Reagan And Gorbachev: How The Cold War Ended

Decent Essays
Gorbachev did not place any preconditions for the Moscow Summit, and had agreed even before he visited Washington in December 1987. Gorbachev thus never held Reagan’s trip to Moscow specific to any agreement. Schultz and Shevardnadze continued to meet frequently, almost every month before the summit. Both the foreign ministers tried to solve the problems that stopped a START agreement.


In September 1987, Shevardnadze informed Schultz that the soviet leadership had decided to withdraw from Afghanistan. In Washington during the last summit, when Gorbachev suddenly asked Reagan whether the US would stop supplying arms to the opposition in Afghanistan if Soviet forces were withdrawn, Reagan did not give a clear answer. However,
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observed Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended, the White House speechwriters finally found the right balance between candor about problems and encouragement for healthy change. The speeches were upbeat and avoided crowing about American victories even as they gave a push for causes on the American agenda. Reagan spoke to prominent writers, artists, and musicians at the writer’s clubs and praised the achievements of glasnost and pressed for publication of some still banned works. Each of Reagan’s public appearances were before an important group, but his address to the student and faculty at Moscow University was the centerpiece of his trip. His theme was freedom, which electrified his audience. The prolonged standing ovation was a testament to his appeal to the Russian audience. Reagan thus exuded that positive, forward looking, and optimistic outlook which made the Russian populace look at the US from an entirely different angle. But it took a question from a reporter to make his optimism shine through; as he and Gorbachev were walking through the red square, a Journalist asked the inevitable question: do you still consider this an Evil Empire? Reagan replied, ’no… That was another time, another era.’ Thus just in that particular moment, Ronald Reagan transformed himself from an enemy to a friend. Here, it would be unjust to deny Gorbachev his due share of credit, as without his eagerness to greet Reagan with open arms, the world would not have seen the flags of freedom that were spreading its colors throughout the USSR. In his memoir, Gorbachev showed his happiness over Reagan’s comments when he said that Gorbachev deserved most of the credit for changes in the Soviet Union. The idea that ordinary people everywhere have the same aspirations was the bedrock of Reagan’s ideals, and that those ideals prevailed finally shows the strength of Ronald Reagan’s convictions. Reagan was a rock star, and he made the Russian people feel that he
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