagan says i know i said turned on the wall, itear down the understand. it had been perhaps unrealistic to suggest the berlin wall be torn down in its entirety. he understood the division of germany and berlin was a product of world war ii. the feeling on part of the iniet union and many others germany should never be allowed to be the strongest and most dominant power in central europe. if you had said to reagan after yearseeting that in 2.5 we are going to unify germany and nato. i think he would've laughed and smiled and said that would be great.
he also thought that would've been something that could maybe happen in 25 years. [applause] >> i would like to thank the organizers of this conference. i know that the hope of the organizers has been that we would not only recount history, but try to derive some lessons for the future, for the present. i derived lessons from the discussions about the history itself. the subject of my book and his relations with the night -- the subject of my book " gorbachev and his relations with the order to take
account of what i have heard and how it is affected my thinking. usually in talking about gorbachev, i begin with a famous quote by thomas carlyle that history is "but the biography of great men." we know immediately there is something wrong with that, the word men. we know there are social movements and international conditions, economic circumstances. classicgorbachev is a example of an individual leader who makes a decisive impact on history and whose biography helps to explain that impact. this is partly because he had the power to have such an impact as the leader of the soviet union, a totalitarian, or perhaps post-totalitarian society, regime, in 1985. it also has something to do with
his uniqueness in the sense that he did not do what other soviet leaders in his peer group would have done. if he had, we could say that he was reflecting the values they all shared. or we could say he was reacting to the demands of the situation they all faced. but no, he acted in his own idiosyncratic way. there were only three members of that group who stayed with him until the very end. not quitevardnadze, to the end, he did resign. , his ally.ucca flat he was unique. he was exceptional. that is what i want to underline in light of the conference so far. what struck me about many of the papers is how much continuity
the papers have discerned in the 100 years between 1917 and 2017. of course there have been differences, stalin is not pulling, communist ideology is not the return to the trinity of subordinates.cy, there are many differences. there are these interesting parallels from which gorbachev exception,n is the the search of the soviet union and russia under putin for a s dominance.fluence, , severaleastern europe of the papers talk about how the soviet union and russia have
seen the united states as hypocritical, proclaiming its adherence to ideals than ignoring them in its foreign-policy practice. we heard several times about how the soviets and putin wants to be treated as an equal of the united states. we heard about how the liberal international order is promoted and defended by the united states and has been an obstacle to them wanting to achieve what they want to achieve. we know the parallels and differences between version of and -- brezhnev and putin. it strikes me even more in this to beence that gorbachev determined -- and it yeltsin, is the great exemption -- exception.
the determination to try to democratize his country, and to and the cold war and help build a new world order which would be based as much as possible on the non-use of force. thee is such an exception, question is how did the u.s. react to him in the person of presidents reagan and bush? ,o what extent did understand to what extent did it try to meet him and help him as he pursued his goals? to what extent did it not do so in a way that might have hinderd his efforts to obtain his exceptional goals. in my book, and to some extent, my paper, i talk about reagan and george bush. lmostcribe reagan as an a perfect partner for gorbachev.
strange to say at the time, after all he was an archconservative president and gorbachev was a communist leader. reagan talked about evil empire, reagan talked about defense initiative in the hope that would scare the russians. geneva,n they met at you see that they are talking past each other and are impatient with each other. it is a rather sterile conversation. they both feel by the time geneva is over that they have made a breakthrough. it turns out they have, because a few months later they come very close to an agreement. we have to define it wouldn't means, they didn't define it exactly, an agreement to abolish nuclear weapons. in the near agreement, we see their compatibility. we see the fact that they would
both like to get rid of nuclear weapons if they can. unlike a lot of their colleagues in their governments, who have come to a conclusion that nuclear weapons keep the peace, as horrible as their competences -- consequences would be if ever used. when reagan goes to moscow in 1988 and is asked what about the evil empire used to talk about? he says that was another time, another era. in december 19 88, when reagan, bush, and gorbachev meet at governors island in new york, bush sounds as if he will pick up where reagan left off. he even jokes that if he doesn't do this, reagan will be on the phone from california, pushing them to do what he promised gorbachev is going to do. by the time 1991 rolls around, bush has become an even better
partner for gorbachev. felt morerbachev comfortable with bush, don't like he was dealing with a more sophisticated, experienced, extolling -- intelligent politician. -- you can't read the conversations without seeing the warmth between them. you hear about how striking, startling, stunning the connection was between them. 1989, thenok back at you look at bush and gorbachev in 1990 and 1991, from gorbachev 's point of view, bush is not measuring up to a reagan had been. i talked about this to philip before, and to james about what might have been involved in
achieving the goal to sign a stark treaty in 1989, rather than 1991. i realize this was complicated. in our conversation with philip, he didn't like the use of the word pause. the pause in the bush administration's dealing with gorbachev to assess reagan and what he and shultz had accomplished. gorbachev from -- from gorbachev's point of view, it was frustrating, he couldn't understand it. back, it seems to me to have been a big mistake to the extent that it actually happened. you gentlemen may decide it is in. when i look back and i read memoirs, it is said gorbachev
was trying to smother us with theness, these are almost words, i would find them if i opened the book. gorbachev was more dangerous than his predecessors, because bywas loading our vigilance seemingly beaten so reasonable. by this time, gorbachev transformed the soviet system when thinking about the conference in the 1988, which set the stage for the free elections of 1989. the archaeological underpinnings of foreign-policy. he signed a disarmament treaty and move toward another. inannounced the drastic cut soviets conventional forces in europe. he withdrew from afghanistan, although he's not entirely out until spring of 1989. he has recognized universal
human rights. be theunderstand to summary of the fourth part, thetegy, coping with gorbachev phenomenon and soviet union in 1989. i understand it to be first to appear confident about purposes and agenda, this is bush strategy. second, to signal relationships is firstallies priority. third, to place a higher priority on relations with eastern europe than with russia. and forth, to promote regional stability in a place like central america. in my paper i wrote notably absent from this list was helping gorbachev transform his country and close out the cold war. i look forward to hearing your version of this. i understand there were reasons
for choosing to do it this way. it seems to me in 1989, unlike was ridingrbachev high and doing well. in order to be further strengthened by the bush administration's picking up where reagan left off would have been a wonderful thing for him. in the long run, who knows how that may have affected his fate. when we get to 1990 and 1991,, it is a different issue. gorbachev amazingly accepts the reunification of germany as its membership in nato. he hopes this will be part of a change in europe in which nato and warsaw pact will lose their military nature and eventually disappear. and europe will come together in what he calls a common european home, which sounds like a propaganda device.
he believed in it very seriously. he even thinks secretary of state baker on february 10, 1990, has told him that nato will not expand one inch to the east. those are his words, but there is differences on what it meant exactly. did expand. nato background, iis guess i want to bring up the words of margaret thatcher, she we've got to help mikell, she says to matlock. she wishes bush would lead the way just as reagan had. "just a few years back, ron and i would have given the world to get what has already happened here." if the
west did not come to gorbachev's aid, she added, history will not forgive us. i guess i would like to end with two questions. what -- to end with two questions. could we have done more to help gorbachev? either in 1989 when it would have made a difference, or 1991 when probably it was too late because things are coming apart in the soviet union? and then, going back to the conference, there was talk of about how someday, we don't know when, probably not soon, another heroic leader or different circumstances might come about when we have another chance to deal with a russian leader who wants to do things differently than they have been done for the most part in the last hundred
years. what might we do that? -- then? how might we be prepared to help them in a way that we couldn't or didn't or wouldn't back in 1989 and 1991? so those of the best those are the two questions i would like to leave to be discussed. meanwhile, i welcome our next speaker who may not agree with me. [applause] i want to join all of those that are complementing mel and will and the miller center eric i find that center. i find the opportunity to connect historical policy of fascinating era. i think this is a great venture. i appreciate the invitation very for the historians, i know many of you from your books.
it is a real treat to have a chance to be here with you. i'm enjoying the biography of gorbachev. it shows the irony of life. as i was flying back from paris i finished 1988. i have a feeling of where he is going in 1989. for those of you that have not read it, it is a masterpiece. when ind i first met reviewed his book for the financial times. .hat is a cautionary tale when historians start to edge into the policy area, the reviewers may not be other historians. james has done a wonderful job. when i think about what he and his colleagues are doing i know it will be a resource for people going forward. i will highlight five points. one, economic strength and dynamism are the foundations of power. even today at this conference, it is interesting.
we have had discussions of inmits, i think only others domestic and international linked into economic tissue. it is not that i'm a marxist determinist, i think economics becomes important. it was very970's common to read stories about the death of capitalism very oil shocks -- capitalism. oil shocks, lack of confidence. rather than review that in detail i want to draw attention to four particular elements. the revival of the western market economy was not due to just reagan and thatcher. while they played major roles, if you look at what japan did after the oil shocks with energy efficiency it is transformative. if you look at west germany, what it is able to do to expand as the engine of europe. mitterand changes his approach and policy toward economics. one
european figure that really worked with us during cue.. shock -- jaqu in sum, we sought adaptability -- saw adaptability of market economies of different types. that is what i think partly drives the story of the soviet union because the soviet union is not able to do that. two, critical in reference to today, the domestic economic revivals were combined with international adaptations in the 1980's. taking the detail let me mention , this took place in trade, monetary and exchange rates, g7 policy coordination, developing country debt and reforms, and so this economic revival was not based on a narrow economic nationalism. it also wasn't based on another idea that was current and has faded in history which is the
international set of economic planning model. the geopolitical analysis that move into the economic sphere often they -- pay attention to economic strength. but they have a hard time recognizing there is a dynamic element to the power. part of it is a systemic ability to adapt and to change. third, the ussr could not adapt. it was very dependent on energy resources and prices. that is still true today. i note it in the paper. about 20% of their gdp, 50% of the budget, and 80% of their exports. so a huge dominance in the overall economy. the traditional focus on bush 41 is his foreign-policy. i hope this -- historians will look back at his economic and domestic
aspects very the budget deal he does a great political cost he he does it frankly because he is worried about a domestic conflict going into the gulf war. if you take that by the -- the budget deal and you take a look at clinton did, basically, you have the foundations for a very strong economy during the course of the 1990's. i might add, little recognized, passes landmark americans for disability act, landmark clean air amendments. not bad for a first term. but you rarely find somebody who comments that this was part of bush's legacy. the question today is whether the u.s. is deconstructing this international economic system that it led in creating. if so, i think there will be a big cost of foreign policy and national security. it may not show up in merely, but in the world in which i operate, you are already feeling it. second, security negotiations require leverage. the euro missile debate was a
fierce mixture of naturalism, ,- neutral is him -- neutralism anti-nuclear pacifism, anti-americanism, soviet manipulation. one of the challenges in terms of policymakers understanding the soviet union is detailed very well your book. but remember what they saw. what they saw in the course of the euro missile debate and the soviet union is fundamentally different in challenging the system. i think gorbachev acknowledges the ability of western countries to maintain their cohesion is one of the things that led the soviet union to move on to the inf treaty. this also has applications for today. in the context of russia, the need for the united states and nato to have -- respond seriously and with real capabilities to russian probes, whether in the baltics or central and eastern europe or now especially in cyberspace. i might add that firmness does not necessarily require belligerence. in the
case of ukraine, i think putin 's aggression will be limited by the cost and ukraine's cohesion and capabilities. third, allies first. this has both a historic and current applicability. this is an interesting aspect of this conference. it's unsurprising if you have people who specialized in the soviet union and russia. they focus on u.s. russian relations. if you're in the government, you might focus on alliance relations. you can see the tensions between those who focus first on western europe and those who put their priority on relations with the soviet union. marshall, truman, actions and clearly focus on the alliance -- atchison, clearly focus on the alliance system after the marshall plan. i would argue
that kennedy actually moves out of this with berlin. but very much focused on moscow. it was thought that bush made a mistake by focusing too much on coal. you see this in jack matlock's writing. should the u.s. have put a priority to gorbachev or to poland and germany? i think what you will encounter a difficulty for the people that were there. there's clearly a desire by bush to demonstrate he will have his own team. partly, it is a shock to some of the reagan people. there are all of the studies that are commissioned. those studies were busy work. from day one, they were trying to figure out how to deal with the world we inherited in 1989. frankly, just as in the budget area, there was cleanup
of s&ls and budget deficits. there were things to clean up in the world of 1989. our allies were not wildly excited about the romantic view that we will do away with nuclear weapons. we can debate how likely that is going to be, but this was a very troubling view for everybody from thatcher to coal. of course, it left the short range nuclear missiles in europe as the only ones left. what i find most striking is there is a must -- almost to know -- almost no attention in the history's to bush's conventional forces proposal which he does in late may. he has been in office 34 months. it is an ambitious effort to move the missiles off the agenda by saying, if the justification was a 3-1 conventional asymmetry let's , equalize and go to much lower levels. the importance of this is, number one, as i said, it
moves the short range missiles off of the agenda where there is great conflict with the soviet union or with germany. it moves the idea of the politics moving away from nuclear negotiations to conventional forces. you will hear most of the discussions today focusing on strategic arms as being the sole determinant of the u.s.-soviet relations. this actually goes back to what is the history of the cold war, which is the soviet army occupying eastern europe. if you could start to get the forces start to leave eastern europe, that might also affect politics. it also aligns the united states closely with germany, but it had the benefit of being a real cost reduction for the soviet union as well. the other little benefit of this that takes place is it clearly establishes bush as the alliance leader. thatcher did not like this proposal. bush had to make a decision over thatcher's
preference. you can compare administrations, but you have a change of the focus on the -- of the alliance. i was involved in the central american negotiations, which baker starts in february. so first month. this was a way of testing soviet seriousness, whether it would be inconceivable that you can help gorbachev in any financial way if the soviets were seen as continuing to put money into cuba or nicaragua. sherman of a kharrazi make progress. along the way, we start these discussions about economics. we had an economic reform discussion on the plane out. in the summer of 1989, bush visits poland and hungary.
he is competing with gorbachev in terms of public diplomacy. in a way, through much of the cold war, the u.s.-soviet relationship is around nuclear weapons. now the agenda is moving to everything from conventional forces to the division of europe, to economic reform. keep in mind, whether this was a limitation or not, what do decision-makers have in their minds? they have 1960 their minds. we had june 1989 in our minds. we had just come back from the conventional forces success and all the sudden there is tiananmen square. the idea that this is going to be a straight path, he did not look that way at that point. that was a warning of the cautions. another way of saying this is, in 1989, the u.s. recognized in europe the question would be as much a german question as a russian
question. the prospect of what would happen with germany was not only matter for russia, but a matter for eastern europe, for western europe. if you feel, over eight or nine months, that that set of actions is a pause, i don't know how you would compare it with anything else in recent political history. in a sense, by november, within the first eight or nine or 10 months, you have u.s. well-positioned nato, germany, even baker talks about the csc about a way to deal with coming home by december. i think -- i think we have a world where trump is ambivalent about alliances. i think the generals would generally hold him in line. strong leaders may be easier for him to deal with. one of the questions going back a little
bit to the discussion of the wilsonian period, i wonder whether we might be moving back to a period more like 1900 of -- the 1920's, where you have a four maneuvering of great powers. fourthly, prudence and respect. bush and baker were not triumphant. bush's reserve, when the berlin wall came down, is the most obvious example of this. they tried to listen and understand the perspective. an important part of diplomacy is to help create expeditions for -- explanations for your counterparts when they are in disarray. this was definitely the case for the soviet union in 1989 and 91. gorbachev had embraced the csc csce -- the csce.
it has a principle that says countries should be able to choose own alliance. if you're consistent with your principles, how can you deny the possibility. the nine points say we have been putting out ideas to help the soviets. we weren't sure if they had internalized them, so we reframed them in a different way. you see this in the baltics, where bush was cautious about russian recognition. i remember bacon -- -- baker baker trying to differentiate the baltics. you see this in bush's caution about the breakup of the soviet union. this was a controversial issue. it was a model of dealing with this prudently. also, different people will differ about this, you have to assess realistically what the u.s. can and can't do. i'm surprised that after recognizing with trillions of
dollars, we have not been able to remake afghanistan or iraq. how confidently where we that we -- were we that we would be able to remake russia? in today's contrast, as opposed to prudence of respect, i think trump seeks confrontation. he creates uncertainty. he will act impulsively as part of his dealmaking. so the reliability of the united states is an issue today. finally, again, this goes back to the idea of what one would believe the use could do. -- u.s. could do. i have always sense that the future of russia is in the hands of russians. the way you can help and support , you have to be careful not to assume you can remake their world for them. again, from a historic perspective, we were trying to avoid what we call the versailles victory. this applied to germany as much as it did russia. we wanted germany to be unified in a way so that its sovereignty was clear, so there
would not be a future generation of germans wondering why are we singled out. -- in terms of the german-u.s. partnership, we saw this in terms of old alliance obligations, but in the future of europe. we believed germany would become the most dominant country in europe and we wanted to have a special u.s.-german partnership. i think germany has become a most powerful country in europe. we wanted the opportunity for the soviet union and russia, too, but i think our assessment of the reality was that the soviet economy was in much worse shape than the central and eastern european economy. if the locals don't own it, it won't work. i had the
sense that neither gorbachev or yelchin really grasp market economics -- grasped market economics. the technocrats and russia were far weaker than those in poland. this was an -- this was not primarily a question of money, although money helps. in the 1990's, russia gets big sums of money from the imf, the saudi's. you have two big issues. this is the relevance for today. one is the macro economic issue a budget, inflation, credit. russia has eventually gone a hold of those. i think russia has good macroeconomic policy. property rights, rule of law, competition. russia's struggling with those issues 25 years later. you have to be careful about these comparisons. i was deeply involved in poland's transition.
this was a very near run thing and the politics nearly fractured, even with the strength of the solidarity coalition. i noticed at the end of your paper and in the book, you note that the u.s. probably did miss a chance to save gorbachev and democracy. but then you use this margaret thatcher quote to set up what might have been paired from a practical policymakers perspective, i would suggest that margaret thatcher might have made that time more effectively focusing on britain's relationship with europe, which was also going to be a question that was posed by the 1989-1990 issue. and we see prince failure to deal with that. it is an issue where one has to weigh as a policymakers the dream in the hope that the the dream in the hope that the united states can transform russia and save democracy. it's
a nice thought, but at least as putin has clearly chosen a different path. my sense is that, at first, putin was willing to negotiate a convergence. now i think his preference is to have a policy driven by the idea of russia being a great power with a sphere of influence and multi-power order. he will try to subvert western democracy. the phrase i use for him is a ruthless pragmatist. on the ruthless, he has a different value system that gorbachev or -- than gorbachev or yelchin or the united states. but he will calculate cost. if you come back to the five principles, i would suggest that the u.s. should work from economic strength, including a dynamic,
international economic system. it should work with its allies. it should meet aggression firmly, including a price for subversion. and one issue in recent years -- don't diminish or insult russia. russia will be a player in the system regardless, remain open to opportunities, i think arnie mentioned this, keep in mind, we tend to look at these trends as a movement overtime. history tends to be marked by discontinuous events. when -- with russia, i the important -- i think the important thing is to recognize russia will continue to change. that change is associated with transitions. russia's governance hasn't mastered transitions very well. that may be an area of opportunity as we go forward. [applause] >> thank you, bob.
i will take advantage of a brief opportunity to comment on bill's argument. and director, it is -- and directly it is also a comment on reagan. you have to ask yourself what is the substance of the agenda? bill makes a comment -- we were really hoping bush would pick up where ronald reagan left off. when you go through the list of things that the bush administration does, winds up the issues with central america and gets the process of diplomacy going there. cfe, short range nuclear forces, attitude toward the european community, vision of a europe in whole and free. first offer of u.s. assistance across the iron curtain since the marshall plan in 1947, at a
-- and a speech on u.s.-soviet relations the promises to go beyond containment and advise -- and invites an agreement agreement on transparency in -- agreement on transparency in both of our countries. that's may.one by it gets going in the third week of march, after condi and diane bob blackwell are basically figuring out how to get our office badges. we are six weeks to seven weeks in. recite all that and then folks come back and say sounds like a pause to me. my reaction is this is a tough , crowd. but i listen very carefully. i hear what bill is saying. and the sensibility bill is reflecting is a real sensibility. you have to take account of that. there's something about a personal dynamic that is your and for in
-- your and for -- yearned for in an over personalization of the relationship that substantively is chimerical. of the things i just listed, none of them, not one was on the agenda that we inherited from the reagan administration, including the cfe move. the reagan administration was not in any way moving toward soviet -- towards giving into soviet proposals to get cfe to work. which i can detail. well let's wrap up the start agreement in 1989, which reagan could not wrap up at the end of 1988. it turned up to be really hard for reasons on both sides. it could not be done until late 1991. start, that's it. that's what helps gorbachev survive, getting a start agreement? the cfe from a cost perspective, the conventional forces are more
expensive than the soviet for -- nuclear forces. turns out that is politically destabilizing the soviet union. the way bill put it, "help gorbachev change this country and close out the cold war." so then you ask -- take that and break that into part. what would -- into two parts. what would have been the agenda to help gorbachev change his country in eight best 1989. -- 1989? i was privy to the contents of meeting, letter, and phone call between thatcher.
that when mikael gorbachev was the toast of the world and george h.w. bush was a question mark, was the u.s. -- was it obvious the u.s. was in a position to offer plans to macau gorbachev on how to remake his country. maybe there is something that should have been proposed, should have been done, should have been discussed. but actually thinking through what that was and what the soviets wished specifically, it is not an easy question to answer in 1989. the second half of that close out the cold war is really interesting. margaret thatcher thought -- the cold war had been closed out. said publicly in november 1988, the cold war is over. george schultz agreed with.
her. divided, germany the most militarized piece of real estate on planet earth, yet the cold war is over. because we stood up to them in the test of strength. let's put a bow on it and say cold war over. then the issue is, if you have a different vision of how to end the cold war, that is a policy toward europe that circles back to bob zoellick's shrewd observation. which is that there is a tendency in people who focus on u.s.-russian relations to treat the rest of europe in between as instrumental to the achievement of u.s. russian happiness. as you can tell from what bob says and my views, we did not think of europe as instrumental. in fact, europe was the central focus of where you would go
about ending the cold war and your policies towards that. that is more of a comment than a question. but the comment that does signal -- the question it leads to that is relevant today is notice it raises the issue of how do you define the end of the cold war concretely? and carry the to the present day. how best that to the present day. -- that to the present day. if you want to relax tensions what would that mean , substantively to attain your objective? what would success look like? for reagan in 1986, he doesn't abolish nuclear weapons. what does success look like for margaret thatcher in 1988? and then forward to pose that question in the present day? i need to give james and go a -- and bill a chance to answer that before we throw this open
to the audience. >> i do for my time to bill. efer -- defer my time to bill. [applause] i guess i could say when it came to soviet american relationships, it wasn't a matter of checking all the boxes, it was the overall atmosphere, the sense he had in washington a partner. that's what he was trying to create. he thought he was creating it. you may say that what is said in in his memoirs is not decisive. the notion that gorbachev is more dangerous than his predecessors and is smothering us with kindness doesn't sound like the end of the cold war to
me. >> he is personally ambivalent. and uncertain as to how to read this and is uncertain whether to say it is all done, we are all set, this is good. he is suspicious. i understand that. i guess what gorbachev would have liked what has been a summit sooner than december 1989. he expected one sooner. reagan had one in december 1987, june 88 and june and december of -- and december of 1988. that's what a partnership looks like, even apart from the specifics you accomplish. in that sense, the start always loomed very large in a way your comment or bob's, that we don't pay enough attention to cfe and conventional weapons, only
underlines that is not the way we operate. we only pay attention to the strategic nuclear weapons. i think if they -- i think a start agreement, if it had reached this in 1989, it been would have been very big. james and i taught that the -- talked about the obstacles on both sides. i am not in a third. i concede it was difficult. again, leaving aside what better did or did not do what she is , saying, that is the big point. that's the point of my presentation. this guy was exceptional. this guy broke with stalin, khrushchev, everybody. this guy was ready for a transformed world beyond the cold war. against the background of that possibility, which we also have to worry about is being able to sustain at home, but against the possibility of that kind of stunning move
forward in the world, which may be yeltsin was also pushing for, but even if he was, it is a few short years, against the possibility of that kind of outcome, i think central america pales. some of the other things, relations with allies that shaky or fragile, that repairing them had to be put ahead of the possibility of this outcome.maybe i'm a romantic , a fantasist along with gorbachev and reagan, but i just wonder whether we couldn't have done more. >> i think that is an eloquent statement of the other side of the case. there is a bit of a lesson of historical methods. bill points out the gates scowcroft.d this is where written sources,
it is a challenge for historians. as i told you separately, baker had to crush gaetz a couple of times. but that tells you something. he -- gates wanted to give a speech that pointed out the cautionary stuff, and baker first watered it down, and then said he didn't want the speech delivered at all. brent by nature was cautious on this, but i remember many times were baker would come back and say "these guys just don't know what my friend wants," referring to the president. his friend bush. his meaning is that president bush was a very competitive man. he's a gentleman, but he is extremely competitive. he did not want to be seen as standing on the sidelines while gorbachev was framing the global context. when
you ask, is europe important?it comes down -- there was a view in the schulz state department, roz ridgeway, he decided europe -- a divided europe was fine. the bush administration really did feel, and i can give you an example in february 1980 9 -- we -- 89. we were thinking about german reunification at the star. you -- start of 89. you could see the forces breaking into it. frankly, if you are concerned about the german question, how germany gets unified with a stable security order you do have to , pay attention to europe. remember, when that moment struck, germany did not have many friends in europe other -- europe. audience, first, matt, then eris. matt? >>i wonder if you could speak of it to the opportunities
-- speak a bit too the opportunities available in the late 1980's and early 1990's for cooperation and partnership. and thinking in for moments of crisis, or anything else, but this is a time of immense change, and there were possibilities open that i don't think where imaginable before. i'm wondering if you could talk a bit too these opportunities, lost or otherwise, and what that means for both the handling of the u.s.-soviet relationship at the time, and also for today. >>i think that's what we were talking about. in a sense. i'm not sure what i would add. , i think there was a chance to do more, although i understand that a lot was already done and there were obstacles to doing more. it may be that this was a situation
in which there was no way to go where, in an ideal world, we would have gone. >> [indiscernible] [inaudible] -- the gulf war, or the crisis at the time, when they could have partnered with the soviets. >> this is always one of the challenges. we know how it turned out. in some ways, this supports some of bills caution here. i have a hard time explaining to people who didn't grow up in the cold war the fear and anxiety of the soviet union. that's why i try and make references to 1956 in 1958. i -- and 68. i think probably for the people of professional age in 1985, if you had asked them, do you
expect the soviet union will withdraw from eastern europe or break off? you would not have found one hand. this goes to the point about discontinuous events. part of it was, i guess we have one of the differences, i think policymakers have to think in probabilistic terms. they have to be open to the opportunities to support and help and encourage, but they have to prepare against downside risk. the reason i used cinnamon -- tiananmen square, that was a example of we got things were -- thought things were going one way in china, then boom. it's the same year. the reality is -- -- the anxiety that there would be a reversal was high. if you read about those debates in 1987 and 1988, they weren't all in agreement.
element theother , thought of, is gorbachev really just trying to remake the soviet union into a stronger opponent, or is he trying to make it into something different? i think in your paper, is he trying to make communism work? you can see gorbachev struggling with it. my view of gorbachev he's a combination of heroic and tragic figure. he knows he wants a -- to change. but at least from what i observed, he didn't really know what he wanted. he launched some process of change, but it wasn't clear where it was going to end up. if you are representing the united states, you can't just say, this is a wonderful dream, we will give up this, nato, so on. you have to be prepared for different eventualities. i feel, one of the interesting questions
will be, what else could have been done on the economic side? i discussed it a little bit with phil, just to give you a personal sense, i was early in the process starting to look at the nature of the servient economy -- soviet economy. i got to know some of the reform figures and so forth, but this is one of the stories about u.s. bureaucracy. i was at the state department. once this became a topic, the treasury department started to move in. then david wanted to focus on the debt renegotiation. i was trying to work with some of the reformers to try and deal with much broader push and -- rotter -- broader questions of structural reform. anyway, this story transitions probably to the next panel, because as i
said, i still believe the nature of the structural reforms in the soviet union were a huge challenge. i still wouldn't know today exactly what one should do. in fact, you made this point, and it may be right. soviet reformers were looking more for a pinochet model. they probably would have had a better model from china or chile than gorbachev's democratization. this is going to be so structurally difficult that it on top of that you open up the political system it's never going to work. to come back to the realm of possibilities, i think at least bush and baker were partly of the view to say this is a historic moment. we want to maintain or keep up the momentum as much as we can. we need to harvest the benefits. then, we also have to be prepared for some of the
downsides. you asked about the gulf war. that was a story -- many people are probably aware in this room, dennis ross and i -- baker was in mongolia dennis , ross and i were in moscow. we arranged for baker to come back and have a statement at the airport about the soviet union and the u.s. standing up against saddam hussein's aggression. what i learned subsequently was that he never got approval from that statement, at least so far. that shows the players and that gorbachev was kind of hesitating. going back to phil's question, that's when baker says says the cold war and -- end s. i would go earlier. i would go back to when germany is sort of unified. it is telling that for george schultz -- and margaret
thatcher, saying she liked germany so much she wanted to of -- wanted two of them she did , not like that stuff. and today, the reason she valued the gorbachev relationship so much, she did not want german reunification to get in the way. >> we are running out of time. i want to get a question in. answer that and then we are done. >> first of all, thank you. my question is more about things you haven't talked about. it did occur to me that much of the conversation, to the extent that went beyond the soviet union and the united states to what extent , did it have an influence on the trajectory you are describing? there are two things that occurred to me. there may be other things you would want to put on the table.the things that occurred to me, the
invasion of afghanistan, which is ongoing, and then the death of mao zedong and reforms in china, which i'm wondering to what extent it is shaping gorbachev's thinking. >>very quickly, to the one thing i detect from the reagan administration, which i don't think i really appreciated before, in the early 1980's, this fear that the iranian revolution would become a temporary thing, that it would fall apart and there would be a vacuum of power that would be very inviting to the soviets. that fear dissipates over the course of the decade, but i have been kind of struck by early on that sense of the reagan nsc. you have to think about the presidency in terms of what
ultimately brings it to its knees in terms of iran contra. there were some people who had the sense that he needed to do a kissinger to china, and i think john poindexter, in the summer of 1985 probably regrets not turning off connection to his home email. that may have -- >> can i pull a senatorial trick and yield my time? i will give you my answer later on china. >> turn your question into a comment. then close it back. >>two very quick questions to bob. in 1991, was it, not a policy, but a feeling of preference to eastern europe? was it like eastern europe first? when you read the
discussions, internal deliberations, before the london g-7 meeting, before gorbachev came, the u.s. position is to crack down on western europeans who want to reach channel -- re-channel western aid to the soviet union, but president bush says we have to help eastern europe first. you touched on that. is it too far if we call it eastern europe first and soviet union second? and phil, do you think gorbachev understood in 1991 that he would never get that much aid, and why -- massive western aid, and why he continued to behave as if he was? >> did he understand in 1991 that he was not going to get massive western aid? >> and if he did not, why do
they keep acting like he did? >>i guess he understood after a while he wasn't going to get it. it took a great deal of determination and courage to ask for it in the first place. initially, i think it was other people around him who made numbers. gorbachev always put it more generally, if you spend x billion dollars in the gulf war, can't you spare anything to change the soviet union in this crucial way? that was his way of asking for it, but i think he understood. he didn't always behave in a way to make it more likely. his response to the yes send prima cough -- he undermined himself in that way and other ways, too. >>as for your question about eastern europe, the best way to answer it is we didn't see
didn't -- didn't see europe in categories or boxes. it was the whole region, through the soviet union. phil and i keep emphasizing that in some ways since germany worked out ok, we don't see it as a big problem. but we realize in history, it was a german question as much as a russian question. within eastern europe, that related to germany. they are as anxious about germany as they are about russia and the soviet union. i don't recall the particular facts you mentioned about supporting eastern europe as opposed to the soviet union. the reality was, in the u.s., and whether you think this is too narrow of a vision -- remember, bush did a budget deal that at that time was only the big -- we thought was a big deficit. it ended up costing him
reelection. the idea was, in the case of german reunification, we are willing to help, but we did not feel we should pay for it. we were very supportive of the germans paying for it, and in the gulf war, baker gets the saudi's to give additional contributions. there were not small sums of money put in by the imf and world bank. i continue to believe that money alone, unless you get the fundamentals right, will not solve the problem. again, i very much hoped there would be structural reforms, but as bill said here, we worked with others, then they sent another, and we walked away, so there was never really a good plan we felt we could invest in. one last point, i will switch it to today. china. this is a question for all you russian specialists in the room. i still don't quite
grasp why vladimir putin seems more worried about nato and poland and the politics and the -- baltics and the u.s. then he is about china and the area to his south. we can talk about the history of russia and so on, but at some point, somebody has to recognize, do you really think poland and germany and the u.s. are a threat to russia, or do you think that maybe some other regions might cause greater anxiety? >> they did talk about that. [laughter] >> just what you said. >> lets thank the panel for their hard work. [applause]
the mayor not elected by the majority of the council, but by the -- but to be the authoritarian leader of the city to be elected by the people at large, all of the people. out, and i pointed know john spoke about it as well . what john might not have told you is, not a single political leaders supported the movement. not one. , no.rusade for voters the naacp, no. the elected leadership, down. nobody anywhere supported it. when we asked the city council
would you at least put the measure on the ballots so that the people can decide, whether they wanted or not, would you allow the people to vote on it? they did not do that. tim kaine was the mayor of the city. i said, tim, can you work something out to at least put it on the ballot to people can decide it. he said i can only get four votes, not five, majority to do it. what we had to do was go out and get the people to sign the petition. if you get the percentage of numbers of people to sign the petition, then it can go on the ballot. we were able to get about 15,000 signatures to put it on the ballot. even though the entire
leadership was against it, the people voted 80%, 80% of the people said they wanted a change. 2003.as in if 80% of the people felt that way then, that sent a message to me. that says that leadership is totally out of touch with the people. it doesn't have anything to do with me, it has to do with the message that is resonating. thatpeople did not believe the leadership was doing the job for us. >> you can watch the entire lecture with that was wilder at virginia commonwealth university tonight at 8:00 and midnight eastern on lectures in history. only on american history tv on c-span3. next on lectures and history,
university of north carolina chapel hill professor teaches a class all the history and intellectual underpinnings of protestant fundamentalism in 20th century america. 1925 scopesith a monkey trial which pitted the teaching of evolution versus creationism in public school and gained national attention. later, she delves into the origins and growth of pentecostalism which strives for a personal connection with the divine and includes faith healing and speaking in tongues. her class is a little over an hour. >> all right, let's begin. my name is molly were than. we're at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. the lecture is on the history of american fund -- fundamentalism and pentecostalism. i will try to answer three questions. at