In Reagan and Gorbachev, Jack F. Matlock, Jr., gives an eyewitness account of how the Cold War ended, with humankind declared the winner. As Reagan’s principal adviser on Soviet and European affairs, and later as the U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R., Matlock lived history: He was the point person for Reagan’s evolving policy of conciliation toward the Soviet Union. Working from his own papers, recent interviews with major figures, and archival sources both here and abroad, Matlock offers an insider’s perspective on a diplomatic campaign far more sophisticated than previously thought, led by two men of surpassing vision.
Matlock details how, from the start of his term, Reagan privately pursued improved U.S.—U.S.S.R. relations, while rebuilding America’s military and fighting will in order to confront the Soviet Union while providing bargaining chips. When Gorbachev assumed leadership, however, Reagan and his advisers found a potential partner in the enterprise of peace. At first the two leaders sparred, agreeing on little. Gradually a form of trust emerged, with Gorbachev taking politically risky steps that bore long-term benefits, like the agreement to abolish intermediate-range nuclear missiles and the agreement to abolish intermediate-range nuclear missiles and the U.S.S.R.’s significant unilateral troop reductions in 1988.
Through his recollections and unparalleled access to the best and latest sources, Matlock describes Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s initial views of each other. We learn how the two prepared for their meetings; we discover that Reagan occasionally wrote to Gorbachev in his own hand, both to personalize the correspondence and to prevent nit-picking by hard-liners in his administration. We also see how the two men were pushed closer together by the unlikeliest characters (Senator Ted Kennedy and François Mitterrand among them) and by the two leaders’ remarkable foreign ministers, George Shultz and Eduard Shevardnadze.
The end of the Cold War is a key event in modern history, one that demanded bold individuals and decisive action. Both epic and intimate, Reagan and Gorbachev will be the standard reference, a work that is critical to our understanding of the present and the past.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Reagan and Gorbachev|
|Release Date: 07-20-2004|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Reagan and Gorbachev
And I have to believe that our greatest goal must be peace.
—Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1981
I’ve always recognized that ultimately there’s got to be a settlement, a solution.
—Ronald Reagan, December 23, 1981
[A] Soviet leadership devoted to improving its people’s lives, rather than expanding its armed conquests, will find a sympathetic partner in the West.
—Ronald Reagan, May 9, 1982
Readers may suspect that the dates of the quotations set forth above are mistaken. After all, doesn’t everyone know that President Reagan spent his first term bashing the Soviet Union and showed an interest in serious negotiations only in his second term? Such is the myth that has developed of late.
The dates are correct. All of the remarks quoted were made during the first eighteen months of Reagan’s first administration. And they were not exceptional. These thoughts were present or clearly implied in virtually everything Reagan and his first secretary of state, Alexander Haig, said about relations with the Soviet Union from the outset of their terms in office.
Of course, these were not the only thoughts they expressed. Other statements, particularly when taken out of context, gave rise to the distorted impression that came to prevail in American and foreign opinion. Let us look carefully at what President Reagan said and how he said it.
During his first press conference as president, on January 29, 1981, Reagan stated that he was in favor of negotiating to achieve “an actual reduction in the numbers of nuclear weapons” on a basis