tv The Presidency Cold War Recollections CSPAN November 20, 2018 9:34pm-9:55pm EST
>> in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by the american cable television company, and today, we continue to bring unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, and the supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc from around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> next, on the presidency, former czech republic president vaclav klaus offers his thoughts about the cold war politics and the personality of the reagan era, and his assessment of their historical importance. this is from a conference organized by the white house writers group titled ronald reagan and john paul second, the partnership that changed
the world. calling his remarks, we continue the conference coverage with a discussion about the cold war legacies of the president and the pole. later, remarks from the u.s. ambassador to the vatican. but first, vaclav klaus and his remarks are about 50 minutes. [ applause ] >> with the soviet union invaded czechoslovakia in 1968, our next guest was forced out of the academy of sciences. to anyone years later, he became a member of the civic form. three years after that, he became the first non-communist czechoslovakian minister of finance. to call him a non-communist does not even begin to do him justice. a member of this society, he is
an ardent advocacy of free markets. he served twice as prime minister and two terms as president of the czech republic after his country had endured more than four decades of faceless communist bureau cans. he was then presented as a man who knew his mind and how to express it. no one, and i think this is fair to say, no leader on the planet made more extensive or vigorous use of freedom of speech or prompted more debate in his own country. today vaclav klaus oversees a free-market think tank in prague , and lady's enjoyment, a fuel that said hero of the cold war and the former president of the czech republic vaclav klaus .[ applause ]
>> good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. many thanks for both organizing this conference, for bringing all of us here, and giving me a chance to address this distinguished audience. i am pleased to be here because i find the topic of this highly important both for europe and for america. ronald reagan and pope john paul ii, they did change the world and significantly influence europe. as a result of it, the lives of people like me, of people from the former communist central and eastern europe, i am always
trying to maximize my advantages, but this time, i am afraid i have a comparative disadvantage here. i am not and i don't pretend to be an expert, a lifelong expert of ronald reagan or own john paul ii. nevertheless, they are part of my life and my personal experience. let me say a few words in this spirit. let me start with two factual remarks. first, i am not convinced that we should speak so strongly as it has been done during the whole day, to speak about
partnership between ronald reagan and john paul ii. as i see it, it was at the very most an implicit partnership only. they defended freedom and traditional western conservative attitudes and values. there is no doubt that the sin are effect of their parallel exhibit was considerable. we in the communist central europe felt it very strongly. most of them was a great inspiration for us. our communist leaders on the contrary, they regarded them as a threat. this was my first comment. second, the title of the conference mentions ronald
reagan and john paul ii, two very important names, but the title doesn't mention the third name, which was at the time the less important. i have in mind the name of margaret thatcher, who i believe deserves to be mentioned as well. reagan and thatcher are politicians. john paul ii was the pope. he been defeated from the opportunity to experience the reality of communism in his native poland. these three individuals, more than anyone else, changed europe and the world. some people were probably want to stress especially their extraordinary role in bringing communism to an end. yes and no.
yes because there is no doubt about it. no because it seems to me they did much more i concentrate on the end of communism only, and when speaking at a conference in the ronald reagan presidential library in california in november of 2009, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall, i made the point that the european so-called helsinki progress was toothless and naove to bring any results. the only real help from outside that accelerating the final corpse of communism came from ronald reagan and margaret thatcher they understood that
words alone were not enough to bring the end of this evil empire they understood more than anyone else does the soviet system and the soviet expansionism had to be resisted not just considered wrong. the role of the three exceptional individuals can't be denied. we should remember it again and again, and in spite of this, i always keep stressing that communism collapsed. the main cause behind the collapse was the internal problems of the regime itself. at the end of the 1980s, communism was already weak, soft, old, and emptied of all
meaning, and that there was almost no one seriously defending it. however, ronald reagan, margaret thatcher, and john paul ii, if the solution would have taken much longer, an hour ago, it would be's mentioned the same point and he said it would have lasted decades longer. i disagree. i would think in terms of years , not just decades. he said the three individuals did not just help us in the central and eastern europe to get rid of communism, they did much more. date noticeably change the west itself. they understood what
was wrong with the relatively prosperous as compared to cell. they look with critical eyes on the victories that the leftist ideology that began to dominate europe and the west. they dare to oppose it. they had strong ideological views and very loudly defended western conservative values. they reflected and expressed the wisdom of ordinary citizens, not of local elites. with this background, they succeeded you change the bite of public thinking. they were not content pursuing
pragmatic policy only. they were able to inspire. ronald reagan in america, and margaret thatcher in britain, they returned to the people they almost already lost belief in capitalism and free markets, which was in full opposition to the prevailing spirit in your. especially in western europe at that time. it was different in central and eastern europe. in the last stages of communism, ronald reagan, margaret thatcher, and john paul ii, they was regarded as heroes in our part of the world. they do not pay much attention to european politicians such as
some of the other politicians. they was no inspiration to us. we did not expect very much from them. they did not stand firmly and explicitly against communism. i do regret that the west didn't use the fall of communism to make decisive steps forward. the end of communism proved to be a crucial moment in a positive direction, only for us or mostly for us, in the former eastern bloc. after traumatic decades of
operation and frustration, we were forced to go through. we very much enjoyed the burst of freedom and the democracy, and used it to fundamentally change our society. the westfield a refreshing relief when the communism disappeared. the end of ideology and the end of conflict of visions. it was nightly supposed that the western liberal system would prevail all over the world. and that it will last forever. that proved to be fatally wrong and misleading.
it led to recklessness and irresponsibility. the resulting loss of attention with a shift from the west to the left, and to the dominance of the new left and the liberally progressive left, which together took control of all mainstream political parties, and has become a chief factor in the formation of new ones. we, who spent decades in communism, are very frustrated to see that the pendulum has returned to its long-term position, which is very far to
the left, from ronald reagan and margaret thatcher. to my great regret, the impact of this unit and exceptional trio of truly legendary personalities turned out not to be permanent. it brought about only short terms or p have medium-term, the original effect has already been fully cooperated. the prominent personalities such as microphone, or the new pope, or the other names, are more or less forgotten.
something that comes because the mankind deserves it. in this respect i am rather pessimistic. thank you. coming up on the c-span network, on c-span thursday at 8:00 p.m. supreme court justice elena kagan followed by chief justice john roberts. friday at 8:00, chris christie and others discussed the opioid epidemic. saturday at 8:00, photojournalist talk about their favorite photographs taken on the campaign trail. sunday at 6:30 p.m., gun laws
and self-defense. on c-span 2, thursday at 8:30 retired general stanley mcchrystal talks about 13 great leaders. friday at 8:00 p.m., political writer derek hunter, saturday at 8:00 eastern pulitzer prize- winning photographer talks about photos she has taken in the middle east. sunday at 9:00 p.m. pulitzer prize-winning journalist on american history television on c-span 3. thursday at 5:30 p.m. american artifacts celebrating the first english thanksgiving at berkeley, virginia. friday at 6:30 p.m., on the presidency, reflections on barbara bush. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, how the pilgrims became part of america's founding story. sunday at 9:00 a.m.
constitutional scholars talk about how the u.s. constitution defines impeachable offenses for the president. thanksgiving weekend on the c- span networks. listen to c-span weekly podcast this week part 1 of a interview with three known presidential historians. douglas brinkley, edna medford and written -- greg tick -- and richard smith. >> i see him as in andrew johnson like president. meaning somebody who has impeachments swirling around him and someone who is not able to heal a racial divide in the country. >> the is a real animosity between the press and the president as early as john adams because he is the person who is pushing towards the act
of 1798. what that does is it actually tries to prevent criticism of the government. >> find it at our free c-span radio app. c-span, where history of tolds daily. in 1979 fan was created as a public service by america's cable company. today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. up next, on the presidency, we continue coverage from the wh