WASHINGTON, 2004 (Jun 13, 2004, 12:00am Robert G. Kaiser, Washington Post) In the throngs of mourners passing through the Capitol Thursday afternoon, one stood out — a vigorous senior citizen with a distinctive birthmark on his bald pate, whose tight gestures and bright eyes brought back memories of some of President Ronald Reagan's greatest moments. Mikhail Gorbachev had flown from Moscow to pay respects to Nancy Reagan and to the man with whom he changed the course of history. "I gave him a pat," Gorbachev said later, re-enacting the fond caress he had given Reagan's coffin. On Thursday evening, in an ornate conference room at the Russian Embassy, Gorbachev gave a kind of personal eulogy to his first and most important American friend. It combined emotion, rigorous historical analysis and an interesting appraisal of Reagan's place in American life and history. "Reagan," said Gorbachev, 73, was 'an extraordinary political leader' who decided 'to be a peacemaker' at just the right moment — the moment when Gorbachev had come to power in Moscow. He, too, wanted to be a peacemaker, so "our interests coincided." Reagan's second term began in January 1985; two months later, Gorbachev was elected general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. But if he had warm, appreciative words for Reagan, Gorbachev brusquely dismissed the suggestion that Reagan had intimidated either him or the Soviet Union, or forced them to make concessions. Was it accurate to say that Reagan won the Cold War? "That's not serious," Gorbachev said, using the same words several times. "I think we all lost the Cold War, particularly the Soviet Union. We each lost $10 trillion," he said, referring to the money Russians and Americans spent on an arms race that lasted more than four decades. "We only won when the Cold War ended." Later on the Larry King Show (CNN) Gorbachev said, "None of it would have happened without him." In the 1990s, Gorbachev and Reagan had many reunions in Washington, LA, and on the Reagan ranch in the mountains above Santa Barbara.
Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War,
Former arms control director Ken Adelman gives readers a dramatic, first-hand account of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit—the weekend that proved key to ending the Cold War. Based on now declassified notes of Reagan’s secret bargaining with Gorbachev and a front-row seat to Reykjavik and other key moments in Reagan’s presidency, Adelman gives an honest portrayal of the man at one of his finest and most challenging moments.