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tv   The Presidency Ronald Reagan Conservatives the Cold War  CSPAN  August 28, 2020 10:57pm-12:01am EDT

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up next and look at president reagan's's foreign policy during the soviet union policy. marcus which are explains how they downplayed their criticism of the president, during this decade. as they look to reinvent their relationship with the 40th president. >> good morning, and welcome to the montgomery lawyers chapter of the federal society.
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the federalist society is founded on the freedoms that the separation of governmental powers is central to our constitution and that is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to tell you what the law is, not what it should be. the society seeks to promote both an awareness of these principles and to further their application. now, you may notice i have an adam smith tie on today, and that is not because we have an economic historian coming to speak to us, but it is because adam smith was principally an educator. he was a professor and a private tutor, and he was beloved by his students. and marcus witcher, you have seen throughout the day, is known as a very exuberant, enthusiastic educator. i first met marcus several years ago at an institute, or you may say a conference, i spoke, and then he followed me. he later told me, and i mean years later, that he was so
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relieved that i went first, because i did not do such a good job, i made it so much easier for him to follow. [laughter] i was an easy act to follow. he was very pleased by this. but marcus has spent the last five years writing this book on ronald reagan, and ronald reagan has become a signal, he has become an icon for conservative spirit we have the presidential debate for the republican party held at the reagan library. it is a de facto pre requisite for candidates to air their opinion and pay homage to ronald reagan. but, as marcus likes to point out, there is a disconnect between the way conservatives thought about ronald reagan in the 1980's, in his own time and space, and the way reagan has been mythologized, the way we think about reagan today,
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reagan the icon, reagan the simple. marcus and i were at a philadelphia society meeting once, and we were added reception, and don devine, who was head of these service in the reagan administration, made some comment about the reagan administration to marcus, and marcus said "actually, reagan did not cut domestic spending, " and they got into this argument about how much reagan actually cut, and it was a funny moment, for those of you who have seen don devine on television, the is those who seen donned a violent television, he's a very animated person and a very a very animated person and a very adamant person. adamant person, marcus is as well, and it was pretty robust argument and markets as a very exciting well and it's pretty one to be robust argument in a very exciting weighing one to be standing standing next to next to. reagan's image was, to a great degree self-made. it was very aware of his legacy and sought to frame narratives about his presidency. during his presidency, the cold war united conservatives in a sort of fusion assist way.
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some you may recall the fusion east project as it was outlandish frank meyer. that united people as disparate libertarians neoconservatives and evangelicals they all came together because of a common enemy. but after the cold war, we sort of lost that fusion isn't. so kurds conservatives today exist in a fractured state. we have neoconservatives, we have those who celebrate american greatest we have libertarians and classical liberal liberal conservatives, we have local lists we have invalid that evangelical's. and in the current political climate, they are not as united as they were under the reagan presidency. and a lot of that has to do with the cold war. so here to talk to us today about the cold war reagan conservatives, and the end of the cold war, is doctor marcus which are. he is a scholar at the
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university of arkansas research and economics otherwise known as acre. he teaches in the history department in addition to being in engaging and enthusiastic speaker, he specializes in political, economic and intellectual history from 1920 to this to the president is focuses on modern american conservatism and his book on reagan comes out this month november 2019. he earned his bachelors at the university central arkansas and received his ph.d. from the university of alabama. this is when all the elephants in the in the room who. doctor which are offers classes in modern american history including a history of economic thaw and u.s. economic development. he's published in a white variety of places including white house journal, and his co-editor of a three volume anthology including public choice analysis of american
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history. he's currently researching for the next book felling the regan revolution,. please join me in welcoming doctor which are. (aqpplause3) well thank you so much for having me. it's a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to be talking to the montgomery chapter of the federal society is done so much in shaping the american judiciary and played such a large role and conservative movement. it's a great pleasure for me be today. as allen said documented hall and be talking about the reagan conservatism's and the end of the cold war. i want to start off by asking you to think about what do you think ronald reagan stood for? what defines ronald reagan free is? i think for many, many conservatives, what defines ron reagan to them isn't here is to
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principles, and unflinching it adherence to principles conservative principle specifically that he never sort of deviated from. its inception of reagan really, really started to emerge around 2005, 2006 in the wake of george w. bush is dismal presidency from the point of curve view of conservatives. he became very disillusion with george w. bush. want to talk today about how conservatives viewed reagan during the eighties oftentimes they viewed him with frustration, contempt, anger because not more was being done to sort of achieve the conservative policy goals. i was really surprised when, i was researching for my dissertation, because i want to stephen a was book and i thought there was a nice paragraph worry basically talked about all of these concert conservatives who are ups and frustrated with reagan. then he went on told along sort of story about the reagan years i found out very fascinating.
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i found that aside and several other books i took it to my dissertation advisers and they said the sounds like an actual topic goal research. it so out of that research came the book. regan, the struggle for true conservatism. that's when we want to be talking about today. so we'll go ahead we'll talk about how conservatives you view reagan today, and then we'll go back in time and take a look at how conservatives feed reagan join the 19 eighties. like i said oftentimes with frustration, and even content when it came to his cold war foreign policies. and then we'll talk a little bit about how reagan wanted to be remembered and will end up with me gesturing towards how conservatives the and to construct reagan legacy and later the reagan mid. i really love this quote from matt purple i wish i had written it but i did not. my purple road in the churchill we miss remember. i think it really can address
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what i'm trying to do in the book. purple said historical memory is like a great compact, or crushing nuances and flashing wrinkles until a person or event is made a perfect morsel for popular consumption. i think this is largely happened with ron reagan today with modern conservatives. he's been compacted down a simplified version of himself. maybe a purest version of himself and all of the nuances in the pragmatic policies of the 19 eighties have largely being forgotten. this is really personified by w. w. already. this emerged in 2005. and coulter said, you know, for christians it, is, bit from serves, it is w. w. already, what would reagan do? of course this really took off in 2005 and took off in 2007 the lead up to the republican
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primary of 2008. a founded on this and they say would what we're wrong reagan do today? go and amazon combined www. slip, you can buy yourself a t-shirt as you see up here. you can buy up yourself a bumper sticker put on your car you can buy a mouse pad like the one of the four left, that says if we can resurrect and, we would reelect them. right, the idea of zombie reagan running in the 2020 primary. but nonetheless, conservatives around 2005, 2006 or seven began to reconstruct reagan as a conservative purist. and they began to sort of claim, maybe even before that, that ronald reagan reagan won the cold war by sticking to his conservative principles, and that reagan, through his conservatism, gets the credit ultimately for the dissolution of the soviet empire and the end of the cold war. so today what we're going to do
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will go back in and see what conservatives rock to save reagan's policy in the 19 eighties and how that is quite different what they claim today. so what is my manuscript to? well my manuscript details the complex and often tense relationship that existed between resident reagan and conservatives. and acknowledges the wide range of purse difference perspectives on the right. i think that is something that is unique to my book i think other historians have done a good job of that is well that is something i try to grapple with that as well, all of the differences within the conservative movement. i do not think historians have done enough in understanding conservatism and all of his various i iterations. and also questions whether or not the reagan years were actually the triumphant conservatism i. don't think this is to actually think the 1990s of the was a trump. the clinton administration to many many of the things that maybe not on purpose, maybe
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begrudgingly, after looking a post. but nonetheless, the clinton administration president clinton the ultimate get welfare reform, or they get the balanced budget etc. so big questions as to where we should often be the 19 eighties is a triumph of conservatism. many conservatives did not see it as a triumph of conservatism at least in the 19 eighties. finally the book explains misgivings among the american conservatives and it tends to explain the creation of the reagan lacing or the evolution of the legacy in the creation of the reagan myth. so i get this flight slide here i was lucky enough to visit a vast and a number of archives including ronald reagan's presidential library which is a great place to to visit. and hard times? right actually going through
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the reagan papers, specifically the martin back would files. if anybody has any questions we can return to this event during the q&as. so just sort of as a primer so that every so everyone here is not upset with. neither few for schools-a-thon about what an in the cold war. first is probably the most dominant which is mcal gorbachev through his policies and glass miles to deserves most of the credit for the end of the cold war, because inadvertently he undermined the soviet system, undermined the communist party and system, and in doing so destroyed dip fabric of the soviet union and its satellites, basically the control. that's probably the largest school of thought within historical profession within the school of thought reagan is given very little credit for the end of the cold war. there is another school of
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thought the claims reagan actually prolonged the cold war. not only did he not contribute to it, but he prolonged it. simply emboldening emboldening the hard-liners within the soviet land are made more difficult for someone like gorbachev to an ax reform. third school is what we call of reagan victory school. who claimed that rogue reagan won the cold war by basically forcing the soviet union into bankruptcy. they made the collective military buildup in united states to put pressure on the soviets. they could not keep up had to an act reforms it ultimately undid the soviet union. and finally, there emerged sort of emerging this is a school thought i want to belong to, that reagan and gorbachev work together to set the foundation for a peaceful end of the cold war and the dissolution of the soviet empire. i think that gorgeous gorbachev probably deserves most of the credit although he probably
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would not like to take it is an avowed socialist i think his policies under the soviet union, but i think reagan is there is a lot of credit for working with gorbachev to basically establish better relations tonight able gorbachev off to establish those reforms at home. i know i'm speaking to a more conservative audience, so i'm not either of the first to say don't be too angry with me ok? . all right let's go ahead and jump in the 19 eighties. so conservatives were frustrated with reagan's foreign policy throughout the 19 eighties, but they were also really frustrated with other things it reagan introduced in the arena in his first two years of his reagan administration. some are upset with the advanced airborne warning and control system saudi arabia. they thought that this violated israeli national security, and here is israeli prime minister even came out and condemned reagan for the sale. this was reagan's first foreign
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policy and he basically told the prime minister of israel. he basically told the prime minister, listen i am the president of the united states. other countries do not make out foreign policy. you can imagine how well that went over with neoconservatives when reagan made that type of comment. also, on taiwan, reagan accepted china's nine point plan for taiwan, which included reduced wrap and sales from the united states, which are very wedded to taiwan, and still, are in some ways. so many criticize reagan for being sort of soft on china here. thirdly, i did was criticize pacific lee by neoconservatives for his lack of a public response of the imposition of martial law in poland, the crackdown on solidarity. neoconservatives claim that reagan should've done more he should have passed push back
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against the soviet union is with massive embargoes. and they said that he largely did nothing. we know now that there is a new book on sort of reagan in the cia in poland. we know now that reagan was behind the scenes very active in helping support dissident groups within the eastern bloc and he was doing quite a bit actually. at least his administration is doing quite a bit. but it was not public knowledge so people in poland did not know that so the criticizing him for the. they're also criticizing because they thought they had elected him to pursue more aggressive policy against the sauvignon in the first two years they don't really hear that materialize. let's get to some specific criticisms in 1982, norman potter writes a piece in the new york times he writes his piece titled in your conservative anguish over reagan's foreign policy in which he pretty much
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systematically dismisses the idea that reagan had any in kabul assessments in his first year of the presidency. partisan system that the reagan administration had not outline a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish in the cold war they focused on. the economy obviously when. reagan comes into office it's his first concern. getting the economy back on track. they to get some they do get some spending cuts initially and firstly about by large foreign policy conservatives alex, felt that the economic matters, and has it really defined a conservative foreign policy. the result according to patterns, was a vacuum into which had come pouring, against which ronald reagan has stood for so many years. potter its, and continued and
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the first couple years in the regular ministration he had helped the soviet union stabilize but themselves and encouraging the breakup from within it so piercing that actually they pick the soviet union and gave them a podhoretz call and they had tried to convince podhoretz that they were not trying to find détente. which is a cooling with the soviet union. which kissinger had a line in the seventies. it was widely criticized by conservatives, including reagan. and podhoretz what's listening to the president, and after politely a couple times trying to get off the phone, and said yes mister president thank you so much and writes, down later in his memoir that after he had hung up with reagan, he realized that the president was pursuing what he would call, what podhoretz would call détente. even if it's not what reagan would call détente. >> in 1982 the new, right
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publishes an addition of conservative digests in which they systematically criticize the president they criticize him on social issues for not getting the school prayer mandate past and you have social conservatives criticizing the president, you also have others criticizing him because of the balanced budget. which run out in 1982. you also have blindside or,'s where matt reagan because reagan was on the pass to path to raise taxes and you have foreign policy conservatives who are on the people we want
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-- . so has reagan concert deserted the conservatives, you know and this edition of the magazine, it has criticism from across the spectrum, and it's like if you are like i really don't want to it by this argument, you know i would somehow find this which i haven't been able to do on ebay or amazon and hannity right. because that credit, resource and here just a few quotes from the magazine on foreign policy general daniel graham, chairman of the coalition for peace and strength, asserted that there was "very little difference between reagan's policy and carter's policy." another lamented, "we have no strategy for the soviet threat." a general, that served on the reagan defense transition team, declared "i am not disappointed, i am disgusted, " and when asked to rate reagan out of 10,
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he said "i give him a 2 out of 010." mitch, who i was able to meet recently, said "reagan is following the policy of detente. if he were not there, he would be leaving the opposition." he would be leading the opposition of his own party. there is a picture that has reagan sort of chastising, and then reagan is like ok, what did you want, and he says "we would like to buy some grain, " and reagan says "ok, would that be cash or credit? " [laughter] >> you get about him sort of standing up to the soviet union and casting the cold war in moral terms. i think it is really important, in order to understand sort of where we are going to go in the next few slides, i think it is really important to understand what drove ronald reagan in terms of foreign-policy. ronald reagan was an adamant anti-communist. he had credentials in the
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soviet movement. he can quote from "witness, " he does so. he will recite the first page in, like, cabinet meetings, so he is deeply influenced by that, and going back to his time in hollywood, he is an adamant anti-communist, believing they are socially and economically bankrupt, and eventually, right, socialism will collapse upon itself. and most of americans, most americans knew he was an anti-communist. that is what most people knew. something that people missed is that reagan was also a nuclear abolitionist. despite being a cold warrior, and adamant cold warrior, he detested mutual destruction.
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he and margaret thatcher disagreed about this. margaret thatcher held that mutually assured destruction avoided world war iii. reagan thought it was fundamentally immoral, and he wanted to move toward a policy that would not just freeze weapons -- a nuclear freeze -- but eliminate nuclear weapons. and so these two things, right, his anti-communism and his nuclear abolitionism are going to come in conflict with one another when he is in office. he and his memoirs, in his autobiography, claimed these two things always work in tandem with one another. i think that is sort of which will thinking, looking back.
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there are times when you -- how do you get to abolishing nuclear weapons? you probably have to work with soviets in one capacity or another if you are going to get there. he is going to run into problems because of this seemingly paradoxical ideas. soviets do, in 1983, really begin to praise the president. 1983 as the year that conservatives feel that ronald reagan comes into his own in terms of embracing a conservative foreign-policy care that is of course the year that ronald reagan announced the strategic defense initiative, dubbed "star wars" by the critical press, which was to create a missile shield so the united states would not be under the threat of nuclear war. he saw it as a means to abolish those weapons, because in reagan's mind, he always tells gorbachev w technology with, i will share the technology with you, and gorbachev was like, "who is this guy? he is going to share the technology with me." the soviets had this conception of reagan, rightfully, potentially so, that he was radically anti-communist, but he wanted to destroy the soviet system,
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and that he and his administration -- this is where they want to go off the rails -- preemptive nuclear strike in order to destroy they soviet union. in that context, the kgb and people in moscow viewed this very much as a means by which reagan can enact the policy they fear he wants to enact, which is a preemptive strike against the soviet union. it is somewhat ironic that a time, 1983, the year that conservatives are most satisfied with reagan's foreign-policy is also the are that we dub in history "the year of fear, " because of how close the world came to nuclear conflict. reagan also in 1983 deployed 108 pershing to missiles to western europe in keeping with the promise of the carter administration to counter the ss 20 that the soviets had deployed, and reagan is
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escalating his rhetoric, his annual convention of evangelicals, he gets up before the crowd and says listen, you cannot be ambivalent about the cold war, you cannot join the nuclear freeze movement. you have to stand with us. this is a moral war. and he casts the soviet union as the evil empire, and he frames the cold war as a conflict between good and evil, right, good and evil. as of 1983 is the year that conservatives feel like reagan is really embracing their vision for what foreign-policy should be, very combative, stick it to the soviets, but it had a major destabilizing effect on the relations. the year of fear, right, that
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is what i called it, and i called it the year of fear for several reasons, one of which is sdi, which presented a really real danger, at least in the mind of the soviet union, but also the shooting down of the korean airliner that straight into soviet airspace, where it strayed for two hours. the soviets sent fighters because they thought it was an american spy plane initially, they can -- i am not sure what they were thinking, because they had windows, there were lights, it looks like a commercial airliner, but nonetheless, the soviets ultimately shoot down the plane, and onboard, there were 269 passengers, including 63 american, including congressman,
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, they all die in the shooting down. conservative activists immediately hold a press conference denouncing the soviet union and calling on ronald reagan to enact an embargo on technology, human rights activists who were imprisoned, and to embargo grain shipments to the soviet union immediately in response to this. reagan is on vacation when this happens. he had to cut his vacation short. but he and secretary schulz talked about it on the phone, and he said "we have got to be careful here this could escalate very quickly."so once again, reagan guns forward, he denounces the soviet union, he calls them "barbaric, " probably the best -- it is extraordinarily harsh, but it is not enough for conservatives. they said we did not elect a dictionary.
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we elected a commander in chief. reagan does really good at talking again but does not seem to be willing to really embrace what they think are his actual values and principles when it comes to foreign policy. it's going to really rattle reagan in conjunction with the soviet response to archer. reagan cannot understand how the soviets could be flying, or a korean airliner for two hours and neve contact the united states. what if this had been something bigger? would they have not gone through a back channel? this is problematic. this can lead to major consequences if it was on a larger scale. on november, 2, 1983, the united states and its allies conducted able archer to test command-and-control procedures and designed to entail the highest rankings of west german governments, margaret thatcher's and reagan and thatcher were supposed to be part of it. they decided at the last minute
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that might trigger the soviets. nonetheless they went through with it with the lower officials to run able archer. and, even know it was not reagan and thatcher, this really, the kgb immediately says this is it. this is the preemptive strike. this has got to be it. they activate code red. they are ready, they are on high alert. nuclear war is coming. we got to be ready for launch. so, for the duration of able archer, for nine days, there is this tension. word about that gets back to reagan, because the united states has a double agent in london.
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by the end of november, early december, reagan is getting this information to the soviet union is comprised of people who believe the united states is capable of a preemptive strike and that their command-and-control procedures and the soviet union are so poor, per the kl007 incident that it might lead to nuclear annihilation. reagan begins to question how hard he should push the soviets. reagan was also influenced by abc's "the day after, " a made for tv movie which demonstrated what would happen in the case of a nuclear conflict. after he gets an advance copy from abc, and he watches at camp david. the president is amazingly influenced by film. it resonated with him in a way that all the briefing books wouldn't. if you give my briefing in film, he would hold onto it and repeat it later on. so, film seems to have had a major effect on how reagan vi ewed, sort of, how he
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understood things. the "day after" really giving him an idea of how things would look. in the midst of the able archer getting back to him, he is also watching "the day after." it left him greatly depressed and he was greatly aware of the world -- the from the nuclear precipice. later on he was also briefed for the first time and the united states nuclear war plan. by the way reagan had nothing to do with the football he. was lucky take that away. president bush has to be sworn in before we get rid of that. he doesn't want anything to do with that he is. briefed on the nation's nuclear war plan. and he recorded that it was a sobering experience and in his memory was explained that in the sequence of events paralleled those in the abc movie. i think all of these things came together to really resonate with reagan by the end
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of 1983 that his administration needed to take a different tone with the soviets. not because they were wrong about calling the soviet union the evil empire that because it wasn't bringing about the results they wanted to achieve. the day that able archer ended, november 11th, reagan made his first public appeal for the total elimination of a nuclear ornaments. he says i believe there can only be one policy for preserving our presage civilization nuclear warm must never be fought. i speak for everyone when i say that our dream will be the nuclear weapons or vanished in the face of the. pretty radical rhetoric. i wonder how conservatives would respond of jimmy carter and said those. things i am not sure. in january 1984, schultz and reagan over christmas break basically talk with one another and reagan says put together a policy, we will have a new
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policy to announce in the new year. so in january of 1984 the reagan administration shift its public policy regarding the soviet union reagan asserted that the two superpowers must establish a better working relationship marked by greater cooperation understanding i think this is really important because if i take you guys back to that slide right, where i talked about the different groups of history augury. there is one that basically says reagan in play any role in the end of the cold war. well this policy shift took place 15 months before gorbachev became general secretary. it's not his fault didn't want to play ball. it's not his fault true nickel hope that model wins the 1984 election. but nonetheless it's, very evident to me with the research that reagan, initiated this
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policy shifts public policy. shift in 1984. and so once my cale gorbachev is general secretary, once he comes into power right, and he famously tells ronald reagan, that this is someone we can do business with, mick hale gorbachev, the first soviet leader board after the october revolution. my cale gorbachev, sort of a social reformer, mikael gorbachev amounted comes in the power in the soviet union has dismal economic numbers, mass drunkenness problems, mass cultural social decline, afghanistan, the war and afghanistan raging which the americans are making extraordinarily difficult on the soviets. he has to do something about the condition of the soviet union. so his goal is to implement these policies of glass meals to try to emphasize more consumer goods over military spending. but in order to do that, he has to have an easing of tensions with the united states. he has to have an easing
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tensions with the united states. another thing pushing gorbachev in this direction is the price oil prices. they had they had rode the high of oil prices in the seventies, but oil prices a decline dramatically in the 19 eighties. reagan and gorbachev decide immediate george uneven 1985. like a tell my students not a great deal was accomplished in terms of policy outcomes in geneva. there were no reductions or anything like that, but what happened in geneva is that gorbachev and reckon got into the same room together and began to talk to one another and they developed a relationship and then began to sort of develop this relationship and mistrust that would matter so much to the end of the cold war. as reagan said, right, we don't have these weapons because we hate one another necessarily. we have these weapons because we miss trust one another.
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if we have trust maybe we can start to work towards some type of an agreement. a reagan legion, even administration is hopeful, schultz is all for this went better than expected. reagan got along with gorbachev. sure he probably told some soviet jokes it gorbachev did not appreciate. by large they got a lot. gorbachev is always complaining about reagan making the soviet jokes that were extraordinarily offensive to. the guys in artifact i don't know what to do with him but he seems to be genuine when he talks about nuclear disarmament, so we should continue to work with them. so there is this hopefulness, in this administration that they are going to be able to come back at reykjavik in 1986 and maybe make a deal. conservatives are also hearing this and they are extraordinarily scared that this might actually be the case. that reagan might sort of give away sti. he might bargain away the strategic defense initiative in
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exchange for nuclear reductions so. conservatives are. writing riding the administration and criticizing him ministration and publishing op-eds. reagan has to have the grassroots leaders to the white house and the major conservatives and the senate to the house he stands up in front of the group and it gives us nice eloquent speech about how mcconnell gorbachev is a new type of leader and they can trust them. he is mr. conservative. and he finishes and there's silence. he's not used to that. not from the people who were supposed to be his most adamant supporters. when he leave the room, there's a real sort of disconnect between conservative activists and president reagan himself. he promises them though that he will not bargain away sti at reykjavik. so, when he shows up at
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reykjavik and human gorget chaff echo swimmingly. well they were talking and raking rigging quips, we can meet back here in ten years will will destroy the last nuclear weapon together gorbea right? it will be just wonderful because all nuclear weapons will be gone. that's how optimistic reagan is that they will get something done bigot reykjavik they align a deal that would be a major reduction or complete reduction in intermediate weapons, but they break up. each group goes its separate ways to regroup, talkative figured out before they come back to the devil to make a deal. and when they come back to the deal, gorbachev says he has one condition. sti must be limited to the laboratory for ten years. if you will agree mister president that sti must be limited to the laboratory for ten years we can sinus agreement today. reagan is furious. reagan is absolutely furious.
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there were supposed to be any conditions. he feels betrayed. so he puts on his iconic white coat any leaves in walks out. and conservatives hale reagan for the search event for us saying no, for sticking up for sti, and a conservative vision of the missile shield and whatnot. the reality is though that most people in the pentagon would've told president reagan and secretary schultz that sti was more than ten years away from being out of the laboratory anyways. so i'm not convinced that walking away from the deal reykjavik had any significant value. but he had promised conservatives he would not sell them out and he didn't solemn out. conservatives chair they think this is great. we didn't get an arms control agreement we didn't get rid of sti this is fine. so, reagan walks out of reykjavik. let the teams continue to talk.
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secretary schultz continues to talk with his counterpart and a negotiate. and eventually they carried out another summit in washington. and response to reports the reagan administration is going to sign and in intercontinental ballistic missile treaty with the soviets national review i have a right wing wing of bought like runneth addition which they criticize reckon in the inf treaty. ran in addition call reagan suicide pact. feature criticism from jack, camp and we kissinger richard nixon. it features free parts the treaty was not viable. to left the soviets with a significant advantage. and three they question whether or not the treaty was more divided by domestic political concerns. does anybody know what i'm talking about? iran contra right? a president reagan was making this deal not because he
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believed in it but rather because he was so unpopular in that moment. his poll numbers was so far down he was making this deal for political reasons. nixon and kissinger, for their part by the way i believe to my knowledge, i believe this is the first time kissinger and nixon who released james stephen since watergate. they thought of that important they come out together and criticize president reagan for his native foreign policy. nixon and kissinger insisted than any western leader who indulges the soviets disingenuous fantasies of nuclear free world courts unimaginable perils. and it was, they concluded that while the president wanted to really be remembered as a peacemaker reagan needed to remember that however he may be held in today's headlines, the judgment of history would severely condemn a false piece. national review was not the only organization that was criticizing the inf treaty. the new rights took out, under
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the leadership of howard phillips, the president of the conservative caucus took out a full page ad in conservative newspapers across the country. this is got to the my favorite source. is my favorite source in the entire book, because it's got a picture of if you take a look at, it of neville chamberlain, got a picture of ronald reagan, at a picture of adolf hitler, and a picture of my cale gorbachev. it says, appeasement is a as unwise in 1988 as it was in 1938. help us defeat the reagan gorbachev imf treaty. is a conservative called neville children that is the biggest until it'll be given is that you are neville chamberlain. that you sell out you're going to sell out the world to hitler. this comparison of reagan to neville chamberlain is quite profound. senate conservatives pores
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propose hole back modifications and modifications to torpedo the imf treaty. they are unsuccessful part of the strategy. they they were trying to show the president we might not be able to defeat this time the matter not golfer anymore reductions. with the exception vice president george bush, every gop presidential hopeful opposed the treaty, many of them running to the right in 1988 of reagan. and jack camp, our good friend over there on the left with the football former quarterback, blasted the speech labeling regions treaty a nuclear munich. pretty harsh rhetoric. here is some wonderful, wonderful quotes for our good friends on a new right, our social conservative friends. howard phillips explain ronald reagan is a very weak man with a strong wife and a strong staff and reagan was a useful idiot for soviet propaganda.
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richard vigorously another activists asserted that reagan is now aligned with his former adversaries, the liberals the democrats in the soviets. we feel alienated abandon and rejected by the president. vigorous call reagan and apologized and unexplained the imf treaty a splitting of the black it. it didn't turn out to be the case another activists labeled reagan a weaken president and not in a position to make moral judgments again about gorbachev. and so conservative outrage, conservative criticism of the i am f treaty was uniform across the agility ideological spectrum of radiance treaty. ultimately the inf treaty gets passed in the senate and ultimately reduces a sophie american stockpiles by 5%. which doesn't sound like that
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much but this is the first time in the cold war that we reduced nuclear weapons. major, major achievement, setting the united states and the soviet union on a path toward other treaties such a start. the inf treaty was one of his foreign policy achievements. i would say is the form policy achievement the principal want. but in order to get that agreement with the soviet union he had to ignore his harshest critics who were conservatives. he had to ignore them he had to ignore their complaints and goes on way. gorbachev, schultz and reagan credit inf and that treaty and the relationship that reagan built with gorbachev to run towards enabling a peaceful and to the cold war. this was key for setting the stage for the end of the cold war. this is probably the best quote and the entire powerpoint, corsi of george will. writing in news week near the
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end of profit president reagan second term, george will lamented how wildly around reagan is about what is happening moscow. reagan has accelerated the moral disarmament of the west, actual disarmament will follow, by elevating wishful thinking to the status of philip gloss philosophy. we'll explain the december 8th, today the inf treaty was signed, will be remembered as a date the cold war was lost,. that one didn't hold up for a wall, george. , but, nonetheless, by the time reagan leaves office many conservatives are looking at for one another and they are saying, what did we achieve? we got tax cuts. but did we fundamentally change the trajectory of the united states? and many of them conclude, no, we didn't. we didn't succeed in this
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endeavor. not only that, george h.w. bush is about to be elected president. that's only going to further sort of frustrate them because many of them will be shown the door in the bush white house. so, there is this sort of belief that we haven't really achieved what they had set out to achieve. they hadn't transfered the country the same way fdr had in the 1930's. i want to pivot, i don't have a ton of time, but want to show you how reagan wanted to frame his own legacy because it is also very different from what conservatives claim the reagan legacy should be today. how did ronald reagan think about his own cold war foreign-policy legacy and what does that mean? in in order, this part of the book, i went to the reagan library and look at the exhibits. reagan actually worked with the archivists in order to create
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those, the museum exhibits. he wrote the text. a lot of it is taken from his diary. he played an active role in putting together any resume. i--putting together the museum. i draw from his public speeches at the time. let's take a look at how reagan wanted to form his own foreign-policy legacy. so, in november 1990, reagan gives his brotherhood of man speech which has -- in the fall of the berlin wall. he is standing in front of sections of the berlin wall. he credited "the brave men and women on both sides of the iron curtain who devoted their lives and sometimes sacrifice them so that we might inhabit a world without barriers." so, he gives credit for the people on the ground in eastern europe are rising up in resisting communism and oppression. he also gives credit to margaret thatcher and helmut
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kohl and mikhail gorbachev for their role in enabling human freedom to emerge. reagan told his audience he was not sure whether or not gorbachev had listened to him when he said mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. but neither he nor the rulers of eastern europe could ignore the much louder chants of demonstrators in the streets of life segan dressed and in the churches and the schools and in the factors in on the farms, a once silent people found the voice and a battering ram to knock down walls, real and imagine. because of them the political map of europe has been rewritten." what about the museum? well, if you go to the reagan museum. when you go there, you come
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upon, if you get to go, these large foreign policy sections. once you get through it there are these doors, as you can see from my amateurish photography. and, as you look through it, this big video playing of reagan and gorbachev and what they did to bring about an end to the cold war through peaceful negotiation. and there are exhibits all around. they talk about how did this end? and all of those exhibits emphasized reagan working with gorbachev. reagan talking with gorbachev. negotiating. doing what they could to try to develop the trust that would ultimately lead to disarmament. by the way the iran contra exhibit -- you might just miss it as you are on way to see the pretty statue and film.
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it's a well-done exhibit. i am not criticizing the exhibit. it happens to be right there were you might walk past it. all righty. so, reagan on the end of the cold war, right? president reagan never claim to have won the cold war. reagan gave credit to others especially the people of eastern europe and the people of the soviet union, who demanded an end to the status quo and who ultimately rejected communism. now, i don't want you guys to leave here and think and i did not think that reagan played an end to the cold war. he contributed significantly to the end of the cold war. but the way he contributed to it is not the way conservatives think he contributed. he deserves credit for believing in the bankruptcy of the soviet system, right. and for inspiring nationalist movement such as solidarity and for negotiating with gorbachev. i think, also really, -- ult imately, reagan like lincoln
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should be praised not because of his adherence to his principle but praise because he was willing to take new information, digest that information, and alter and strategically change how he wants to address that situation based upon that new information. in short, i think he should be praised because he was a statesman. he wasn't rigidly ideological. he was a pragmatic conservative who took what he could get. if you can get 80%, take it. over the course of the 1990's however, many conservatives began to claim that reagan had single-handedly confronted the evil empire, demanded the berlin wall be torn down, and won the cold war. and, if you want to know more about conservatives constructed the reagan legacy and myth, buy the book, which is available for preorder on with that, i'll go ahead and take questions. yeah.
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>> given what you've spoken about ronald reagan's action on policy, how do republicans get back to that from the trump era now? >> yeah so the question was, the reagan years, are very different in terms of policy than what we see now and sort of with the trump administration. especially on issues i'm talking about immigration and trade. but >> support nato it's extra. >> yes also is supportive international organizations. so how does the conservative move and get back there. well it has to happen electorally. somebody has to stand up and say no. we don't represent and team aggression, or anti in or legal immigration, we protectionism, that's not what conservatism isn't. i i think that's happening right now and there is great debate, over whether trump's tariffs are effective. whether or not trump's tariffs are good policy to bring about
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sort of the economic goals that he has. i think there are many many conservatives, who are still ideologically and principally opposed to those things. and i just think that the you know you might not like this answer but the best thing that could happen to the conservative movement is that donald trump loses in 2020. if you believe in those principles. four more years of the trump presidency, they will move more in the direction of trump's vision. so i think if you are sort of a reagan style republican, you will think long and hard strategically about what you care about. power principles. >> yes. >> it was interested in reception, of the presentation of people who contributed to the narrative, i --
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-- . >> the question is how do i'd respond to people who have been a part of constructing the narrative of the administration of the reagan administration. so i'm not sure what he would say, he's one of the key people in creating the narrative with his biography of reagan. in the late 90s. and i have not had the pleasure of speaking with him, i requested an interview and i didn't get it. but, what i usually say to folks in the administration, because i have spoke to some people in the administration and what they usually tell me is that yeah these people were out there but they are just a bunch of bomb throwers. they didn't actually represent sort of the grassroots. then represent people within the administration. the conservatives in the trenches who supported reagan. so there was a disconnect between the people who are in power, and to order in order to get things done you have to work with democrats. you get to work with the right. and that means you are not going to get everything you
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want. so i think that they are right about that. but there were some significant achievements. and some this is disillusionment. on the part of conservative activists, and whatnot. i definitely don't want you to leave here today, and you know the purpose of the book is to push back. it is the absence of that criticism. and inform people of the absence of that criticism. and try to refrain reagan and their legacy, you know rather than what we've missed remembered what he did. look at what he did to. >> question --
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so the question is, to what extent did conservatives create a myth of reagan, because liberals and progressives basically created their own myths of reagan. i don't think that's part of, that the first generation of historians it's quite poor, and the first generation of scholarship from but -- is quite par quite poor as you can imagine. he was the no nothing president, yelled so they said, and that belong to the work of martin and analysts anderson. where they published this you know his speeches that he wrote, all the way up until he became
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president. he wrote all of his own speeches, his own radius stuff. he was a thinking conservative. when i get to the sources, when he goes to reagan ranch, and a lot of his books are there. you pull those books down, and you can with permission, and you can look inside of some of them. and i haven't found yet but, i've always long to, that reagan had a copy of -- and he had underlined this book and you know underlined it done and highlighted. and i just want to push back against. things and you are correct, the left has imagined this myth of reagan, which is far worse than the reality. sort of this view that he was elected because like he's a dog whistling dixie and. i think that's part of it. but i think it was a conscious decision in 1996 to read the book. and it's a conscious 90 a decision, after they were defeated to try and establish a common language, and a common
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history that common set of policy prescriptions wake of the cold war. so as allen mentioned at the beginning, the cold war an anti communism held the conservative movement together. up until 1991. but what is holding a libertarian, and social conservative together? i mean there is not much right. so i think that conservative consciously, use the reagan legacy and they didn't really well. to try to bring all these desperate conservatives, or people on the right broadly, to keep them in the party if you will. so i think it was largely successful until around 2016. so. >> do you have a question in the back still? >> okay sounds great thank you guys so much.
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