tv Jeffrey Engel When the World Seemed New CSPAN December 31, 2017 12:15am-1:41am EST
i look at the best-selling nonfiction books continues with a biography of bobby kennedy. after that is astrophysics by people in a hurry. followed by the trumpet trump. next is bill o'reilly and wrapping up our look is new yorker staff writer national book award finalist, david graham, the killers of the follow moon. it targeted members of the osage indian nation. some of the authors have or will be appearing on book tv.
>> good evening. my name is tom. i'm a member of the clements department of history. i cannot tell you what a delight it is for me to welcome you tonight on the special location. before we get underway want to express our appreciation for the george w. bush library. they're cosponsoring this event with us in c-span which is taping the lecture. were happy to have general patrick, director of the bush library. i want to direct your attention to a major event on december 7 peter baker will be the guest to talk about his book, obama the call of history. the dj trip for june 2018 is fully subscribed were taken
names and you may know that we've established a dedicated scholarship fund for this program so no student should miss the chance to take this journey because of financial need. you like to make a contribution we would be thrilled. it's a personal pleasure to present the speaker. hard to believe it was five years i must say, it was almost as if he had been waiting for our call. we really lucked out. not just an outstanding scholar and teacher, an outstanding citizen of this university.
is the chief are not the sole reason. this was his idea and among other things this features the last author is dealing with the consent motion the highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship and chose applicants from all over the united states and has become the highly coveted ashley recognized award. he things briefly you may not know about him. as an aspiring scholar who got us started cornell walter in my opinion is one of the 45 gratis diplomatic historians and he was jeff's initial mentor.
then he went to get his phd concentrating on this cold war. those fall by a postdoc at yale. his first book published in 2007 was the cold war 37 feet. it won the paul -- price. his first foray into bush 41 studies occurred in 2008 when he had the presidents private day-to-day account as the presidents private server it, the making of a global president opens a unique window onto this crucial time in u.s. china relations.
he wrote us bonded introduction. meanwhile he directed a research team the reviewed and made available 150,000 documents from that archive. with another team he conducted oral history interviews with the top members of the administration. all of which has brought his endeavors to a great culmination. is a brilliant research, wonderfully well-written volume that is sure to become a work on the subject and a major landmark not to mention a bestseller. please welcome our beloved kelly, jeffrey aaron.
[applause] >> i help my mom heard all of that. >> thank you for coming out tonight. it's an honor to look at a crowded room of people for people who been so enthusiastic and it's truly humbling as well. many of you have open germs to us as we have been here the last five years. we look forward to much more with you. i'm glad tom said this is the culmination. thank you for coming. they want to do this tell you
about george hw bush in the and of the cold war. it's a. that we remember fondly for the most part. we remember it is be in the climax of the democratic experience. think back to the fall of 1989 in countries throughout europe and that even the soviet union itself turned toward democracy turned toward freedom and free markets. we saw that movement occur in china as well. this movement strung out from the youth of the country. it was such enthusiasm throughout the world for the concept of democracy that a man
named francis became instantly famous which for scholars hard to do, instantly famous by writing this study entitled the end of history. the least understood title in all of history. most presume that rings are so great but what he is really saying is all of human history had been a struggling competition to try to decide how we as human beings should organize herself as a society and government. we tried roman empires and kings, we had even whittled it down to three. like the great ncaa bracket.
yet democracy, communism, fascism. the cold air war was the finals and we won. the review of the book said the most important thing was that we won and isn't it wonderful. the entire world was turning in a democratic way. the in the history having now seen this there's no need for competition going forward. mr. to become flicks that he argued is when the play out so pretty happy thought. what's interesting is that it was a bestseller and he wrote
the book so i think it's clearly the best-selling book ever written on this came out late february about four weeks after george hw bush said the same thing at his inauguration. if you look at what george bush was saying, he said we know what works, freedom works. we know how to make more prosperous society. we know how to live in the human spirit. that freedom was the global norm. it's only a matter of time before the entire world comes to see it this is really important for understanding who george bush was.
he fully believed in what i just told you he said. the freedom worked on that free society has produced the best human outcomes. he never questioned it. if you asked george bush what freedom meant to advocate you and say it means freedom. if you say why free markets because they're the best. the reason is fundamental to who he was is because he was a leader who grew up during the great high point of all that america came to offer. he was a player during world war ii is when you see a man through global leadership and didn't let go. the story of his life in many
ways is a story of success. he came from a remarkably successful family and he went to the best schools best training and was successful throughout his entire life. for example, after being a decorated war hero he was a successful businessman thing became a party organizer he also had been a congressman and then united nations ambassador for the united states. then head of the republican national committee. bender factor u.s. ambassador to china and then eight years as vice president. that's a pretty good resume and
pretty good trajectory. so from his perspective america worked. during this time he found them not working let's say during vietnam, his diagnosis was that there's not something wrong with the idea, only with the implementation. as long as we go back to our central values none further expanded upon everything will turn out wonderfully. bush took over the presidency and 89 at a moment where it look like the entire world was flowing. the idea that the world return democratic only a few years
before would've gotten you laughed out of any room. in 1985, 1983 president ronald reagan declared the soviet naval empire and talked about launching a crusader fire to this free world when he used the word communist would must always use the word godless in front of it. is antithetical. and reagan had launched a jihad essentially against the communist world pumping up military spending and moral condemnation of all things.
the result was nearly the destruction of the entire world. one thing that we have subsequently found out was just how close we all came to dying. at least twice during 1983 there about that far from the button. there's a because soviet officials had an odd habit of listening to what an american president set and believe in it they believed reagan when they said he was going through -- so when the soviet protected the maneuvers sometimes they looked a little bit too realistic and
sometimes her fingers got too close to the button. in fact, it appeared as though the soviets were listening. 1985 they brought the power man unlike any way been there before. gorbachev, a new person who promised not just to build a better society puts reform soviet society. it would appear to americanize as though gorbachev and the russian response was a direct response to it reagan had said. if you believe that, you're fundamentally wrong. most people probably believe that. there's two points away to make where all get angry stairs back. we have a notion that ronald
reagan won the cold war. by calling out the soviets, by recognizing the fundamental flaws and straining them. but this arms race who would show the soviets they could not keep up and because that they will surrender. and because they recognize that they cannot keep up and they decided to reform and surrender they built up a large american narrative that this is all because of reagan. reagan in this context was although the person calls for the sun to rise and when it rose to credit.
because reagan said we will build up and they will collapse. what we now know from the documents. in the iron curtain one thing that was fun was to see all the documents we at one point had more documents under review then all the other presidential libraries combined is one of the she thing should be true. they verified that's actually true. so that has given us the opportunity to understand what's been going on throughout the world and all the capitals in east berlin and most importantly moscow to try to understand why
this ended the way it did. one of the most important things we found out is the son did rise but only because gorbachev was pushing it. gorbachev was a unique leader in history. he decided not just to recognize a problem but to do something about it. the series of soviet leaders had come to the conclusion that their system was not working. they knew their falling behind, and more importantly, they look to western europe, the region in
which russian leaders have for centuries long to become a part of europe. i like to be accepted in europe. in fact, they had good numbers on this and were able to calculate that at the spring of 89 the total soviet food consumption level for the average citizen was about where it was in 1917. after that entire experience they've been right back where they started. you should remind yourself that reagan did not come into power until 81. the soviets brought the power, a
series of geriatric leaders. they had an oppressive leader in his day in a series of individuals who were basically a geriatric leadership and mindset for their country. the best way to understand the sense that they knew something was wrong refused to do something is in the following choke. you would've heard this in moscow in the 80s. the joke goes like this. 's doll on in kershner for riding on the train together the train stops and they said how can we get this moving again
stella says it's simple, we gather the peasants, we should have the other half will be intensified to move the trade. they said all we have to do is denounce the previous train driver then everything will be fine. they talk about that and say i have an easier solution. we need to pull down the window shade, rock back and forth and pretend that were moving. and that tells you everything you need to know until gorbachev comes in and says were going to change the system by bringing in a new form of democracy and in the spirit of openness. we will become more western.
but we are not going to lose her soviet communist identities. we know that what gorbachev sets in motion was the demise of the soviet union. that was not his plan. the plan was to save the soviet union and then to do something that was quite critical. he began to talk about common european home which is to say we know we cannot keep up with the west not because of what they're doing, they might be bothering us a little bit were gonna try to save military spending for better things to invest in were trying to lower tensions to justify decreasing military spending.
but were after this common european home in which we could remove the barriers separating us and find effusion of soviet socialism and western european socialism in which we take care of the individual all you do is show how good we are so ultimately will be asked to join europe. which is going through its own changes because it's developing its final framework for the european union. this idea that after world war ii policymakers looked at the past history and recognize that twice they tried to commit a
suicide. the expectations they would not survive a third time. the reason for their fascination with killing people and each other was because of nationalism. they saw themselves as two separate. if we fuse our politics will be able to do something fundamentally more important wheels to become german and french and british and when that glorious day happens will and the problem of war. and gorbachev said yes, that's the mission we want. here's when george bush comes back and because the situation i just described which we look back on now we know it turned out peacefully.
and we know that they said ronald reagan is responsible. but the story is dangerous because the collapse of the soviet union and of european communism is fundamentally and nothing less than the collapse of the empire the soviets had a political, ideological that rolled over other countries. in the global influence and global reach. throughout history i challenge you to find another case of a major empire declining and collapsing without it suing great power for fact, you can't find another case where you can
run that experiment says we think about everything that turned out well went to you to think about how fundamentally dangerous this moment was. this moment of soviet transformation of identity and politics and of the entire empire. a process that had never occurred. that is what george bush gets to inherit when he takes office. i know everybody's fully aware of my love for ronald reagan. thank you for laughing, sir. here's another reagan idea. you might recall reagan's strategy for winning the cold war was, we win, they lose.
this is ted cruz's favorite strategy for anything. i like to point out that's a desperation of strategy. in reagan's case is an interesting question after they lost, what happens next? reagan never asked himself what they actually look like. george bush gets the ashes. he comes to power and 89 when most american security analyst to come to the conclusion that ronald reagan had gone too far. it's fascinating to go back and look at the primaries and see just how far every person is trying to distance themselves from like reagan's legacy.
they thought he had been too trusting. he looked at gorbachev in the eye and believed he was meaning the reforms he wanted. reagan have become frightened and decides he's going to reach out his hand and gorbachev reach out to. they both begin this incredible dance of opening up the possibility of change. and then reagan retired. you can't blame them for that one leaving george bush to take over we have fundamental enthusiasm for democracy around the world breaking out yet policymakers are saying fundamentally scared because we
have not seen changes like this since the 1930s. and we all know what happened next. how do we keep from going down that road again. the real fear from gorbachev first three fears. the first is that he might succeed. he could redo the cold war the second great peers there could be a cool launch against him because he was so radically revolutionized in society we would expect communist, the people who have power and didn't want to lose it george bush gets
a memo on his desk which says the following, we expect in a moment there'll be a counterrevolutionary coup against gorbachev. bush receives the same menlo until it ultimately becomes true. significant because it helps us understand his mindset. if he does something wrong everything they're moving forward to could actually come crashing down because they move too fast. this is the really important fear gorbachev is offering a promising a common european home for the soviets will be accepted into the rest of europe no longer feared in europe will be forever peaceful.
you know the problem is, there's no american wing. if europe is not afraid of the soviets, if they're living peacefully they're going to say thank you for your service has been there since 1945, we would like you to go home now. do not actually that popular in europe because nobody likes to have an occupying army in the country there's a lot of fire and fury. for example american short range nuclear weapons. think about what i just said. the united states wanted to deploy short range nuclear weapons in germany. the phrase that went around was that the shorter the missile the
debtor the german. they understood the american army's presence was reason for the soviets to keep their military presence. so bush and those around him feared americans would be asked to go home. he could think of nothing more troubling and dangerous than that. the story i just told you about the way they thought of creating a new common international society which put the base cause a war to be nationalism in division, those not the american reading. when i say the american reading understand it's a reading of history that has direct implications.
there were passed down from generation to generation we see people in the truman administration all the way up through and into every administration until the one we currently have. arguing that europeans when left to their own devices, kill each other. that is what they do and they are good at it. try to find a time when it has not been punctuated or culminated by large, violent tragic war. world war i we tried to do it right. but we went over and save the day. that's what we do. but then we did something
obvious and that is we went home. we had to go do it again. the next time is even worse. our leaders made a fundamental decision both insightful, brilliant and necessary, we stayed in from the american perspective there had not been a war in europe cents. you might say to yourself i wonder if that's correlation or causation but why would i run the risk of finding out the experiment. we presumed it was american power that kept the soviets out cap the german stone. also kept the europeans from the throats.
there will be an arm around this shoulder making sure they walked in the right direction from their big brother. so bush generally feared that if gorbachev was successful the democratic movement which he thought was inevitable was a long-term recipe for danger and more. at the moment he finds himself taking office is a democratic search breaking out in europe and china. a place that bush thought he knew well in a place from his understanding had come out of hibernation or isolation from the rest of the world, adopted
in the 70s a sense of new democratic openness. and also sensitive economic -- adopt a more western ideas. bush looked at the logic said and 74 is there things were so great. the time i reach office and 89 in my first few weeks i begin to see and it genuine democratic movement within china. a student led movement calling for freedom and peace. calling for democracy and liberty. we know students were calling for this because they were
holding signs saying freedom, democracy, markets, and english. the students were savvy enough to know that if they had signs in english people around the world would be able to read it. those students who were calling for freedom and democracy were calling for freedom and democracy not the way americans typically understood or understand, certainly not the way george bush understood. when policymakers saw the signs they presumed they all wanted to become american.
because we are the embodiment. we know what works. we now know because of open documents and research that the scholars working have been quite clear and adamant and consistent with the explanation that when students asked for democracy they did not mean it like we understand it. best to say it's a leveling, and equalizer that all people should have access to all things equal.
for now 16 years into the great economic transformation allowing people to become more prosperous you should have the opportunity become more prosperous. so when they went into the streets asking for democracy and freedom what they are really asking for was the freedom to get away from the old system where people got their jobs based on who their daddy was. that's how the communist party had long run. instead they wanted people to get it based upon their grades and ability. the freedom to choose their job
so the party cannot put you in places that you do not think it was best to achieve aspirations. this was a terrified idea to the chinese authorities. and terrifying to george bush. not that he was against them as being democratic but george bush was terrified at the idea that he knew how terrified china was. but goes to the story of student of prizes in order to make fundamental point which is that we oftentimes remember this says students at arriving. this is a three-month process. the tanks for the 50 front military attempt to take the city. each time they tried to they up their level of force and the
students who did not like being told there were longer criminals but as a great patriot, they would save china from corruption may recognize there in a death spiral with the regime. the end result was brought streets. which george bush had feared. he feared it so much he acted as president in a way he tried to influence -- more specifically by hippocratic diplomacy. when you're faced within international system the first do no harm. he recognize the words reverberated in a go throughout the world. people are calling for democracy
to be very careful he argued about how you choose to encourage them. you want to but you don't want to go down the 1956 path which they talk about frequently in the diary which is the path of budapest and hungry. the people protested and said will have a new day, up until the moment the tanks rolled them over. the important part was those rolled over believed they were about to receive american support because they heard eisenhower say we will support you.
eisenhower did not mean anything other than our thoughts and prayers. instead they thought is going to supply maybe guns, may be money or troops. eisenhower never thought this was a plausible idea. he was shocked to think to put american troops for 500 miles behind the nuclear enemy but bush knew the history and had grown up playing golf with eisenhower. largely because he was perhaps the only person who would not let eisenhower winter cheat. when people in the streets he wanted to make sure site
violence. given him a fundamental problem but also a problem on what to do in response. here is still believed in free markets. he still believed in this idea freedom engaged by the west and we continue to move on so slight as we continue to allow them to engage the west. . . the chinese on this democratic path was exposure to the democratic virus, we want them
to have more exposure, not less. therefore, he makes phone calls, write letters, all abundant scenes and sent envoys to the chinese the following message that we condemn everything you did for were going to have to start talking at some so let's talk talking. his poll numbers plummet, no one knew that he had done this because it was all behind the scenes he faced this fundamental problem in europe with similar crowds begin to protest east germany, to the best, excuse me, hungry, the entire eastern bloc and in fact, those crowds began marching and celebrating and singing the idea of freedom again, freedom expressed in english so that the cnn cameras can understand it and they began marching right up to the police. basically, taunting them endearing them to do something. during a period there was a mass
daily exodus of people trying to flee and escape eastern germany the crowds in 1989 change yelling. they began to yell we are the people and we have power. we are the people and we have power. and then they changed and this is the part that was really scary for the people in charge, those communist and he began to chant we are the people and we are staying. which means you are going, those in charge. we are going to be in charge now. places like where weekly democratic proofreader rallies occurred that by the end of it accumulated more than 100,000 people marching around the city for freedom so terrified east german authorities that we now
know that they actually ordered the troops to the trigger. the ordered quite literally tiananmen square, something they had been threatening very explicitly by the way when the invited chinese authorities to visit beijing at the pictures of the front page of the headlights the captain teaching east germans they know about crowd control. the threat was not subtle and the order was given. in the order was given to the troops in the field, the police and the army that they were to fire. the order was given that it wasn't acted. you should probably ask why. well, because the commander in charge is a very, very good german officer. you do not rise through the ranks of the east german military throughout your career by showing initiative. you rise by being able to follow
the proper and properly distributed orders when he got this order to fire he did the most logical thing after telling his troops to compare to fire he called back for confirmation, back to east berlin. and nobody will at that moment he was savvy enough to realize and i kid you not when the crowd was approximately 100 yards from his troops with orders to fire my fingers on the trigger, he realized that they were not going to the phone that can only be one explanation. they were hanging him out to dry. that is to say they wanted the crowd to burst into flame and they wanted to play him for it. people in east berlin wanted people to say we didn't give the final order, he did it on his own. this man was savvy enough at that point to make up the phone and tell his troops to retreat. essentially saying, to subordinates, well, i guess they
now do not have to answer the phone, at the troops. we now know how dangerous and how close it was in the scene almost repeats itself in berlin about two and half weeks later when the east german government having created a new openness with his own people in response to the protest decided something unusual for the east german government and they decided to hold press conferences that to say maybe our problem was messaging and we get our message to the people they can put it on tv life, everyone will understand and will have better medication with our citizens. they picked a man to do this named jackowski, i love that name. his primary qualification for having the job was that he could read german and he could speak it out loud. those were his qualifications
for being the press secretary for east germany. unfortunately, what i'm about to tell you calls into question both of those publications. on the night of november 9, 1989 he attended bureau meeting and was handed from the bureau a list of new travel policies that were going to be embargoed for a few more days but ultimately would be released that would relieve some of the pressure of the citizens wanting to flee. for example, citizens could go to passport control centers and apply for passports and that was new and it said they can apply for a passport with execution they would get it and they went through proper channels they could get a 30 day visa to go across the border. that's a big deal. he is in a rush to sweep the newspaper in his briefcase and heads off to the press conference where he proceeds to
for the crowd to tears for two hours and i encourage you to google this and look it up on you to see how many people had fallen asleep. more than this crowd, i am happy to say. [laughter] until the very end and italian journals gets up and says i have are there any more questions and yes, i have one and do you have anything for us on travel restrictions and something in his mind snapped and he said well, yes, i do. he pulls out his case this thing that was supposed to be embargoed and begins to read it and also read it incorrectly. he essentially says any german citizen that wants to travel abroad will be allowed to do so immediately. and he looks up and if you ever want to see a true terror looks like a face, again, look at that youtube video and see the look on this man's face thought he was announcing nothing in the entire room exploded.
it became very clear he had said something he shouldn't which then led to the only wise response of the entire evening which is what he said okay, press conference over. the people had been wanting people came to the berlin wall and said we had been told that there is new travel restrictions allowing us to leave, let us out. the commanders there, as you can imagine, quite rightly said we have received no such orders and there were no such orders. the crowd became larger and the crowds got more agitated and the group became agitated and called in reports with. the two sides began to build. until finally the commander in charge, a man named harold, a colonel in the border guards, does any good east german officer would do and he calls for advice and he is told by the person at the other end of the phone you have no orders that are new, you are either blind or a coward. you know what to do. by the way this man that had done what he had to do before.
he had the banners on his chest with participated in the firing on the person who left east germany without permission. there is an interesting aspect to him which is that he was scheduled to go to the doctor the next day. he was scheduled to go to the doctor to see the results of cancer tests which his doctors had prepped him to anticipate going to suggest the worst. he therefore at this moment, i think, said to himself i am about to meet my maker and a lot faster than i ever wanted and i'm about to have to answer for whatever i do next. and he did not want his blood on the conscience he said he opened the gates and the crowds. and were in a television age so once other guards saw the crowds through the open their gates and
the next thing you know the world is dancing on the berlin wall, quite literally. interesting thing about him is he is still alive. [laughter] it turns out that sometimes doctors make mistakes, too. he was fine. this poses a problem for george bush. what do you do when you're in your office crowd surged across the berlin wall knowing you have these reports with the cia suggesting that anything we do to agitate the soviets may cause the backlash here or cause tiananmen square in europe? his response is to do nothing, in public. for example, he is watching in his office and was told by his secretary he must give a statement and he says i have nothing to say, go away. they tried to more times and finally gets pushed to admit that yes, of course you should talk to the press of the present
can't say nothing at this historic moment so instead he calls everyone to the office and you can go on to you to see this, it's a great video. he stands for the next 30 minutes proceeds to speak fully and completely for 30 minutes without saying a word. it is complete gibberish. it's perfect and wonderful. at the end of which one of the reporters, cbs news, says mr. president, you just don't seem very excited. in which he responded well, i guess i am just not an excitable guy. [laughter] because he knew something she didn't and no one else knew is that the phone calls are starting to pour in. the phone calls from berlin, from warsaw, from paris, from london, asking the same basic question what the heck is going on mark more and partly, here i want to use a technical historian term the people on the other end of the phone were freaking out. no one had for this to happen,
no one anticipated, no one thought this happened in their lifetime of crowds are surging through all of your one of the most amazing the things pushed us that we know this from the records that have been declassified as he manages to keep all those international leaders call. he tried to encourage them to take a breath, take a step back so that no one ultimately pulls the trigger. as he begins to think about the reconstruction of europe strategic map everything going on and i will end on this point -- which is to say, what he does next fundamentally shaped the world that we all live in today, for good and for ill. when germans begin to dance on the wall this leads to the inevitable question that we are going to see subsequently germans wanting to unite, the division of europe and the division of germany had been the entire just for the cold war and punishment for germany's participation were to now the time is past will allow the
germans, one would think, to come together and celebrate as one common people. in fact, that was how germany's leader was his vision at this moment. despite the fact that that afternoon before the berlin wall fell he said i think it will be another 15-20 years before that happens and he decides to seize the moment and push toward unification to become the father of his own country. he had a big problem. there is basically no one outside of germany that thanks this is a good idea. people in europe have memories and they remember the last time the germans had gone together and headed and did well for the rest of us. there's an idea that permeates throughout western europe and eastern europe and throughout the soviet union and united states. the best example of this, the essential idea, that when germans get together they lead to war is embodied in the following statement by none other than the great geopolitical start david letterman who said i understand
the germany unification will have three phases: the first economic unification. the second, political unification. the third, france surrenders. [laughter] this is the common fear that policymakers around the world with the exception of george bush, to be honest, this is i think his singular achievement in his greatest legacy because bush essentially cut a deal with full he didn't necessarily believe the germans were found to be militaristic he didn't care and he had a bigger fish to fry. he was recognizing at that moment that colton needed help and that cool therefore was pliable in important ways because bush said to him i am the most powerful man in the world, i have lovers of power over the other countries in the four power tree that has legal
response ability for germany, britain, france and the soviet union. i can get each of them say yes if i need to you will have to do something for me. that's something you can project was you to make sure a unified germany remains in nato because without germany nato cannot survive. the biggest manpower supplier and for all the good pieces are in without nato why are we in europe. remember, first consoles the europeans can't take care of themselves. so matter what happens in the future bush is determined to ensure that we have an american presence. he accepts the deal and the british accept the steel in the french and everyone except for the soviets. they too were finally negotiated into accepting the steel and in a way that is lasting consequences for today. mikael gorbachev, remember him, he came up with the idea that we
would demilitarized normalize our relation and we would be accepted by the west agreed ultimately that he would allow the germans to unify, he had both legal authority to say no from treaties never fully implemented after world war ii, the priest judy and secondly, he had 300,000 troops in nuclear weapons on east german soil. here pretty good leverage to say no. he said i will see us provided that you accept us into the west and as long as nato does not expand to the east. to which american policymakers in february 1990, james baker and robert gates specifically and these are because of new documentation we have verifiable process american policymakers said we will make that deal. shake on it. we will not move, baker said, nato 1 inch to the east. at which point negotiations continue but there is a basic fundamental agreement on this point. now, here is the kicker.
we all know nato has since moved more than 1 inch to the east, one would argue that it's all the way up to the russian geopolitical porter at this point in fact if you want to see the source of russian anger and antagonism and frustration with the post-cold war. in the united states it stems back in the bottom of's idea to this original sin of america breaking a promise to gorbachev of not accepting us and not lowering the barriers but them to their border. you have to be careful with this. this is at the heart of all russian-american has again is him today. this is why they hacked the election. the cost over the anger of this idea but here is the problem. remember james baker said shake on it? they never did anything more than shake on it. baker was a lawyer and bigger knew if you didn't write it down it didn't exist.
the situation began to change and it became clear that they would have less leverage than they had before, the chaos in political system, it became clear that they could get eastern germany into nato and the make sense and will hold open the door for everyone to expand in the future, perhaps to nato, to expand so everyone can come and we don't mind that idea as long as it has nato two. the treaty was never written down and codified which meant the bush administration was never held to it legally but more importantly subsequent administrations were never held to it in any way, shape or form. as we know subsequent administrations, clinton, george w. bush, did both push and eagerly accept nato expansion, the one thing the soviets had been told they were not have to suffer through.
the one thing they were told would be a symbol of their not being excluded from europe as they had been in the past. in fact, one critical moment in february 1990 calgary top said today was bigger maybe we would like to join in a two and just stop and think about that. three months before were in the height of the cold war and we want to join in oh two. baker has an interesting response. he doesn't really get one. he also does not say no. the idea of a western and make assuming the world doesn't seem unreasonable 50 years from now, 75 years from now, so let's not close the option to keep it going. ultimately george bush by having a fundamental vision what he wanted the world to look like in the post-cold war world, i argue, managed to keep those chaotic moments from slipping into actual violence and chaos.
he recognized that he did not have the power to keep troops from firing on civilians across the sea but knew he had power to ensure the leaders did not order it which he exercised and he also wanted to ensure that the united states maintained its primary position in the world at the end of the cold war. in fact, i thank you could argue the entire strategic vision for europe in the entire strategic vision for the entire post-cold war world was pushes, that is to say a place we see laid out in subsequent chapters, next lecture in the gulf war, when push decides to put his entire effort by making sure that the post-cold war world does not include sanction for aggression. you will respect the sovereignty and respect united nations mandates. ultimately, bush calls this his new world order which did not
give him any pus in the polls at all because it just didn't sound new. i have to tell you, it wasn't in this is actually the last point and really the essence of bush, the man that never questioned ideas or fundamental or never questioned the billions of american leadership in the values of the american espoused, his new world order was simply nothing more than franklin roosevelt's which is to say cooperative security, founded at the united nations, respect for sovereignty, risk for free trade, replace where markets can expand in democracies to expand in countries could choose their own way of living and ultimately democratic in the end but that was roosevelt's vision and that was the vision for the war that he fought in. to his was the vision stolen from the world when the cold war began. we could've implemented in 1945
the cold war got in the way we remove that barrier and let's go back to original purposes. bush's vision was the vision of 1945, the new world order was the new world order but the champion to implement it for one important reason which is that credit diplomacy we all survived an empire collapsing which should not have been the case. thank you all. [applause] congratulations that was a brilliant presentation. really fantastic.
[applause] in about 15 minutes or so for questions and answers we have a roaming instead of a microphone we have to set up. come up and present a question or make a remark jeff will respond to it and let me remind you that we have a table set up in the lobby area and when we are finished with that part of the program he will be delighted to sign as many copies as you might be fine for christmas presents have you of when it was new. i will turn it over to you,. >> earlier in your talk he seems to give all the credit to mikhail gorbachev for moving the soviet union in the direction of
society but if you read the three volume memoir and his sons are gay you get a clear idea that in a way just set the precedent that then gorbachev could go further and one example of that was that just saw the need to resolve the domestic economy in order to do that he realizes soviet union can afford large military force to remove the military in missile strategy which was a lot cheaper and therefore use the money saved to start reforming the domestic economy and do you think that's a reasonable interpretation because serge has a reason to rescue his father's legacy but i think there's a lot. >> there's two elements to what you asked.
do we give just responsibility for ending the cold war after he died or 20 years after he died and no i don't think so. this is an interesting question of how we assign responsibility and give responsibility to great tectonic forces in history because it would be foolish for anyone, myself included, to say this person and did the cold war and it required thousands of tens of thousands and honest people in crowd throughout the world acting in concert with leaders and labor leaders and acting in concert with religious leaders and if you wanted to make your poor enders you have to include the pope for his work in poland calling out communism and have to include gorbachev and reagan and bush and a lot of people. my contention is that gorbachev
ekes out all the other in the end for doing more than anyone else but please do not mistake when i say gorbachev and in the cold war and that is not what i'm saying. he began a process implemented the process which others had recognized and implemented a process if you will he pushed the snowball down the hill which became an avalanche. >> people like james baker wrote the politics of diplomacy and broke their book and talk to the newspapers that have been released and how they changed our knowledge and our impression of what really happened and i'm curious about your thoughts on the memoirs of our leading statesman involved in the foreign policy and whether it's your perception that those
memoirs are in fact substantially inaccurate because they did not reflect all of this new information that has come to light. >> there's a lot that the memoirs are not able to reveal because it still classified though i will tell you as a person who spends a lot of time thinking about how broken our national declassification system is in thinking about our national fetish secrecy and in fact we saw a great documents released on this the most important thing released in that was not who did it, we already knew that, but the most important thing was confirmation that the cia was holding back documents because they didn't want them revealed because they were embarrassing and they used the phrase sources and methods to say you cannot have these and that's a phrase no one is allowed to a sale and you cannot look at these documents to be say you can't because it's too
dangerous and we now know because of the jfk documents that is being used for political reasons and not for national security reasons. so, there's a lot of things they cannot say in the memoirs and really bothers me when they begin to poke documents that are still classified that subsequently we cannot use as baker and all of those memoirs do because they have more access than i do when they are initially right so at the first grasp of history it's great but what we learn from the new document there's substance and frankly we also learn don't tell them i said this but we also learned that people shockingly right memoirs to make themselves look good. [laughter] so in baker's contention, as one example, one critical example, james baker were here tonight would be upset because he would
say i did not give a promise. i could show him the document that said i do not give a promise and say that is not what i meant. i could show him the other document where he said i will give you a promise and he would say it there really wasn't a promise because it was never written down. in his memoirs there's no discussion of problems so we can leave out in memoirs things we decide exactly the way we want to describe them as much as we can put in things that will give us a sense of the way we wish things would have been. one other thing about memoirs which is critical and oral history in general never ever, ever, trust anything anyone tells you, first of all, about the past but also more fundamentally anything in a memoir or anything in an oral history that cannot be verified by two other senses. but always trust the interpretation which is to say
the memoir is really great for allowing people the opportunity to say i have been thinking about this for a while and here is what matters. that is good stuff because they tell you what you had a lunch on tuesday don't believe that but they tell you i've been thinking which is great, that one can take to the bank. >> professor, i was wondering if our president missed a number of opportunities to hasten the demise, if not the complete destruction of the soviet union and soviet empire after the second for, for instance, is seeking a berlin and the riots of the 1953 where we stood by and did nothing, 56, budapest and hungary and i'm thinking how we the disastrously made the mistake and misread the fidel castro phenomenon and of course bay of pigs two years later to thinking nixon and of course we
had vietnam and 68 but nixon could have perhaps influenced nato or the european allies if you want to call them that to do more, more support or perhaps material to help the prague revolutionary is and i can't think of any past 68 wondering if there was a lot of opportunities missed or if the presidents were occupied or fearful or what? >> let me put the question back on you which is what would you like them to do. before you answer, what would you like them to done; that would not have led to immediate nuclear war? >> no troops. >> okay. >> but i think we could have had better covert support which i don't think we gave any of course the bay of pigs we could have stopped because we could
have gone right in there and probably one with more air support, more air cover perhaps, better trained troops, i don't know. >> i think your argument works best for keep up because they're well outside the securities fear and the bay of pigs is before they put a nuclear weapon's. one of the things we now know about that. that is important to remember is how lucky we were that kennedy decided not to use force despite the advice from all his advisers because his advisers were largely telling him, i'm sorry am jumping ahead but into the cuban missile crisis his advisers were largely telling him you should use force now before the soviets had time to put tactical nuclear there. we now know not only had they already put tactical weapons there they had given command control down to the tactical level in the midst of a conflict which is to say the moment that american marines are coming on
shore it was not christian for castro to make the decision but the kernel history are being killed to make the nuclear strike. my point is that in all of those situations are president followed prudent policies, i think, that tried to make sure that if nothing else we didn't instigate something worse. >> it just seems like 45 years after the second world war the rotten fruit just fell from the tree despite and we didn't really do that much in those 45 years. >> yes, to which i would say each of those presence would respond and i didn't have to console a whole bunch of widows for those 45 years. >> you said our system classification of records is broken. could you expand on that and
what would you suggest may be change in moving forward if you could wave a magic wand -- >> i would gladly expand upon that. every other civilized country in the world, including all of her allies, essentially takes the following approach to declassification which is to say after a certain period of time, typically 25-30 years, things will be declassified. unless the government can come up with a really good reason to show why it shouldn't be because listen, i believe they should be secret, don't get me wrong. i'm no wikileaks person there are things that need to be held tightly in things that should not be revealed for political, strategic, personal, lively reasons but the government should have to show why. whether to adjudge or to a credit or panel of some kind. in our country we do things exactly the opposite which is to say after 25 years if you can
identify the document exist you may ask permission for them to be given. as i already demonstrated from our jfk experience from a moment ago i have zero confidence and i say this with full love and admiration for my friends in the national archives, i have zero confidence that when the document leave their hands and go back to the authorities who created the documents in standard english issue with your document with a meeting with the defense women in cia and some of the commerce department from 1956 and you wanted you have to get 2017 commerce department, defense department and cia to all agree it should be let out and i have zero confidence that they are applying logical consistent rule to what they choose to declassify first
because there is no upside to letting something go. no one ever gets fired for saying you can't have a document. you only get fired for letting the wrong one go and secondly, they have no interest in revealing things as we have seen that are fundamentally embarrassing. consequently i would urge my magic wand that adopt the system that all other civilized countries basically use which i would also point out is a heck of a lot cheaper so it's a win win, as far as i'm concerned. but as i said more fundamentally, our country has a national fetish with secret information and secret documents and i think in large part that is because of our revulsion at the exposure of our entire life in this new media age where we can find out everything about you, you, you buy paid enough money to google. we are so worried about keeping
something secret that we just hope the government to keep secrets. even though those are the secrets of the society that our civil society actually needs out. >> my question is theoretical history. let's say the soviet union became a nato partner, how do you think the chinese would have responded? >> oh man. i play out 17 counterfactual is to get to that point. i'm not 16. if the russians had become a nato partner or at least continued on the partnership for peace project that began as a steppingstone, if you will, to full nato inclusion at the end of the cold war that is to say
let's get these people talking together, the russians and the british and the french in the text of arkansas before we join you and let's get them talking -- if we continue down the path and continued as allies i thank you can make a fair case that would have essentially put anybody who has any great power outside in the very same situation that we had the soviets in during the cold war which is to say they would have been contained. that is, there is enough power with pressure and western europe and the united states banded together that no one will must and it could expand if we don't want them to. other countries would have to be non- belligerent or come to feel. it is almost as though you could suggest the way to counter a large growing great power that has belligerent aspirations
would be to create economic and social governmental and ultimately military system of alliances that would allow you to leverage the power of numerous allies to your advantage. try to do that this pacific today i would call that the transpacific partnership. which of course as you know is no more and nobody is happier about that than the chinese. i thank you all for your time. i appreciate it. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the c-span bus tour continues its 50 capital support in january with stops in raleigh, columbia, atlanta, in montgomery. on each visit will speak with
officials during our washington journal program. follow the tour and join us on generally 16 at 9:30 a.m. eastern for our stop in raleigh, north carolina what our washington journal guest is north carolina attorney general, josh stein. >> hello. we are going to get started here tonight. my name is seth, director of the communications forum and a couple of announcements before we start. first, communications forum are held three times a semester, six times a year and if you would like to be informed of future events there is a sign-up sheet over there, put your name and e-mail and will promise that will only send you news about our events a year