The U.S. Must Engage With Russia

by | Aug 17, 2018

The U.S. Must Engage With Russia

by | Aug 17, 2018

File photo of U.S. President Ronald Reagan (R) and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty at the White House, on December 8 1987. Reagan was elected as the 40th U.S. president in 1980. Former U.S. President Reagan's health is deteriorating and he could have only weeks to live, a U.S. source close to the situation said on June 4, 2004. Reagan, now 93, has long suffered from the brain-wasting Alzheimer's disease. The source said Reagan's condition had worsened in the past week. "The time is getting close," he said. REUTERS/Dennis Paquin/FILE DP/GN - RP5DRIDACHAA

On my recent trip to Russia, I spent an hour with Mikhail Gorbachev. I told him that in the West we are grateful that he and President Ronald Reagan defied Cold War orthodoxy to significantly reduce our countries’ nuclear arms. And I asked him whether there was a moment in his life when he’d realized that he might shape history.

He paused a moment and then recounted how as a young man, he had watched a film on the devastation that would occur with nuclear war. He and the other young officials in the room looked at each other in shock as the film concluded.

Gorbachev recalled the scene: “Even though I am not a believer, I responded, ‘Oh my God!’” From that moment, Gorbachev said, he decided to use every opportunity that came his way to prevent a nuclear holocaust.

Gorbachev’s youthful concern about nuclear disaster became apparent when he assumed leadership of the Soviet Union. In a speech he gave to senior personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1986, Gorbachev said, “Peace is the value above anything. In the nuclear-cum-space era, a world war is the absolute evil. It cannot be won.”

Read the rest at theatlantic.com.

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