Reagan and Gorbachev’s Relationship Warmed Cold War Tensions

– REAGAN: “Though my pronunciation may give
you difficulty, the maxim is, “Doveryay, no proveryay” — trust, but verify. [Laughter] – GORBACHEV: (speaks in Russian) – TRANSLATOR: You repeat that at every meeting. [Laughter] – You’ve got these two world leaders, Ronald
Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev, head of the Soviet Union, in a continual arms
race, which had been going on for decades. As they meet and get to know one another,
they develop a personal rapport. It wasn’t a stiff experience for them. They could both
relax a little bit. I think that was a key element of their relationship that enabled
them to carry on these discussions. Both men represented kind of unique moments
in their countries’ histories at this time. Gorbachev became head of the Soviet Union
in 1985, and he succeeds a string of aging Soviet leaders. He’s young — he’s in his
50s; much more reform-minded. He understood that the Soviet Union had to change. At the
same time in the United States in 1980, Ronald Reagan is elected president. Reagan came into
office as this confident, cold warrior. There were a number of summits in the early
1980s between Reagan and Gorbachev to try to come to terms with their growing nuclear
arsenals. And when they met, like all political leaders, they were sizing each other up. They
didn’t trust each other; they didn’t know each other. At the same time, Reagan had that charisma
and that personal warmth that enabled him to disarm someone like Gorbachev, who is more
formal or reserved. But by the time they sign the INF Treaty, they have developed this mutual
respect. These men had a personal rapport; they could get along. And that was an advantage
to both of them because it made them feel more at ease. It made them feel more willing
to have conversations and negotiate, which led to the INF Treaty in 1987. And this Treaty
mandated the removal from the active inventories of the United States and the Soviet Union,
a specific class of intermediate-range ballistic missiles — a significant historic outcome
that foreshadowed the end of the Cold War. [Applause] REAGAN: I like it. [Laughter]


  1. I still laugh thinking of the Naked Gun scene where he tries to scrub Gorbachev's head. So dumb but still funny for some reason.

  2. Gorbachev was a fucking hero. And he doesn't get enough credit for that. He was the most powerful person in the world and he gave that up. Only for well being of people

  3. Why do we think we know better than these old weathered well tempered creatures…? A gang of these statesmen would be worth it’s weight in Gold.

  4. Lol, what he says at 1:20 is complete bullshit. Gorbachev was seen as the warm guy and even became more popular than Reagan… Reagan couldn’t even compete with the Charisma of Gorbachev.

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