Thursday
Jun072018

How Reagan and Gorbachev Helped Us Write a Book

I just finished reading THREE DAYS IN MOSCOW, by Bret Baier and Catherine Whitney, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the blow by blow account of how Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev changed the world and ended the Cold War. Reagan, known for his anti-communist views while president of the Screen Actors Guild, continued to chisel away at the wall of communism with his frankness and the sincere conviction that all people should be free during his tenure as President of the United States. 

Previous attempts with earlier communist hardliners had proven frustrating and unfruitful but when Gorbachev took hold of the reins of the Soviet Union, Reagan sensed that finally, here was a person with whom he could talk to.  What we might see as an easy situation to take care of -- just call up and set up a time and place and we’ll talk -- became a political and logistical nightmare for both sides.  Reagan and Gorbachev involved themselves in a game of chess where the balance of the entire world was at stake.  Reagan brought to the game his unwavering sense of “right will always prevail” and Gorbachev, his knowledge that economically and socially, the Soviet Union was breaking apart and change had to come. Gorbachev was also aware that the communist “old guard” had no interest in change and nothing but distrust towards the US.

Over the course of years, through face to face negotiations, phone calls and letters, the two men gradually became friends, not always agreeing, but seeing opportunities where they could find common ground.  Their coming together finally initiated the end of the Cold War and eventually, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.    Peace, if a somewhat tenuous one, had been achieved between our two nations.

Read the book no matter what your political persuasion.  The back story and the many fascinating characters make this a page-turner. So many of us were around during this long process and the eventual outcome, but not many of us were aware of the roles played by the leader’s wives, as well as the protocols having to be followed.  A true cat and mouse game, indeed.

Along with the rest of the world, Jerry and I were interested in seeing if there would be any changes once Gorbachev took the reins of power in the Soviet Union and a dialogue was started between the two men.  Some people thought that life would go on as usual and some thought that world peace was sure to come at any moment.  We were attending a book convention and one of the writers, upon hearing of the beginnings of negotiations between the two leaders, exclaimed that “peace has broken out!”  Jerry and I had more of a wait and see attitude.

On the long drive back home from the convention we started talking about what if peace DID break out?  Of course, being the demented people we were, all we could think about were all the ways this peace would not be a good thing. We came up with a scenario involving an alliance between the Soviet Union and Washington bureaucrats who wanted nothing less than removing power from the people of the United States, for their own good, of course.  Freedom fighters, beautiful women, guns and knives and something called the Beacon of Peace, way up in space, pretty much explains the novel that we published originally in 1986 entitled THE FREEMAN.  Peace can sometimes be messy.

Things settled down for a while between the Soviet Union and the US.  Trade deals worked well for both sides and Reagan’s hopes for more human rights given to the Russian people were achieved.  Today, Putin has taken a harder stance on our two country’s relationship with one another and time will tell what will happen.  Later this month, unless it gets called off again, President Trump will be meeting with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.  Let us hope that they can find some mutual ideas with which to begin a relationship that will benefit us all and, we have the patience and understanding that this will undoubtedly not be a one night stand.

Sharon

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