tv Discussion on Fall of the Berlin Walls 30th Anniversary CSPAN November 7, 2019 3:32am-5:41am EST
live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up, the impeachment the firstext week public hearings. the heritage foundation deputy director will join to talk about the u.s. effort to leave the paris climate agreement. join the discussion. november 9 is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. next, we hear from former secretary of state james baker and tom brokaw, the nbc news anchor who reported from berlin at the time. other speakers include the former speechwriter for reagan, who talked about the internal debate about adding the famous "mr. gorbachev, tear down that wall" line to the speech.
ladies and gentlemen, please stanme former news anchor donaldson. >> welcome to this morning's . there are dates all of us have that are very personal, and dates that we have is a country that we all share. 7,my lifetime, december 1941. 3.vember 22, 196 9/11. all terrible dates for the country. and november 8, 1980 nine, good news, the fall of the berlin wall presaging the end of the soviet union. a subject we will discuss today, how did it happen?
what were the consequences? who did this? who knew? for a look at what is in store for us, it is a pleasure to welcome andrew card, who served in three administrations with ronald reagan as deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs, with george herbert walker bush the treasury, not the secretary of the treasury, secretary of transportation, and houseeorge w. bush white chief of staff. card. andrew: thank you very much. i wanted to be here. very grateful for georgetown university and the school of foreign service for helping to host,, the atlantic council,, and grateful for the reagan foundation and their institute for helping to host the event. we have many people here who should be introduced, and i am not going to ask everyone to stand who is important.
and i am not going to ask everyone to sit who is important, so other more important people can stand. [laughter] i'm here to say that we're proud to have dorothy bush, the president's daughter. [applause] nelly solsa, his granddaughter. [applause] we also have folks from the atlantic council here, . [applause] robinson is here from the barbara bush literacy foundation. [applause] we also have the e.u. deputy head of delegation here. [applause] of, the german deputy chief
missions is here. [applause] this is a remarkable day, because we are remembering a truly remarkable event. i'm about to introduce someone who i have the greatest respect for. know threei absolutes about the speaker i will introduce. changedthe world profoundly when he was secretary of state under president george h w bush. d, freedom and democracy sprea the cold war ended peacefully. germany was reunited as a member of the north atlantic treaty organization, and the soviet union imploded. at the same time, today's speaker assembled the international coalition that ejected saddam hussein's troops
from kuwait, orchestrated the madrid conference where israel and all its arab neighbors discussed peace for the first arms and negotiated reduction treaties with the soviet union and then russia. all that happened after he served president ronald reagan, as one of our nation's best secretaries of the treasury, and before that white house chief of which he'ssition in still considered to be the gold standard. reciting his many achievements could take a long time, but i am mindful of the speaker's second absolute. he always asks his introductions which leads met, to the third absolute. when this gentleman asks you to do something, it is best that you do it. i was honored to be asked by him to do something, and served president ronald reagan.
it brought me to washington, d.c. so i am proud and honored to introduce a great american, one of america's most remarkable -- and iandi'd like would like you to welcome the 61st secretary of state, the honorable james a. baker iii. rep. gabbard: thank you -- james: thank you, ladies and gentlemen, very much. thank you, andy, for that over-the-top introduction. thank you as well, andy, for your many contributions to the nation. you have been an exemplary public servant, and the country appreciates it. firste to the
collaboration between institutions i greatly admire for their excellence in preserving the past and advancing public policy. the george george and barbara bush foundation, the ronald reagan foundation, the atlantic council and georgetown university all represent the very best in their respective fields. i'm confident that today's lessons from the fall of the berlin wall will be an informative and useful examination of an historic event that led to the peaceful conclusion of the cold war. what happened three decades ago this week fundamentally changed the world. i'm asked which american president was responsible for the end of the cold war, i typically have replied that it was all of those american presidents. democrats and republicans alike, from harry truman through george h w bush. each of them was firmly
committed to a free, undivided europe. but as someone who served in one capacity or another for four of those presidents, i hope you can understand why today i want to add that some cold war presidents were more directly involved in others. ronald reagan's soaring rhetoric became etched in the hearts and minds of people around the world who desired freedom. can forget that picture of the gipper at the brandenburg gate when he said, "mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall." so, two years after that historic speech, the wall did come down, on november 9, 1989. as momentous as that occasion was, president bush 41
understood that the soviet union remained a distinct and potent global security threat. eyeer than stick it in the of his soviet counterparts, eschewedt bush i triumphalism in favor of clear eyed diplomacy. as a result, 11 months after the was came down, germany reunited peacefully as a member of the nato, over the objections, i might add, of some of our allies and of course the soviet union. the 45-yearreafter, cold war ended with a whimper rather than the nuclear bang that we had all feared, as the soviet union itself was dissolved. leadersy our nations'
confront their own unique set of international challenges. as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of that berlin wall, i think it is instructive to recall three presidentst both reagan and bush kept in mind as seismic changes were underway in europe and around the world. that, both understood domestic support is critical for the successful implementation, i'd say formulation and implementation, of foreign policy. a foreign policy that does not have domestic political support will not last very long. unless americans back the presidents, their those policies are doomed to wither and eventually fail. presidents reagan and bush both
knew that they would be more successful if they had the broad backing of the american people, and both crafted bipartisan foreign policies accordingly. secondly, international support, of course, is also critical. both president reagan and president bush realized that a large component of american strength was that we were the promoter and champion of a liberal world order that revolved around open markets, multilateral institutions, and liberal democracy. allies mattered. they still do. in those daysana was their northstar. presidentsboth those understood the importance of deft, thoughtful and sustained diplomacy. both developed strong relations
with other foreign leaders, particularly soviet president mikael gorbachev, german chancellor helmut kohl, british prime minister margaret thatcher, canadian prime minister brian mulrooney, and others. those relationships nurtured trust between countries, and helped them reach pragmatic solutions. i the endn, of course, no one individual was responsible for the fall of the berlin wall, and the end of the cold war. every american president since truman played indispensable roles. was thee all else, it the citizensit of of the captive nations that finally tipped the scales toward freedom. the lessons presidents reagan and bush provided during that critical window of history remain as pertinent today as
they were back then, and so as our nation continues to confront the daunting challenges, foreign policies of ronald bushan and george h. w. remain models that all american presidents would do well to follow, as they seek to promote america's interests and values around the world. thank you all very much. [applause] >> thank you, secretary baker. 'm delighted, if you would agree to spend a few more minutes with us. wait for the call. power i never thought i would have with this gentleman. when a good story is there for the telling, sometimes careful
preparation brings it, and other times it happens unexpectedly. the day that ronald reagan gave a humdrum speech at the washington hilton, came out and suddenly was met with a spray of bullets from a man standing 5.5 away from me. to this great story we are revisiting today, there was only one american television journalist on the scene when the berlin wall began to crumble, tom brokaw, the anchor and managing editor of nbc nightly news. he was in berlin on a different assignment, and as he tells it, he fell into one of the biggest stories of the world, which he owned. here's some of brokaw's reporting that night from the berlin wall. night -- tom: it was a night when the world changed
before our eyes. good evening, live from the berlin wall. the berlin wall was part of our lives, such a physically imposing barricade. mores so much uglier, oppressive than people realize from just seeing it on television. when you went to it personally. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall! >> john kennedy had gone there. >> ich bin ein berliner! even with all the turmoil, it seemed unlikely that that wal l, such as solid image of oppression, would come down. then, in a heartbeat, it did. i was the only journalist on the air, the night the berlin wall came down. i owned that story, and that was the end of the soviet empire. and we got lucky. i'd like to tell you that i knew the wall was coming down.
unfortunately, i cannot. i didn't know. but it did come down on my watch, and i will never forget it. east germany remains a country in turmoil tonight. i arrived in berlin two days before the wall came down. in the eastern sector, i was able to get to the east for the first time and do reporting from there. >> you represent the best of east germany. that afternoon, there was the famous news conference in which the propaganda chief stood up. he was handed a slip of paper, and it said all citizens of the gdr can leave and come back through at any of the transit points. i looked at my german national cameraman and said, did he say what we thought? they were astonished. they said, he did. that means you can go out of the wall, and come back anytime you want. the man gets up, and leaves the
room. i went up, and read it back to him. do i understand correctly? ddr can leavehe through any checkpoint they ch oose? >> they are free to go through the border. colleagues and said, it is over, the wall is over. >> we got out to call the office in new york. midday back in the states, making preparations for going on the air that night, and i am frantically trying to get a broadcast put together. i rushed out there. lots of students from the west had come to the top of the wall, and the guards were trying to hose them off, and my heart sank. i made this big deal about the wall coming down, and they are
being cleared off. then people got back on the wall . by the time we went on the air, it was chaos. standby. a historic moment tonight. the berlin wall can no longer contain the east german people. >> nbc nightly news, with tom brokaw. tonight, from west berlin. >> good evening. we had a path on the satellite to get on air, so that night i went on the air, and we did the story. no cbs, abc, a worldwide exclusive. >> what you are watching is a moment that will live forever. the destruction of the berlin wall. we threw out the script. i'd written the whole broadcast and said to the producer, i will have to ad lib. everything here, i will have to draw on all my experience about what's been going on at the eastern border, germany and the soviet union, and how this was a defining moment.
for the first time since the wall was erected in 1951, people can move through freely. i couldn't hear myself think. i went onught, before the air, don't screw this up, this is a big deal. and as we were standing there, somebody said, look, they are taking down the wall. there was a guy with a mallet and a chisel, hammering away at the wall. the wall effectively has come down, and i mean physically as well. taking chunks from the berlin wall. the party at the brandenburg gate went down all night long, as they chipped away at the wall, danced on top of it, drank a lot. s is theought, thi human story. this is the story of humankind. political tyrants can only go so far. at the end, it is how people
respond to captivity, how they get out of it, how they relate to one another. it's a night to remember. >> indeed it is. [applause] of us at nbcse remember it from the standpoint that tom is right. he was there. he did it. when you are confronted with the real deal, just accept it. now, live from berlin, one of america's premier journalists still today, finding stories, tom brokaw! welcome, tom! tom: thank you, sam. thank you, everybody. sam: it was very exuberant. watching that brings back lots of memories, but what do you remember today, 30 years later, about that night at the wall?
and i remember vividly, want to say at the outset, it was a whole nbc theme., our foreign editor suggested i go to berlin. he said i don't know what will happen, there's a lot of activity. i got here, and we were around before 24 hours -- we were around for 20 for hours before that memorable news conference. we had a satellite, a cameraman, the peoplest film of going across the bridge from east germany to west germany. so it was a confluence of all the forces. i remember as though it was yesterday, sam, standing there thinking, my god, this is one of the biggest stories of my lifetime, of the 20th century. we have to get it right. with the help of all my colleagues, i think at the end of the night we did get it right. it was absolutely thrilling, and i remember one of our techies
going over and getting a piece of the wall, chipping it off and giving it to me, and that is in my personal collection. sam: someone you know very well, james a. baker the third, secretary baker is with us. if you come back here, take whatever time you require, sir, and when you are finished with tom i will come back. how are youtom, doing? tom: doing well, james. i have a question to you, before you have a question for me. we later learned that -- iwas was going to say we later learned the politburo had not said they could leave, but were looking at a possibility of a program where they could leave
and not have to come back. a prominent historian at harvard did a whole story, and he left to thes conference, went compound were all the politburo members lived, and they didn't know what was going on. [laughter] my question for you, did we have any indication from espionage people, intelligence people that there was a possibility this was going to happen? sec. baker: the short answer, tommy, no. it came as every bit as much of a surprise to us as it did i think to you. i remember it very well. thes hosting a lunch for president of the philippines at the state department, and an note sayingme a people were allowed free transit and federalddr
republic of germany, and it looked like the wall might be coming down. i raised a toast to that, excused myself and went to the white house to meet with about what our response ought to be. i think history will clearly mark the correctness of george bush's moderated response to what was a cataclysmic event, because he knew that we still had a lot of business to do with gorbachev, and we weren't going to stick it in their eye. the answer to your question, as far as i know, we didn't have any advanced knowledge at all, intelligence or otherwise. the things we learned in my trips back here since then. i spent the day at the stasi headquarters, the infamous group in the eastern part of germany that was arresting citizens left
and right. i saw four miles of files on east german citizens, and finally that oppression, that complete pressure on east german citizens, they could not live their lives as they wanted, it broke through. i thought the wall came down mostly because of our strong stand in the west, but also citizens from the ground up in the east pushing back against their own oppressors. sec. baker: that's absolutely right. i've given a few remarks at this event, in which i said i don't think that any single american president was responsible for the fall of the wall. every one of our american presidents, every administration from harry truman through george w. bush was steadfast -- george inw. bush was steadfast opposing the spread of communism and the imprisonment of the people of the captive nations of eastern europe. i said, and i believe strongly,
as i suspect you do, it was the indomitable spirit of those citizens of captive nations who made possible our victory in the cold war. 30 years later, what are the lessons for modern america and the west, for that matter? sec. baker: one of the lessons, diplomacy works when it is properly exercised. we're here in georgetown, which has an extraordinarily fine school of the promisee and international relations, and i think, last night i went to an event, tom, at the state department, where they have al museum ofa nation american diplomacy. we only have 400 museums that are military in their nature, and there's never been a museum in the united states or an
institution for that matter that celebrates the historic events of american diplomacy through the years, and the state department has now, is now establishing one, and i think that's a very good thing to do. if you look at, w. diplomacy that george h. aftermathued, in the of the stunning victory of the we had the wall, he knew a huge task to perform, to try to reunite germany peacefully as a member of the nato. to continue to try and achieve a peaceful end of the cold war. i think gorbachev will be remembered very well by history
because he after all was the first soviet leader who did not elect to use force to keep the empire together. tom: i could not agree with you more. i did the first interview with ,orbachev, and what i remember they were putting russian equipment on him which was not as sophisticated as ours. i reached over and i said, mr. gorbachev, i have to do this in my job every day, and he looked at me and said, you would not believe what i have to do in my job every day. it was the beginning of a strong relationship. i want to say something about we have beeny, here for a few days. there is turmoil in central europe.
and angela merkel, where do we go from here, the fact of the matter is this country in the last one to 20 years started two world wars and has the holocaust on their conscious, then became partners with the west. where does germany go from here and where does central europe go from here? sec. baker: i think it is extremely important we continue to pursue a policy of anchoring germany firmly into the west. another significant achievement that we talked about last night in terms of diplomatic achievement was to get germany asfied in peace and freedom a member of the nato alliance over the opposition of our allies, the british and french, and the soviet union who were not our allies but steadfast opponents to german unification.
but we got that done. that was done through the ofadfast and strong practice continuing diplomacy. we need to remember that, and we also need to remember in this country how important our alliances are to the strength of america. our alliances enable us to , ourage our leadership world leadership significantly. those alliances are fraying. i had dinner last night next to the ambassador of germany to the united states, and we both bemoaned the fact that the relationship between germany and the united states is not as strong as it was during those days, and at the end of the cold war. and the way we all cooperated to deal with those challenges at that time, we need to do that again today.
i know we do not want to take up all the time, but my , in my fewught is days here already, and this is my third trip back to germany since the wall came down, i am reminded how conscience everyone in this country is about what they went through, whether living in the east or west. they have real difficulties now. the people left in the east are not happy about how they are being treated, but they are trying to work on it. i hope in america younger generations including my children and grandchildren will be more conscious of how we all have a stake in pre serving piece around the world. sec. baker: i could not agree with you more, and that is the challenge facing our policy makers today. i have given a few remarks where those said i thought
would be self-serving, and i apologize for that. we would do well to look at the of ronaldlicies reagan and george h.w. bush, how they were pursued, for belated, and implemented. we are facing similar challenges today. imperative that we recognize the importance of the north atlantic alliance, the importance of american leadership in the world, because that gives us location, it gives the europeans a way to come together, because a lot of those wars started right there in europe. i fear others could happen as well if we do not re-strengthen the north atlantic alliance. it is good to see you, tom. there are a lot of quail in
texas waiting for you to get back. [laughter] tom, just a moment. should you decide to run for the presidency, i think you might have some support. [applause] tom brokaw, my friend, tom. i have prepared a number of top questions, and i know how to do it on you. tom, you will understand when i tell you we did not find more satellite time, it is about to expire. i have to thank you for joining us today. tom: my pleasure and my honor. [laughter] sam: he is a great guy. today among reporters and networks and news gathering
organizations, there is a fraternity were you knew who the good guys were. tom was the best. now i am going to move over to .he chair here to sit james baker said he was 90, i am 86. when you find a chair, never refuse to sit down. joining us now are scholars recognized and are subject today. jeffrey ingle from the southern methodist university. these written 12 books on subjects, including one titled :the fall of the berlin wall the revolutionary legacy of 1989." his latest book is "impeachment in american history." is the policy
fellow at the hoover institution. and the host of hoover's television program, "uncommon knowledge." he was a speechwriter for george h.w. bush and ronald reagan, and author of the book "how reagan changed my life." you will be best known as the person who wrote the speech for president reagan that contained the most famous line ever delivered, standing in front of the berlin wall, and we will get to that. throughout the cold war, berlin was a focus point between united states and soviet union. the948, you may recall soviets under stalin blocked the road access to berlin because it had to come through their zone. situation needed and their left for supplies to the seeds city.
the second berlin crisis began in 1958, soviet leader nikita khrushchev demanded the allied occupation be ended, and berlin became a free city. pick up the story from there. jeffrey: this is where we have to remember germany is at the heart of the cold war. there is an ideological function between communism and capitalism we focus on, but the struggle is who will control the resources of central europe. for nikita khrushchev, he had a problem in a 1950's and 1960's as he tried to consolidate power in germany, the germans kept leaving. they were going to the american zone and not coming back. they were voting with their feet . the decision was made in moscow to erect a wall not to keep .eople out, but keep them in to keep them from leaving. the best and brightest wanted to
find a new life in the west. sam: our intelligence services went into east germany freely, no checkpoint there, and the gdr was upset. jeffrey: the geography was key. because germany was divided up, soviet, american, british and french, and so was berlin, even after consolidation andhe british, american, french zones, we had a section in berlin that was internationally controlled in the heart of the german capital, in east germany. we are hard pressed to find another example of a country that is willing to have another country in charge of its major .apital city for decades on end nikita khrushchev tried time and again to get the americans and their allies to leave. sam: we will come back to the
election of the wall, but i have to jump ahead to the most dramatic period, which we are is celebrating today. ted sorensen wrote for john f. kennedy a famous couple of lines, ask not what your country can do for you. you wrote these powerful lines for ronald reagan, which he delivered in 1987. i was standing in front of the brandenburg gate and the berlin wall. arguably it is his most remembered lines. let's hear some of them now. reagan: general secretary gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the soviet union and eastern europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. mr. gorbachev, open this gate. [cheers]
[applause] gorbachev,ev, mr. tear down this wall. [cheers] [applause] sam: wow. how did you come to write those lines? peter: i went to berlin to do some research about six weeks before the president delivered the speech. senior staff said he will stand here and have an audience of 10,000 to 40,000 people and talk for three minutes to say something about foreign policy. [laughter] day went badly for me, the young speechwriter.
i went to where the president would stand. it is almost impossible to convey now that the wall is gone what it felt like at that place. you look in east berlin, and it was as if the color had been drained from the photograph, gray dilapidated buildings, soldiers marching back and forth . you look in west berlin, color, activity, life. and that dividing line of the wall. i thought, what do i write? what do i give to him for this place? in the evening i broke away from the american party and went to a suburb of west berlin where berliners put on a dinner party for me. i did not know anyone there, but the host and hostess had a mutual friend with me in washington. i explained i had been told that the president should mention the wall, we had gotten used to it. there was a silence. pasought i committed a faux
that the diplomat was afraid the president would commit. one man pointed and said, my sister lives a few kilometers in that direction, how do you think we feel about that wall? they went around the room, each person talking about the wall. they had stopped talking about it but not stop hating it. the hostess, charming to the dinner party now became angry, and said if this man gorbachev is serious with this talk, he can prove it by coming here and getting rid of that wall. that went into my notebook, because i knew the moment i heard that, if president reagan had been there in my place he would either responded to that remark, the power, the decency, the truthfulness. the words onput paper, but that speech belonged to ronald reagan. tory bit of it was trying give him material that fit his beliefs, his mode of expression
for that specific spot in that moment. sam: what you wrote did not his entire foreign-policy establishment. tell us about that. you and he against the world. peter: i took those odds. [laughter] speechwriters poll a little bit of a fast one, ordinarily speeches go to staffing before the president, but in this case we got it to the president on a friday as he was headed to camp david. we met him the following monday and discussed the speech. he said he particularly wanted to deliver the line about tearing down the wall. that wall has to come down. i remember that vividly in the oval office. then the speech went to staff, and in the three weeks before he delivered the speech, the state department, the national security council tried to suppress it.
they submitted -- my journal draftseveral different of eliminating the call to tear down the wall. they thought it created false expectations. howard baker said it sounded unpresidential. the state department was concerned it would put gorbachev on the spot by calling him out personally. this went on and on, and finally kenduberstein -- duberstein set the president down, speaking before going to berlin, and he took the speech back to the president for another decision and talked about the objection. he had the president read the central passage, and then he told me that they talked about it and ronald reagan got that twinkle in his eye and said, i am the president, aren't i, ken ? [laughter]
sir, we are clear about that much. i get to decide if that line stays in? yes, sir. then it stays in. sam: that was ronald reagan. who was right? president reagan or his foreign-policy team. they were both right, but honestly president reagan was less right than the foreign-policy team, because we now know the difficulties gorbachev was facing were primarily from conservative hardline communists who wanted to repeal back perestroika and glasnost. , which no oner were referred to it as the end of the cold war, the danger was not that the soviets would be too friendly, not that gorbachev will tear down the wall, it is that he will tear down the wall and then find himself facing a
coup the next week. anything that was done to encourage opposition to gorbachev to put him on the spot was extraordinarily dangerous. you can see an adjusting difference between the reagan administration and the bush administration. 1989tary baker said in this was not a from a takeover. there was a different mindset because the reagan administration was fundamentally , moral pathhe right of trying to end the soviet union and the cold war, and he did not give a lot of thought to what happened the next day. the bush administration was confronted immediately with the problem of, do we deal with gorbachev, and then what happens next? they had to pick up the pieces of the great moral clarity that reagan offered. sam: when ronald reagan was not president, and he said about the communist state was interesting,
when he became president that was important to get his view as president. in his first press conference, i asked if he got the soviet union was interested in detente, or by some other means world domination. out it came, they lie, they steal, they cheat, they commit any crime. the boys in moscow must have loved that. jeffrey: they were terrified. this is something we know, we have the documentation. the great thing about a state collapses you have the records. in 1983, there was a series of events where policymakers heard ronald reagan, heard him talk about a crusade of fire, heard him talk about purging the world of communism, and talk about the communist state as an evil empire, and we are genuinely worried he meant what he said. if you took the president at his word, it is hard to imagine these days, the presidential words matter.
if you take the president at his word, if you are in moscow, you are very scared. has itscademic approach place, but if i may say so, you are worrying about something that worked in practice, wondering if it could work in theory. it worked out. [applause] jeffrey: that is true. peter: you cannot argue with that at the end. jeffrey: no i cannot, this is a fundamental problem about how we teach history. just because something work out well does not mean it was destined to work out well. sam: but it does mean it did work out well. i was told the day after that press conference that the president said to the national security advisor, the soviets do lie, cheat, and steal, don't they? he was told, of course they do.
the president said, all right. sam: you have two views here. asking a question what reagan might have done in 1961, tough guy, meant what he said, and called it like he saw it. when that wall was being erected, some people thought that john kennedy should move aggressively to stop it. he had the legal authority, but beyond that if the soviets could get away with that, what couldn't they get away with? he had been to vienna, and after that meeting with nikita , he savagedaying me. he took me. -- with reagan, in 1961, no wall, and i have the force to stop it. peter: i believe reagan would have done what john f. kennedy did.
you pursue the policy of containment. you draw lines. as john kennedy said during the berlin wall crisis, we have the legal authority to take the wall down, but suppose they put it up again six inches inside their borders? containment was pushing back against the soviets, but not creating a general war. reagan, we look back over eight years, there was one momentary engagement in grenada. he was very cautious. aggressive,rically morally aggressive, but very cautious on the ground. i believe different parties say that he didng about not leave the democratic party, the democratic party left him. reagan supported harry truman in 1948. he had great admiration for fdr and john f. kennedy. they had pursued similar
policies. of time,re running out i want you to talk about what i mentioned. when kennedy met khrushchev, khrushchev got the better of him by his own admission. what was the result of that? peter: khrushchev felt he had the ability to put nuclear weapons into cuba. we do not get cuban missile crisis without john kennedy doing poorly by his own admission in vienna. by the same token, if we say reagan pursuing kennedy's policy of containment, i would argue that is what you do not do in 1987, because reagan calling out the soviet union to collapse, great mind, and something that wonderful,ional he suggested the united states had the power to make it happen. unionanges in the soviet
-- peter: by that point, he felt he had dealt with gorbachev. sam: i am going to extend this a sittle bit because what happen d as a result of the fact that the berlin wall did come down? it looked like democracy was on the rise. tankshev still had soviet . until that moment, every time there were these uprisings in eastern europe, those tanks rumbled. why didn't they rumbled his time? gorbachev wasse able to stay in power. if he had been removed by the hardliners, the coup in 1991 was a coup that was predicted by the
american intelligence services for president bush the first week he was in office. he got the same memo every week, that if you push too hard and try to get the only person in the world who can keep reform going, if you put him in a hotspot and give aid to his enemies, that is going to undo everything you might hope to do. we have to remember the bush and reagan administrations were not clear that gorbachev was a true reformer. they knew there were people worse waiting to get in line after him. you asked the question of questions, which is why didn't the soviets role in with their tanks -- roll in with their tanks? question,rbachev that and he said you must understand that ronald reagan and i shared the same christian ethics.
i am a good communist, but fundamentally we shared christian ethics. i simply was not going to open fire on innocent human beings. that is the ultimate failure of the soviet project. they had not created a new , gorbachev was an old russian formed by the judeo christian angle of life. sam: thank you so much. i wish you had more time to be with us today. [applause] heard, and idy think it is true that the leaders of the free world had no idea that day that the wall would come down. george h.w. bush and margaret thatcher and even mikhail garbage of. .hat happened -- gorbachev , georgenumber 41
and we need to move forward now. built in 1951 will have little relevance. it is a good development in terms of human rights, and i i am pleased with this development. >> [indiscernible] president bush: we have such a close relationship with the , i'm certainnment we would give it serious consideration. i do not know what they had in but with truly open borders it is hard to predict how many will be trying to leave. it is a dynamic development, and we have to wait and see.
our objective is that europe is whole and free. gorbachev talks about a common home. is it a step towards that? probably so. >> you do not seem elated. bush: i am very pleased. i am pleased with other development. partnk the united states of this, which is not related to this development today, is being handled in a proper fashion. we will have some who suggest more flamboyant actions for this country, and i think it is being handled properly with allies,
and this dynamic change, right to help as developments take place, try to enhance reforms. the fact that i am not bubbling is getting along towards evening, because i feel good about it. >> [indiscernible] president bush: a common european home. free.d a europe whole and when we see citizens wanting to go and flee an oppressive society, clearly that is a message that mr. gorbachev can understand.
not only in eastern europe but the soviet union. we will be discussing rapid change in eastern europe. we have been talking about that before you wall came in here. we have been talking about the gorbachev meeting. we are determined that we will discuss. today, aing us distinct us panel to talk about that day in washington, beginning with that gentleman you spotted at the end of the video standing against the wall behind secretary baker as president bush talks. --tin fitzwater, right here [applause] he served ronald reagan and george h.w. bush, one of the most beloved press secretaries of our country.
he knew how to handle the press. books abouten four his experiences in the white house. " bush and reagan." reporters on that who went down to the white house press room with six presidents, and was there full-time for three of them, ronald reagan, george herbert walker bush, and bill clinton. reporting from the reuters group. peter, was with mutual radio and went on to a 20 year career with cbs news. peter has covered every president from jimmy carter to barack obama. welcome to both of you. [applause]
marlin, it was like a bombshell. you did not know, president bush did not know, how did he get the news? marlin: can i use the podium? sam: you may. i will stand in back. it is not "dancing with the stars." [laughter] sam and the group for having me here to go through this. they asked me to go through the about thes afternoon, fall of the wall. i want to present this brief narrative. first of all, i want to thank the panel before us who filled us in on the events before the wall came down. that gave us a good background
to consider what happened during that afternoon. inside the white house there were no sirens or announcements of change, except for the relentless ticking of the wire service machines that they maintained in the national security council room. the nsc staff got first notice of everything, and they reported that reuters had a story coming ,ut from berlin about the wall and they delivered a copy to my deputy, and he came rushing into my office and said, we have this story, you better take a look at it. course, andately of the national security council staff had stamped confidential on the top of it. i said, how can this be?
this is a newswire from reuters that has gone to every radio station a newspaper in the world . only in america would be stamp that confidential. in any case, i said immediately, i am going to the oval office. i took it into to talk to the president. the secretary assured me in and said he is in the study which is off the oval. i went through and back to the study. he was working at a desk there. i handed him the wire service story without comment. ,e read it, started reading it and the reaction was very pensive. he wanted to take it all in. this was a busy day for him in the white house, because we were
having a state visit from from thequino philippines. he had done the speech and had a meeting with her and her team. he was preparing for another afternoon of meetings and a state dinner that night. this took everybody by surprise, was going to reschedule many things during the day. the first thing he did, he looked up after he read the article and said, i need general gates, thend bob deputy national security advisor, and the secretary baker. all three were called and came over to the office immediately. of us were there talking about it, and the president turned on his television. he could see cnn was reporting the story. this was still embryonic, and
thee was some chipping at wall. a fellow with a hammer and chisel was working, but beyond that it was not clear they would be able to take down the entire edifice. there, it waswas on cnn, it was the cable news network. , the president was starting to ask questions from secretary baker and the others about what they knew about it, what happened and so forth. i must say at that point i from a reporter who covered the 1988 campaign of president bush, and he wrote a great book called "what it takes," a profile of the candidates. he described president bush as a thoughtful guy, and when he met
an uncomfortable situation he was not uncertain about, he had a tendency to slumped down in his chair. i have seen that phenomenon a number of times with president bush. i noticed he was on his way down. [laughter] he was leaning back, going down. i suggested we put out a statement. the press was all over us upstairs and excited about this. i thought he needed some statement to give context to this for the american people. he said, i am not going to give a press conference. he said, furthermore the mother will not be any dancing on the wall. -- furthermore, there will not be any dancing on the wall. he did think about it some more and said, i agree we will do something. i want to do it informally. i said, let's just bring the
pool, bring them into the oval, you can sit at your desk, which is the greatest symbol of authority that america has, and talk to them then about it. then decide what you want to say. totook a little time concernedhe said i am about the reaction of the soviet union. we do not know what it is going to be. we do not know whether they will react against this militarily, or exactly what they will have to say. secondly, we have the future to think about, german reunification and the status of the captive nations, and what happened to the soviet bloc countries. there is a lot of future to work .ut with president gorbachev all of that took place in about
30 minutes. we brought in the pool. the president said, when do you want to do this? i said anytime before 6:00, you can get on the evening news at that hour. he said, let's do it now, which is typical of president bush. when he first hired me, he said, i will run a different type of press operation. i want to go into the briefing room any time of day or night and talk to the press if necessary. i said, right on, good for me. said, i will do the first one, that he never did it again. this was in the mold of the way he liked to pursue issues with the press. when the president came in, he made the statement where he said this is a good development, but
it was a measured statement, and everyone could tell it was. the first question was about what the president expected. then there were a lot of the coming down of the iron curtain and the future of the warsaw pact. question number seven came from leslie stahl, the cbs news correspondent in the pool. usually about 15 people were there. 's cameras covered it. leslie was a sign that day, and of a greatis is part victory for our side in the east-west battle, but you do not
seem elated. the office had told her about the excitement going on in the country and that congressman theardt was saying president should be celebrity this, and leader michel suggested the president should be going to berlin to join in the celebration over there. she was prepared to follow up with a question that more or less came out of her discussion. why president bush did that -- but i want to turn right now -- hold everything. what do you think of leslie's question in bush's reaction? >> i was in the press from listening to the audio feed trying to compose a story, breaking news story about the president's reaction. it was difficult to do because
there were no declarations or dramatic quotes. people in the news business like a headline regardless of the consequences. secretary baker said the president would not stick it in therir eye. go to the rose garden and do cartwheels celebrating this -- terrible domestic politics from orbit child who might have been under pressure to roll tanks. >> i was on the pool that day and on the floor with a microphone. i was fortunate to have a number of visits with president bush thanks to gene, who helped clear the way for that. we chatted in his office in houston and at the apartment over the library. we chatted at kennebunkport. and our final visit months
before we sadly said goodbye to chatwe had a poignant about this, partially about this in his office. i always wanted to tell him how and disappointed as we left the oval office that day . i told him that i was disappointed that day, and i have to admit it. he said, why? i said, because we are looking for that quote, that soundbite that will make the story in print or on the air, and i sense this will be my last chance to talk to him about that. i also told him, before a returned to my office in the basement of the white house, that i realized exactly what it was that he was trying not to do, antagonize the soviet union and make things difficult for
gorbachev. gene: this was the beginning of the end of the soviet union, and president george herbert walker bush does not get enough credit. this was the disintegration for the first time in history that a great empire does in a graded without bloodshed. his subdued reaction that day has a lot to do with how it turned out. peter: he was the man for the moment, and i do not know how many times we heard him say, my mother told me do not be a braggadocio. that was the last thing he wanted to be, a braggadocio. secretary baker said that his funeral, i wrote it down when we were at the national cathedral, he said president bush understood humility toward, not humiliation of a fallen adversary is the best path. [applause] i am coming back to you for
the last word, but i have to say you have been around a long time. even before you got to the white house, you knew how to handle things. the president might have been s whenhe cock that crow the sun comes up, we may have seen that, but the point is, were you afraid that the low-key -- for all of the reasons -- might not do him that much good with the reelection campaign someday? saidn: what he actually is, i am not an emotional kind of guy. that is what the news carried. sometimes it is the accidental question that is the best. and the best of answers, and this is kind of a personal question, and making all the
news served to emphasize the attitude that he wanted to take, and he did not want to poke gorbachev in the eye. later, actually three weeks later we were in malta with his first meeting with gorbachev following all of this, and the first thing which all not was thank you for dancing on the walls. he was right in anticipating how the soviets would react. president was asked at that time if he could give the first leadoff presentation in malta because he was not sure how gorbachev was reacting to the wall and the events of the day, and he wanted to be sure before they start of these meetings, gorbachev heard what the united tion was going to
be. he wanted to present a 17 point program of economic health that the united states would give the soviet union to bring them into the world economy. sam: i have to stop you because the clock tells me time is expiring. --lin: just one sam: i would never stand in your way. this is what we had to do every day, can you believe it? marlin: i just wanted to say gorbachev's response at the end of bush's presentation was to look at the floor, hush the audience, the president in the eye and say, that is exactly what i wanted to hear. from there on, there was a east-westhange in the relations that we can talk about later. sam: thank you marlin, peter and gene.
i wish we had all day. i would like to have heard about the malta meeting and the hurricane in the mediterranean. when i have the pleasure to speak to journalism students, who was your favorite press secretary, here he is, the gold standard for press secretaries. [applause] agrees, and ite is easy to watch him at the podium to make him term red, i will try. there are two types of secretaries, there are those who are mouthpieces who are handed scripts, and there are those press secretaries who we knew, were trusted communications advisers who had access to the hadidents, and this man both. he was a key medications advisor and a trusted advisor to president bush, and we knew at the end of the day you would be
going up stairs or into the oval office and consulting. sam: i want to add because i think we all agree, marlin dodged and waved and smiled and served his presidents well, but never lied. press secretaries must not live. when they lie, they betray us all, and this man never did. tell us about your book. you put him on the podium and you cannot stop him. sam: read his book. sam gave me the opportunity to promote it, it is called "calm before the storm," a series of vignettes about the white house. sam has been kind enough to give me a blurb on the back of the book. it focuses on the president and desert storm.
it also has this soliloquy about president,elling the asking him about capitalism and democracy and how it works. was on thed that, it helicopter coming back from camp david, and he said, how do you buy a house? how do your banks were? what does the realtor do? that is when we knew he was interested in a different kind of system for the soviet union. sam: thank you very much, marlin. [applause] , we all got family along even though we savaged each other every day in the press room. now it is time to turn to the expertise of one of the world leading international affairs schools, and one of her cosponsors of this morning's program. they provided a wonderful hall for the event. the school of foreign service
here at georgetown university is celebrating its centennial, and joele school's dean, dr. hellman, the program is yours, sir. [applause] dr. hellman: thank you very much, sam. let me welcome you on this beautiful glorious and important day on behalf of georgetown university and our bmw center for european studies, and let me thank our sponsors for this event, the georgia barbara bush foundation, the reagan institute. history is punctuated by critical moments. possibilities for fundamental change in the world order, and at these critical moments, the importance of leadership, diplomacy, intelligence, careful analysis become essential to shaping
outcomes. these of the moments that are the essence of what we do here at the school of foreign service, and what we have been doing for a hundred years, the oldest school of foreign service international affairs in the united states. it is in that spirit i am excited we have had a chance to look into the history of such a critical moment, and now we have a chance to give it on the pivot,t -- a chance to where has the fall of the berlin wall left us? i am pleased to have a wonderful panel of experts to talk through some of those thorny issues. , a career foreign service officer who held key positions at the u.s. embassy in moscow and handling soviet affairs at the pentagon during the time of the fall of the
berlin wall. he went on to ambassadorships in turkey and finland and eventually became the undersecretary of defense. welcome. [applause] professor ofa international affairs here, as well is a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations. he served as special assistant to the president and senior director of european affairs on the staff of the national security council in the obama administration. welcome. [applause] finally, we have paula dobriansky, a graduate of the school of foreign affairs, and oneed a distinguished expert eastern europe and the former soviet union. as a diplomat, she served five u.s. presidents, democrat and republican. she covered soviet and european
affairs during the fall of the berlin wall, and ultimately rose to undersecretary state and is a offessor here in our masters the foreign service program, and a member of our board. i will go over to the panel, we will have time for discussion among ourselves, then we will go to you, the audience, for questions. let me begin. so, i want to start first, we talked a lot about the history of the event, the implications of the event, and the lessons learned from the event. james baker started to give us some sense of what he felt the lessons learned from the event were. discussiona lot of about the triumph of diplomacy, the importance of leadership, and how the fall of the berlin wall was handled.
how we responded to a trickle moment in which change in the global order was possible. as youssons do you take think about foreign policy? paula: thank you, and i would like to thank the institutions for hosting this. this is an incredible moment and opportunity to reflect on what significant most point in history. secretary baker well articulated the number of key points, but let me mention a few that maybe also need to be tossed in the mix. there should be a lesson of optimism, that we can actually make a difference and have an impact, and in those places where we may not think we can. there is a lesson of optimism that undergirds all of this.
also, the crucial fact that here there was a kind of supposition of a lack of change that could take place. in other words, the totalitarian regimes were not necessarily vulnerable. what we witnessed, not only the fall of the wall, but the sequencing of events, that really highlighted that there is great vulnerability, and here the power of ideas can really make a difference. the moral narrative. the fact that fundamental human freedoms cannot be buried or blocked by any kind of wall or barrier. of thesistency diplomatic approach combined with the elements that the secretary mentioned about american leadership, the importance of our allies, the importance of the international reignedthat also
through this period. he mentioned the domestic component, and i think he is quite right. when i reflect back on the cold war, there was the domestic element of bipartisanship and that kind of support that undergirded foreign policy, which also provided us with a very strong and resolute backbone. ideasy, i would say matter. at the height of the cold war, it was between the issues of freedom, fundamental human freedoms and democracy, against communism, as the secretary articulated. there was the ideological battle, and we were consistent and laying down markers as to what we stood for. quick three points on
what paula just said. first, even though i agree completely with what we have heard this morning about the importance of foreign-policy engagement, let's keep in mind, the end of the cold war was about history running away from statesman, not the opposite. the soviet union fell apart because gorbachev tried to reform it and lost control. what we ended up with was what paula mentioned, the kind of flowering of the human spirit, the overthrow of the structures of the soviet union, and then gorbachev and reagan and george h.w. bush and others stepped in and did a remarkable job controlling the aftermath. it is stunning the cold war came to an end without war.
most transitions of that order are usually bloody. it was about people power, grassroots. i was a student in the 1980's and went to poland after the imposition of martial law didn't see the end of the cold more than anyone else. i saw a clear sign that the lie was in the street when i went to meet others, they said i want to meet you in the lobby of the main international hotels. they would waive to the security people who were monitoring us. that was kind of, you knew it was going to come up and the soviet union was going to collapse, it was just when. to me it is keeping an ion that people power. i would say there is an important lesson for us today and that the same thing is happening today but the spirit is different. we need to keep in mind that mr.
erdogan, mr. ormonde, mr. . trump, they are symptoms as much as causes. they are responding to political currents. we need to understand why people's attitudes are going that way instead of that way and you're out what is going on. the second point would be to highlight something others have said today, and that is the importance of the u.s.. i am probably more pro-european than most people in this city. i think the european union is one of the great accomplishments of our time. it is a revolutionary change in europe, but it still needs our help. i think it was margaret thatcher i like germany so much i always hope there are two of them. [laughter]
i don't know whether germany would be reunited had it not been for the u.s. i look at europe today, it is hanging in there, but the brits are leaving, no one is home in berlin, macron is trying, but it is tough, and they still need our help. point, the importance of a certain kind of american help. that is what we call liberal internationalism. the marriage of power and partnership. it took a long time for americans to discover that. we tried in 1898 and it was mostly too much power. we try in 1917 and it was too much partnership and idealism. fdr comes along and puts these two together, and i think that reagan and bush did a great job combining those two. they are now splitting. whatis in part because of
paula said, the bipartisan compact between that marriage of power and partnership is coming undone. it is leading to a different kind of american engagement in the world that we all need to get our arms around and understand. is great to be here, great to be on the panel with paula and charlie, though i find myself slightly disoriented to be on charlie's left. [laughter] charlie: i like you there. : it is great to be part of this event commemorating a hugely important event in modern history and to be part of this with so many great people, including andy card who was the chief of staff and the bush 43 administration. the thing i take away most particularly with all of the discussion, diplomacy, and have
devoted 30 years of my life to the foreign service as an something iis learned from one of my early mentors in diplomacy who said, because thereigo are ups and downs and you can't allow yourself to be thrown off by the momentary high from an event like the fall of the wall. although we frequently titled diplomatic agreements the final act of this or that, there are no final acts in diplomacy. you are in the business of managing problems, managing the adjudication of national differences by nonmilitary means, although military means are important. whatever problems you think you have solved, you have either pushed off to face them another day, or created some problem along the way that you will have youolve in the future, or
have allowed problems to arrive that you haven't paid attention to before that you will have to solve. very quickly on the heels of the event we are commemorating today we found ourselves, for instance, dealing with problems, really, of world war ii -- excuse me, world war i settlement. we found ourselves dealing with the breakdown of the former yugoslavia. weause of the war in iraq, found ourselves dealing with middle east that was created by the world war i settlement. here we were thinking we had solved the big problem that had been created by world war ii, only to find ourselves re-engaging with the problems created by world war i. think,st a pickup, i some comments that paula and think it is very weortant, particularly as
consider some of the totalitarian regimes or authoritarian regimes we are dealing with today, do you remember the reason we were able to get to the point of the wall coming down was, as secretary baker said, we had bipartisan support for a number of years for the policy of containment. but towards the end, we had administrations that made it a point to force the soviet union to confront what i might have called in an earlier part of my life the antagonistic contradictions that the system was based on. only when that happened were we his to force gorbachev and colleagues to make a series of choices that lead, as charlie said, to the process of getting out of their control. the second point i would make looking forward from today is the problem we were wrestling with in those years, and i
started in the carter administration and the foreign service, and the carter, reagan, and bush administrations, was a threat two democracy largely from the left. today, as charlie was saying, the threat to democracy is largely on the right from populist authoritarian regimes. it is a global problem but particularly acute in europe and central europe where it has become a particular problem. we can talk about some of the reasons for that. that was essential to u.s. success in the cold war was the role of liberal anti-communism. the centerleft in the united states agreed with the center right that certain parties in europe were beyond the pale. they were beyond the pale because they had an allegiance to a foreign government and took assistance from that foreign
government. they were beyond the pale because they would not agree to abide by the rules of democracy if they actually won an election. the centerleft said that is unacceptable, and you can't be a participant in the international liberal order we are creating if path. down that i think it is incumbent on those of us who self identify on the center right today to take the same attitude to these movements that are arising that challenge the norms and habits of democracy and taking assistance from foreign powers. >> with the fall of the berlin wall there was tremendous euphoria. the cold war looked like it was over, the cold war unification was going to bring eastern europe into the fold of nations. as you point out, we are starting to see deeply worrying regimes in hungary, poland, and the czech republic, in parts of
former east germany. we are seeing that moved to the right of populism. it is surprising because of the economic advantages for europe for integration have been overwhelming, but still there is disquiet. we have russia rearing up cold war competition. it seems to be regenerating. 30 years on the fall of the berlin wall that was meant to reintegrate and bring into the family of nations former rivals, it seems to be fraying at the edges, to put it mildly, from all sides. what are the implications? why did we not understand and what did we miss when we thought of the euphoria after the fall how we would get to this current moment? paula: i was going to pick out a couple of issues that i think have had bearing on these developments. the first one is the lack of reform of the european union. i pick that out primarily
because i hear constantly those from central eastern europe talk about how they have been part of the eu, but not ever really integrated. thatbasic issues, issues have economic bearing to their respective countries. i think part of this is interrelated with the way in which the eu has been operating. i think there is a need for reform, i think there is a need for greater flexibility. there is another component that some who follow closely the political trends have said that particularly when the centerleft, as you were mentioning, were in power and place there could have been more inclusive approaches taken, and may be more coalition-oriented policy.there were certain lines drawn . not when the centerleft did produce economically, and the
sts cameight and rightit in there is not this feeling of camaraderie or coalition building. it is interesting, we equate the reunification of germany with the fall of the wall, and we think about the end of the cold war. it is interesting at this time when people talk about europe and where things are going, russia also looms large again in terms of what its agenda is. there have been concerns about that. not a causal relationship with your question, that i think it is important to put that on the venue is not the the one, and the feeling was not fall of the wall in the end of the cold war. i brought in the linens a little bit in the sense that a little bite lens
that it is across the world that the populists are thriving. i think what is happening here and in western europe is similar. a combination of economic insecurity and identity politics, mainly in response to immigration, that has created a toxic brew.i think the u.s. in the u.k. are particularly hard-hit because we have two-party democracies. you have a lot of angry people and they have two places to go, the democrats or the republicans. parties to the left and right and the centerleft and the center-right is being depopulated. the same thing is happening in the u.k. continental europe is a little better because the angry people have places to go. the centerleft and center-right are losing market share, but they are still in the
center and generally in power. when we talk about eastern europe is a different kettle of fish because their economies have been doing well and they don't have any immigrants. what the hell is going on there? the success int some ways of these countries and the degree to which in more religiousve, rural, segment of society has been politically empowered. erdogan figured that out, for have manipulated the anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly in east and central europe to great political effect. it has racist overtones and it has worked. i have to say when we think back to the post cold war era, it is
distressing how susceptible our populations have been to this narrative.ant the simple truth is it is working. been, thesek it has are more or less footnotes to what paula and charlie are saying, it has been the unequal gainsbution of economically across nations from a variety of policies that have large a sentiment of groups in various countries have been left out. has been able to benefit from. in the european context that has been exacerbated by the european project for some time has had a huge disconnect between the brussels-based multilingual elite that has benefited from it and the populations at large. it is not just in central and
eastern europe. you see in france, for instance, theell, and you see it in history of various referendum and treaties where the history of democracy has been to some degree subverted that we vote on this until we get it right by having multi-referenda on treaties that had been rejected by multiple publics. there has been a disconnect. just to add to what charlie said about migration, it is not that there have been a couple of waves of this. one is the fear of migration new western europe by the members of the eu because of freedom of movement, which created problems in central and western europe. then it was the failure, ultimately, to deal with both libya and syria that set off a
new wave of migration both in sub-saharan africa and the made notst that has just actual migration but fear assailanton i as charlie suggested. joel: i will ask sam donaldson if he can come back out if anyone wants to ask questions about earlier things. while they are lining up, if i could get a lightning round of questions regarding something james baker said. he talked about the fraying alliances between the united states and europe. he talked about his discussion with the german ambassador. what do you think the possibilities are for the rubber band snapping back in a new administration of our relationship with our alliances in general?
can it snap back or is real permanent damage done in the 30 years that we have built and forged that alliance? just the talk of the flexibility of it been back? paula: briefly, i'm not sure that i would in all cases agree with that premises. let me give an example of nato. all administrations have tried to get nato to go with burden sharing. the approach was a hard-hitting one. i think that nato has moved very, very already in a very important and direction. there may be differences, but the agenda has been tough and forward-looking. i will not necessarily agree with the premise of the question. charlie: i agree with the premise of the question, and i think a lot of damage has been done. i agree with paula that there is a resilience to the
transatlantic relationship, which we have seen in washington. congress invited the nato secretary-general for the first time in history to give a joint address. public opinion in support of the alliance is exactly where it was under obama, 75% to 76% positive. the thing that worries me is are our allies over time going to us?sick of are they going to question our reliability? are they going to see us go from here to there and back and say this country doesn't know which end is up? does that mean they are going to walk away from us? no, because there is no alternative, but i think it will take a lot of repair work once we get over the next hump. has beenhink there damage done to alliance solidarity over the last two presidencies.
i think a lot of the rhetoric about burden sharing we have heard from the current administration we heard from the previous president, for instance, in his interviews with jeffrey goldberg and there were already building concerns about it in allied capitals before the current administration came in. as well the efforts to boo ost nato spending began before the current administration came in. i am more concerned about the damage that has been done inside the united states government. if you're going to conduct diplomacy you have to have a diplomatic instrument with which to conduct it. i think there has been serious and lasting damage to the career of foreign service. i think we will find out more about that in coming weeks. i would say it is very easy to diminish your capabilities in that area.it takes a long time to build the backup.
i would say the same with regard to inter-agency. it is like muscle memory. if you lose it over a four-year or eight-year period it doesn't just snap back to what it once was. joel: will take questions from the audience. if you can bring your question in the form of a question, we will take a few of those. tell me who you would like to address them to end we will keep the conversation going. [inaudible] i ask you a question, please?
we can do something right [ indiscernible] joel: thank you, very much. can i have the next question, please? thank you to our panelists. i'm a graduate student at the school of foreign service. i want to know if we can take any lessons from the fall of the wall, especially our american of otherin the plight
parts of the world? i am thinking in particular hong kong today. this generally to the panel. thank you. hi. thank you everyone for being here. goes to doon brainsky. looking at the soviet union and china when it comes to a threat do you fear we have went from the fall of the berlin wall to more domestic policy issues and that created a place whereed to a [indiscernible].
i wanted to get your opinion on that, thank you. paula: i will say a word on the hong kong question. my answer is yes on that. i think there are a lot of lessons and application to what is happening in hong kong. i was in australia and the australians are very engaged in this. our approach, not publicly but behind the scenes, is helping the demonstrations taking place. excellent question. with regard to space and of the united states and russia, you focus on a question that is key in foreign policy. there has been a lot of change regarding what the agenda is. definitely, it is agreed to those in the foreign policy
in the foreign policy community, there is bipartisanship around the fact that we are being challenged by china and russia. there is strategic competition. i expand your question to not only russia, but china in this case. it is called the new frontier. there are issues of cyber, of artificial intelligence, space, and one could go on, digital where there hasn't been the kind of focus there needs to be in terms of our preparedness and our own investment in those areas. interestingly enough in recent , thewhen scott morrison prime minister of australia, was here he contributed significantly to our program. in space. this has become a top agenda item of this administration. personally i think it is important. these are topics that are now part of the discourse of what and how national security is
defined. it is not traditional warfare of the past. eric: charlie and i were talking about the rise of authoritarian regimes. paula touched on it as well. because of that phenomenon, and es the wake of dashed hop after the arab spring, there has been talk about the democratic recession, which is a real phenomenon documented by freedom house and others. having said that, i think that has led a lot of people to conclude that democracy, promotion, and advocating for human rights more broadly in our foreign policy is sort of passe, we shouldn't really do it anymore because no one cares about it anymore. what is going on in hong kong, moscow, sudan, and other countries is an indication that people having that debate are largely ones that already enjoy
the benefit of democracy. it isn't going on where people are being denied the fruits of democracy. if either president reagan or bush were here today, they would be wanting us to encourage what is going on in hong kong and moscow. two quickcharlie: comments on hong kong. the country that has drawn lessons from the cold war is china. the lesson is we aren't going to let that happen to us. that is in my mind one of the reasons xi is tightening things. i am surprised he has not gone into hong kong in a more aggressive way. i'm with eric on democracy promotion, but we have to do it steadily and patiently. we got it right in the cold war. and theyited them collapsed from within. we bit off more than we could shoot. trying to turn iraq and
afghanistan into ohio has not gone well. take the lesson from the cold war as the right way to do it. in regards to russia and germany, should the united states try to lead more from the middle? since 1989 both countries are much stronger than they were before. we acknowledge that without trying to impose on them, but recognize they are in a strong position? a senior. i'm wondering what are things the younger generation can do to reaffirm democratic order and democratic principle? joel: one last. >> good day. personal relationship because my father came from the -- if my father had not come to
the u.k. i would not exist. you could say, from russia with love. require the on that u.s.'s input and its allies around around my sense that what should be the united states grand strategy? we had a clear one during the cold war, but in recent years we don't seem to have a clear-cut pathway. i was wondering what that could be? joel: we will start with charlie because he teaches a course on grand strategy. iula: i think -- charlie: think the top priority when it comes to grand strategy is to get our own house in order. if the liberal anger of the international -- liberal anch comes unglued, which it
might, then managing global change in the centuries going to difficult.we know that change is coming. the global distribution of power is shifting rapidly. the atlanta community used to be gdp, we have a low 50% and it will continue to shrink. i would say the top first, second, third, seventh priority is to make sure the liberal democratic world gets its mojo back. the question from what do we do? get active. get political. i'm struck by the degree in this country and everywhere else, yes, there are checks and balances but they don't seem to work as well as we thought they >> i would agree with that. , i amclass at georgetown
delighted every single student is going into the foreign service. to me that is getting active. they are going into the diplomatic corps, but one student is running for state legislature in michigan. we were very impressed. get active. on grand strategy, my view is the tenants of our overall foreign policy have to be focused on the strategic competition and challenge posed by russia and china, now and in the future. as part of that, the moral narrative, in other words the liberal order matters. there has been a complacency and a real need for coming forward and ensuring that moral narrative, through the international liberal order, is in fact maintained. it is being challenged by china, by russia.
we have to have that at the forefront of our framework of action. myselfmpletely associate with my colleagues remarks about public service and i encourage everyone at the georgetown school of foreign service to think about the problems i described earlier as an opportunity. on the grand strategy point, i agree largely with what paula and charlie have said, but i would add this. i think there is going to need to be serious thought on both sides of the aisle about what it takes for the united states to play the role in the world we have played historically since 1945. that does mean getting your house in order. getting our house in order, if you read the long-term budget means we have to get a handle on the entitlements problem. entitlements is what is driving the long-term debt problem. it is not the defense budget.
my friends on the left need to understand that, as do some of my friends on the right who think the account is just another budget account that should be cut like all of the others. george canonn -- gave a lecture that i remind my foreign service colleagues of all the time. you have no idea how much more cooperative and collegial diplomacy is if you have quiet power in the background. that is something i think we should remember as we think about diplomacy going forward. >> as we talk about what to do now, i will give the last word to sam donaldson about the role of the press and the current world. >> be careful. final wordve me the i run off. the role of the press is
difficult today. more difficult than when i was operating in washington. you know the difficulties. the press continues to try to do what i thought was its fundamental purpose, whether you electronic or print or what have you. uncover what you consider to be facts, a very elusive things somehow, and bring it to the american people, because our democracy depends on the public weighing in. getting the public weighing in is hard today. it is not just hard getting the facts, it issomehow hard convine public they ought to pay attention. when i first started in this town there were three networks, you had to watch, you had no did, no internet, and you because of the cold war. now kids get their information from facebook and tweets and whatever. there are so many access points.
it is difficult. i think the thing to impress on people is, excuse me for being partisan, we are not the american people's enemy, we are not the enemy of that. if we have enemies, it is the enemy of things that are not true and it is our job to continue to cover them. how to get you to watch, this audience, no problem. watch tom brokaw. you will watch and you will read. how to get people who may have never left their state. look at the number of passports available. even those that require us to go -- for 2005d mexico you do not have to have that. very low compared to other countries in the world, not just europe but other places. how do we get americans to travel? how do we get americans to get their information from looking
at it and seeing at it. mr. limbaugh may be a great source, but there are other sources. the problem of the press is to do its job. if someone says you cannot come to the white house, you go to court and you go to the white house. you say no one will tell you anything, they may. you have to be there in order to receive it if they do. , it is not the individual loss of the reporters and it is loss for truth and finding out what is going on. we encourage -- young people have a problem. there are some that do not know anything about the press and some that do our activists. i did not think people at this university have the problem of where to get their news and how to process it. if any of you can come up with thedea -- you cannot tell american people you have to watch this, you have to read this. that is the worst way to get anyone to watch anything on television.
a way to induce people to get interested in the facts and in news organizations that will bring them the facts. please see me. i will nominate you for the nobel prize. [laughter] >> thank you very much, sam. [applause] thanking our by panelists for an interesting discussion. thank you, sam donaldson. over, turn the microphone for the final remarks, to roger, who is the executive director of the reagan institute. everyone, please join me in thanking all the panelists, to georgetown university, and all of our students and guests. thank you to our friends at the george and barbara bush foundation. today's event was a perfect first partnership for the bush foundation, the reagan institute.
looking forward to more collaboration in the future. thank you to the atlantic council, and our moderator, the incomparable sam donaldson. thank you so much. a few more comments and we will close this out. the day the berlin wall fell, i was a kid at the time internalizing it from the tv and my parents living room. peterabc news colleague jennings described the developments as "perhaps the most important announcement made in central europe since the end of world war ii and certainly since the wall went up in 1961." on that day americans knew they were watching history. we also remember president reagan's speech at the brandenburg gate is another defining moment on the path to the soviet union's demise. in june of 1987, it did not seem that way at all. it hardly made news in america.
it was not until the wall came down in 1989 that those four powerful words, "tear down this wall," truly echoed around the world. that is the nature of history. sometimes you know you are witnessing it. sometimes you only realize it years later. looking back, it can appear inevitable. almost unremarkable. not even president reagan or president bush knew when the wall would come down were how the war would end. they did know it was a cause worth fighting for. back in 1989, on the day the wall fell, president reagan joined sam donaldson live on the air from his home in california. this is a transcript. please do not correct me. we got it off the transcript service. the question was asked, did you think it would come down this soon?
, "iident reagan responded did not know when it would come, but i have to tell you i am an internal optimist. -- i am an eternal optimist. i believed with all my heart that it was in the future." maybe that is the most important lesson today. that like presidents reagan and bush, we must always have faith that we can achieve a brighter future for freedom and humankind. thank you all so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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networks, the senate energy committee looks at federal development -- development on federal lands. at 1:00, mike pence will speak at the politics and eggs event in new hampshire. at 10:00, the senate resumes theideration of a judge for eastern district of arkansas. the library of congress testifies before the senate administration committee on efforts to modernize the library. president trump held a rally in monroeville, louisiana campaigning for the candidate for governor who will face incumbent democrat john bel edwards in the december 16 runoff election. the president was joined by u.s. senator's bill cassidy and john kennedy. he addressed the impeachment agree, the economy, and the