tv Ronald Reagans Tear Down This Wall Speech CSPAN November 27, 2021 5:25pm-6:36pm EST
national women's party idea snuggling picketing the white house incredibly common, semi- black lives matter protesters that they were adding the time to this end but also, are these women doing it, they're making them message go viral, this 1917 similarity to a tweet, she reaches the people who were standing in front of the white house in from of lafayette square but a meet and reaches many more people in the picture in the newspaper that is wiped that manner is on it really easy to against a white background. >> watch the full program and thousands more at cspan.org/history. >> welcome to uncommon knowledge, peter robinson and today a conversation host for the ronald reagan instituted a
moment jamie fly will join me and talking about the june 12, 1987 "tear down this wall" while speech is a speechwriter and with a speech and i've been asked to actually general mcmaster has ordered me to tell the story to speech but right there by the way, this first page of resin reagan speaking copy and p you can see my name s a speechwriter the upper left and quarter. and first, some historical background. after the second world war west berlin which is a portion of berlin itself, remained under american british and french control even in east berlin and all this runningn east germany came under the control of the communist regime and this is very important to grasp that was berlin was completely surrounded by the communist east and on the screen now you can see the lots
inside east germany. and again, after the war, thousands of east germans fleeing the communist regime in east germany to the democratic west and how did they do this. very often they do it just by stepping across the street into west berlin and was they were in west berlin, they could get a training which has the right to cross german territory to the west. so simple, and by 1961, thing that the entire population of east germany had done just that, they fled pretty and to stop this warm us acted as the east germans proposed a barrier in moscow agreed. and in the middle of the night, of august 13th, 1961, these two germans strong wire all the way around west berlin cutting
off. there is a slide shows this barbed wire eventually these germans were replacing the barbed wire with lockman they would replace the cinderblocks with slabs of concrete, 13 feet high. more than one quarter of a century later the berlin wall atremained in place and encirclg it west berlin predict here's a slide that shows where the wall caught up in brandenburg gate and president reagan mentioned the gate in a speech, we need to know that brandenburg was a 19th century monument that he wants surge's entrance to berlia and again the berlin wall cuts it off. that brings me to this the spring of 1987, and speechwriter in the reagan white house, and i told these president will speakn front of the berlin wall and how he'll have an audience between ten and 40000 people and at the
end it was about 40000 people and he will speak for about a half an hour and a given the setting, the subject will be foreign policy. and that was all the guidance i got. i flew to west berlin with the security people and with west germans in the press office, checking the camera angles and so forth and i went to get the material and first stop was in berlin rated versus site with the president would speak that is very difficult to convey spretty momentous place, just a few feet away which still bore second world war shots, i climbed a hundred and observation platform and looked over the wall to east berlin in behind me west berlin, monitors city and ocean and traffic and on the other side of the wall,
powerlessness, more soldiers and pedestrians on one side of life on the other side, there's kind of a twilight next i went to the office of the diplomat in berlin and he was telling me what president reagan should not say. these very nuanced and subtle no anti- communists bashing and don't ever mention the wall, they've gotten used to it now. and then i was given a ride over the walnut u.s. army helicopter and it looks worse from there because them the air he would lend of the other of the bulk of the gardens, towers and kind of killing zone or a no man's land and then that evening, broke away from the american party to go to suburban residential suburb of west berlin where a dinner party was put on for me by inga else who are to the world bank in washington.
we talked about this and that and then i told them that the american diplomat had said they'd all gotten used to the berlin wall and that turned out to be incorrect. they may have stopped talking about it but if you ask, it became clear they still hated that wall every day and ingle berg our hostess made the comment that if t gorbachev was seriously talking, he could come to berlin improvement by getting rid of the c wall predict and up within my notebook immediately because a new ronald reagan had been in my place, he would responded to this the simplicity in the decency. and it went to the present when we can when he was at camp david, he was almost always the reagan white house in sweetgrass
and staff and before it went to the president that we speechwriters were able to persuade the staff secretary to let the president see this speech before it went out to the staffing. in the following monday, there's a picture of this, it shows us meeting, the following monday, 1987 speechwriters met in the oval office with the president and the president singled out the passage about tearing down the wall as something that he would particularly wanted to say. at that wall needs to come down and that's what i want to say pretty this speech went out to the staffing and for three weeks, until the present delivered at the state department and the national security council opposed it and tried to stop it and in part by submitting one alternative draft after another each of which emitteder that phase two clip printed on the wall printed they exit here's another side to: powell the number two on the
national security panel at that time, and we t shall see the cas this speech mediocre in a missed opportunity. initially the president had been attending an economic summit before going to west berlin and in italy is in on air force one, the state department gave another alternative draft and in west berlin, on the way to the wall, and i heard this from the deputy chiefth of staff who wasn the limousine with the o president, ronald reagan explained he will deliver the speech as written and then he said, they will coming for this but it is the right thing to do. and that is the story of the speech that ronald ragan delivered on june 12, 1987. and there is one side that the soviets can make ithe would be unmistakable predict.
>> it would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace, general secretary gorbachev if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity the soviet union and eastern europe and if you seek political is a net, come here to this gate, mr. gorbachev, open this gate. [applause] [applause] mr. gorbachev, mr. gorbachev, "tear down this wall". [cheering and applause]. [cheering and applause].
>> jamie fly served during the bush administration on the national security council in the office of the secretary of defense coming holds degrees from the american university in georgetown, and another church hundred served as chair for national security at the university of texas in austin during the bush administration he served as the state department and of the national security council he holds his degrees from stanford and his undergraduate degree from stanford and his doctorate from yale. hr mcmaster was a security advisor to president trump commandant the united states army in which he rose to lt. general. general mcmaster is the author of the classic work on vietnam dereliction of duty and last year he published battlegrounds, the fight to defend the free world and former hoover institution he holds an undergraduate degree from the united states military academy
any doctorate from the university of north carolina at chapel hill. jamie, will and hr, thank you for joining us. jamie fly, let's set the scene, his first trip to germany in 1978, i'm putting your essay from the reagan institute, reagan visited the site were 16 years earlier, 188 -year-old peter and east german who try to escape was shot him led to death in a man's land on the former governor also ventured into east berlin and were disturbed but with the called life under east german communism. jamie, between 1978, when ronald ragan first visited the wall in 1987, when he spoke in front of the wall, what had changed read. >> the correlation of forces shifted.
>> thank you for having me to the reagan institute is going to be with you peter because i was shocked when i was reading it will general mcmaster's essays and i think that we all cited you as a force i think you've done an amazing job keeping this story of thehe development of te speech alive. i think if that because future generations will be able to understand the complexity better rated so when i was writing the essay and looking at that time, was struck me was how much the german public had suffered during that time and as decades past, and the german officially west berlin, they moved well beyond the initial establishment of the wall which happened almost overnight and some neighborhoods and am speaking from berlin so i'm here in berlin. it happened suddenly, families
and friends were prepared for it and some were put into a situation where it became difficult for them to interact and people as you noted, some people put took their into their own hands risk to leave and they left and so my understanding of german history as time went on people became more and more depressed about the potential for change in semi 1987, he also had german governments which for some of the policies and give an indication that perhaps they doubted that change would be simply quick and had pursued various types of engagement with east germany and the soviet union and often it with the u.s. administrations pretty greatest i think reagan's arrival came at a key moment where germans especially west germans needed it a shot in the arm and they needed that encouragement that
change was possible that hope should be maintained it for some sort of different future for germany so the stars aligned in that respect of the timing of reagan's decision. >> you put the state department official whom in berlin, this is much later but by 1987, much of europe were not with ronald reagan but with miguel gorbachev. by 1987, is clear the soviet union is stagnating and by 1987, the united states is resurgent everyone in the world could see that including the germans and yet europeans seat gorbachev as hr mcmaster, how could they been hr. >> i think it has everything to do with confidence, and democratic form of governance
and who we are as a people and of course transatlantic in relationship in within three states of europe is the time and when i hope to do, is to make an analogy to that time because the point you're making explicitly peter is that we can regain our confidence and w in our emphatic form of governance and we can do it with effective leadership and with clarity. and also the leadership that ronald ragan provided. >> we come now to the fight and you quote well, coming from the state department and the staff on early speech gave a flavor of their thinking. a part a couple of slides earlier that you provide more extensive overview of their comments on the speech draft including the state department, this won't fly with the germans, not sentimental people need it
seems silly, this must come out pretty west germans do not want to see east germans insulted predict these concrete ideas are not on hundred similar thoughts intuitive the sizes of the good guys versus the bad guys pretty okay, that the state department and the same, they did not like that speech. these were highly intelligent very experienced people and what were they thinking read. >> i think were reflecting a lot of the conventional wisdom in the expert opinion of the day and i don't use that device labor this is where i think it really brings out reagan's strategic genius that he was willing and some rights, most of the conventional foreign policy decisions of every day and seen
them primarily as a contest between powerful soviet union and united states and largely managing that in some of this stuff is expanding on the same time we need to assume the soviet union and they will be there permanent features on the landscape and ragan as you know well, now we channeled some of the decisions of speech, he reversed it. he saw this primarily as a battle of ideas that happens to have them pick two powerful countries embodiment. but in terms of ideas and freedom and insecurity capitalism and communism, democracy against dictatorship and he also in terms of how does it affect individual people and he was aware of the sentiments of many of the people living behind the iron curtain's of the east germans classified by the
wall there, what incentive is that you picked up from that dinner party rated ragan was willing it to go against the expert opinion in the state department and foreign policy under policy establishment in terms of these locks and he said we can push us farther we can stand up for our ideas. we can speak to the people behind the iron curtain in some ways channel their voices. tthey because he had that strategic vision it and what it was all about that he was going to back up his speechwriters like you and say no this is not sentimental cloth. were not worried about it. it gets to the heart of the german people. and also to the hearts of the soviet people predict. >> did anybody feel an urge full you ran the national security council hr let me put it this way. a couple of years ago 30th anniversary of the fall of the
berlin wall and as jamie notices it, i don't take too much prompting of the storyti the speech and very sophisticated scholar diplomacy there who said wait a minute now, that speech worked out. he does not prove that is the right decision to giveec it. george scholes about the speech put gorbachev in a tight spot and you see and you try to work with the americans the president comes along and challenges you pretty in hr, looking to you to stick up for the nfc in a subjection to the speech 30 some years ago pretty. >> jamie arrived in the middle of berlin, and some don't care to be provided predict come in and tell her stick up for these guys pretty. >> the process is important right because want to to give
the president a broad range of use and national security job, your job is security advisor because you're the only person in the united states government in the form policy national security arena who has the president and his or her only client your job is to give the president a say. since really important that you spend time with the president on as you did peter, on these importantsi speeches and i had a great relationship with the other speech writers in the white house only worked it together on a number of speeches early and then i was not sure that those gone to the president early so he could put his imprint onld it. and i think that if you look at the speech for example, there were echoes of the berlin speech that speech.
it is a messy and important aspect of the job is to help the president craft speeches that allow him to first of all come to the agenda but importantly our democracy to make a public because it's important that the american people support these initiatives i think often times with the presence don't realize enough especially if there is more domestic focus for example president trump than i think that underestimating the degree to which those overseas hang on every single word of the president's speech. esand i think that this is what you got so right, that speech spoke to an international audience in a powerful and a profound way. >> this is where i need to step in and clear up one thing. i have braided and that is true,
it was 100 percent ronald reagan i would've not a president that for anyone else i can tell you that beside worked for vice president george hw bush and never i would've arisenn it for him and ragan alone would've insisted on delivering the speech was the scene it over other objections and george bush, vice president bush in every form policy speech on the first question he would always ask me is has a state approved of this rated so jamie listen to the story read all three of you but jamie will be next bird will stay with ronald reagan here for a moment and this is a story and i think he was told to me by allen your predecessor ronald reagan's first national security advisor in the years 1977 ragan is now a former governor and he had just lost republican presidential nomination to gerald ford and so far no
inkling that he will run for president and still is paying close attention. and he's briefed on war affairs and fan ragan said well would you like this in the cold war and a set of course governor then ronald reagan is said and i'm quoting from. this ragan speaking, some people think i am simplistic there is a difference between the simple and being simplistic in my theory about the cold war is that we win and they lose. how do you operationalize that. here is nixon and kissinger and jimmy carter and i think it's the same year that jimmy carter gavend his speech against us in fear of communism. in ronald reagan just turned it
upside down would now that i'm older it feels a little risky to me. >> i'm a big fan of this approach. i think the moral clarity of ragan is an incredibly essential, and ultimately, they are incredibly fearful, fearful of their own citizens and realize that democracies are resilient and united in up to the task and that strikes fear into the hearts of every authoritarian leader and ultimately that was what reagan understood why the speech must so powerful. in terms of what a president says in a setting like this, that is one thing in terms of presenting the moral clarity the vision of a month then you can
debate and the diplomacy the negotiations which obviously ragan engage in extensively. but coming in on the internet agency process the conversation happening earlier, i had only a role in the george w bush administration but i worked for senator rubio for four years what i found in all of the policy jobs i held in washington, was that far too many people in the governments in the national security apparatus, they lose sight of ultimately who they work for than fly when there is a president or a senator they are in that position it printed and is ultimately their voice and most of those people were electr the right reasons in the public as their confidence in the for a certain reason and a lot of the process was necessary but ultimately many staffers i think strive to pontoon their
principles that move their principles through, something like a speech writing process and they forget fundamentally where their bosses i vision is n their instincts and i had many personal experiences even in my short time and working in the senate where we would debate for hours over e-mails or days about the speech and then put it in front of your boss and they would quickly resolve all the issues because it was not even a question for them and i think from what i've read in your counsel peter sounds like the speech was one of those experiences braided. >> all i can say is where the heck were you guys when i needed you the four years ago. okay a little more, 1989, more than two years after reagan's delivering his speech in east germany d city, churches begin hauling with weekly prayer services followed by small peaceful demonstrations. i'm compressing a complicated story here with these weekly
demonstrations flow and i spread across the country of east germany then by early november, more than 100,000 have marched in east berlin itself this brings us to the night of november 9th, 1989, with it east german bureau was meeting an emergency session then to change the rules. and one member reaches out to the press and gets it wrong. some small technical change considering will take place gets it wrong and the reporter said wait a minute, do you mean that all border controls have endedal immediately. andd that member thanks for moment and he says yes this on radio and television and within fewtes literally just a minutes, east germans became streaming to these checkpoints in the berlin wall and east german guards have no idea
what's going on f they not received orders and there is a tense as the crowds began shouting how carnivores are hugging and the guards realized they have two choices, use force or open the gates and they open the gates predict and the berlin wall ceases to function and again, ragan speaks on june 12, 1987, the ball effectively falls in on november 9th, 1989 for those two events connected anyway. >> absolutely and i don't want to take this too far, obviously the people of germany deserve tremendous credit for their owne agency and tearing down the wall. and merely of miscommunication
and bureaucrats in a couple of guards out front braided been found those circumstances even come about in the german people would feel like they could rise up and take your freedom when in 1968, and in 66 in previous times when it east german citizens would try to claim their freedom from their soviet overlords. and so i think that i would draw that president reagan gave voice to the hope and the circumstances and the pressures and change the correlation of forces so that the german people could take advantage of the opportunity and would history presented itself and when at one other thing. u.s. jamie earlier and this is back to gorbachev and expertise because what reasonable came down peacefully in november 89 is because of what he did not do, and repudiated doctrine and
want to go back to the most pivotal parts to tear down this wall and what reagan says right before, mr. kubicek, jordan's phone what you think he directed the that to him, suggested abstract words to help the world under wall with him down. the discussion earlier, it had been written which member of the united states knew him best. spent more time with him than any other american ronald reagan this is why reagan knew that from his countless hours hunt the settlement and phone calls, he is the sense that i can push them further to tear down that wall. and it wasn't going to cause a cold war to turn not so reagan
had spent so much time with him, more than all the state department of the cia and the balance of pushing this guy but also expecting handouts i think that only look at gorbachev's role, a lot of which facilitated by reagan and the right balance of pressure and outrage that creates circumstances of 1989 for the german people to claim their own freedom. >> excuse me, i don't know how to do this in the zoom call that i would like to lean forward and kiss you on the forehead. >> i will hug you back braided. >> let me tell you about this long time ago, ten or 15 years ago now but one of the things that he did, the former leader of the great communist power was
becoming a capitalist and he came to the united states. and mike reagan interviewed him and mike helped arrange me to go backstage and i can see gorbachev translator talking to him and telling him that i had written that speech and just laughed. and he said. [inaudible]. and explain through his translator this was just a piece of theater and he knew ronald reagan and ronald reagan could not resist a good line but it made no difference to them in moscow at all read jamie, hr, speak up for him will you please read the speech did not make a darn bit of difference predict. >> it doesn't matter maybe it matters to him or moscow would've made a heck of a lot of difference to germans and east germans in particular i was at
that united states calvary on the border and of east germany in west germany in november 1989. and on that day, near germany, the town where martin luther translated the bible into german and the birthplace of hans morgan, that is where our soldiers and her troopers went one moment staring down the east german or unreported cars to the next moment seeing gates thrown open and intense and thousands and then tens of thousands of east germans pouring across the border very bouquets of flowers and bottles of wine and there were hugs and tears of joy and i saw a direct correlation only back to the speech but to the resolve the president reagan demonstrated by affecting it to renaissance in our military in 1980s and demonstrating results to sit in his words when you said nearly interview, we
win and they lose and so i felt a direct correlation and got to witness it firsthand and west germany. >> i'm going to try one more time. you know correctly, will you say the speech at the time it was largely ignored. it did get covered but it was treated the way the press treat it, nothing special and then the wall fell and the speech all of a sudden sounded, can't think of any other way to put it, it sounded prophetic but at the time, it was just a speech. jamie fly. >> i think of some of
gorbachev's views may have been shaped i think i mentioned this in my essay. i think the u.s. government actually breached the soviets in advance tot warn them about the line and so they could avenge the kind of the way that the reagan administration give a heads up essentially rated ... . >> it made things much more difficult in poland are chapters of ocular
when it became clear the citizens of the countries had enough. and going to rise up and then to be too much for the communist client government to prevent from toppling them that is what the playbook had been for decades >> whether it was 56, it was '68. >> it was alwaysed retd army and if they were kept in the barracks it wase done. >> that is even the strengthening of the public perception in germany, in berlin, in the east, as we know that it was listened to in the east as well. that is what made it difficult for it limited his option he didn't have much of an option at that pocket and you can look at the other diplomacy that administration engaged in with
and their effort to reach out to him later in the george h.w. bush administration to support him and made a role but ultimately i think he had when the key moment seemed. >> so lessons for today. china in a moment biden administration in a moment and i'll stay with jamie because he's seated in berlin as we speak. this is something of a disappointment really -- yoating you jamie is largest economy in europe on the continue innocent natural leader. t yet despite significant progress in its willingness to play a leading role many german policy make rs continue to resist the responsibility that comes with such power.. closed quote, so we have that celebration of reunification in 1994 is that, former
reunification and there's that moment of playing final course from brangdenburg gate as fireworkson explode and -- a thrilling moment. europe is democratic and free, and it is going to be prosperous and help and now we come it a continent that seemses well -- jamie you tell us you tell us what's happened here. >> so the german part of the story is complex. some of it relates to germany being tortured by its precold war and some of it to be provocative in its policy thinking. there's also a sad story to be honest if you look back at the speech just about the division that still exist in german society. it's striking i'm talking to you from east berlin where i've been living in recent months but i
was in t west berlin weeks ago t dinner met people from west berlin and talking to them about even where we live. it was another world to them. s a part of berlin they don't even venture into. refer to as soviet zone. that goes on in people's minds. even now. even now. and these were people who would have been around time of 89 children. so not even people who have kind of spent a significant part of their lives living during that divide path. germant complex remain divide in the way that east jer mans vote in the success that some of the far right parties, for instance. so a lot of that divided legacy lives on and ting that fundamental question tho when it comes to german leadership in the world, german foreign policy is whether the next generation and wednesday see this after the september elections this year, is more willing to step up, move
beyondnd the world war ii legac. the holocaust legacy, move beyond some of the divisions of the cold war era, and assume that leadership man tell which to be honest given that i also spend a lot of time in prague and other parts of europe the rest of europe is looking to them to play. to take that leadership role not just economically which they have now for decades. but to take a stand for values, and pursue a foreign policy whether it is russia or china. that matches the significant, you know, history of their recent decades in benefits they've achieved from german reunification and so that's a big open question that still exist in german society. >> come to china and you in a moment but will -- how do we evaluate remove. how do we evaluate the american
effort in europe during the cold war? four and a half decades it begins with truman and runs right through germany and w. bush, of course, the cold war is global and vietnam, korea, but it is always what really matters europe is at the center of it. and we have this long expensive bipartisan effort this long twilight struggle john kennedy called it and we wean and now 34 years later, europe in the united states are drifting apart. we have a president over there now talking about coming together on climate change. forgive me i don't to -- i don't to become partisan but soviet union would have fallen any way and we waste a lot of time and money and europe europeans don't like us it was artificial and clung to us decade because we were
protecting them against soviets it was just, just disappointing. will. >> yeah. no, i shared a lot of concern and, of course, you know jamie is on frontlines of trying to, you know, stand up for transatlantic values and remain alliance over there, and, of course, it goes beyond just meter to meter relations but sort of sheer value and amendments of european in american people, and one great strength for that one great resource for that is that history. of, you know, working together first to defeat soviet journey but each generation in some ways need to relearn those lessons anew. i mean, because you did talking american policy in europe two quick things to highlight and speaking on that master -- this is how important american buildup and pressure is after world war ii with the united states rapidly demobilize, you
know, retreat behind our shows and for good reason. there was aga piece of it. but then, you know, once we seen the emerging threat of soviet communism had to remobilize so building up that military which helps prevent further soviet aggression and also this is key ovof reagan genius, strengthen s diplomacy that's a peace through strength is about is building world's, you know, most powerful most potent most fierce military so that you don't have to go into a hot bowl but that you can use that to point your adversaries to diplomatic solutions because military solution is not there and another key one this gets about shared values with the united states leading the way in creating the atlantic alliance. remember for the first 150 years of our existence as a country, went back to washington farewell address noan criminal alliances let's not have those. they drag you into european war you don't want and free ally and
for truman and eisenhower to reverse that and say we need to enter into this north atlantic treaty organization this atlantic alliance. they knew that that was going to be an asemitic symmetric, and what they wanted as well and they refer to worlds you know most successful most successful treatly alliance in history because it did enable to accomplish peacefully because they wanted that peaceful victory. you know, somewhat different now it is not the soviet union anymore it is kind of improve with russia. it is certainly a course a china which is not just asian sha pacific threat but coming more european threat as well. but i do hope that drawing on share history and values will remind americans and europeans that we do a lot better work together than when we're apart. >> hr -- >> that this is a competition of wills. you know, this competition
between our free open societies and closed authoritarian systems we're talking about a speech that went to clarity to that competition and i think that's what we need today i'm encouraged by fact that the biden administration noomged that this isn't at its base ideological competition with the chinese communist party. but welfare to back that up. you know, what is it in effect or -- de facto reduction because of this as you hear from people in biden administration that our policy has become too militarized what we need is more diplomacy what we need is the integration ofie all instruments of national power. and efforts of like minded partners to prevail in this type of competition. of course we we do need more diplomacy but it needs to be better in cook tale parties in berlin or paris. you know, our allies have to step up and germany has been, you know, weak link but weak link in connection with the
negotiation of the comprehensive agreement on investment which thankfully is dying in the european parliament. but also in connection with the competition with putin kremlin and the kremlin sustain campaign of political subversion aim at europe i would say that campaign is effective in germany and i would like jamie maybe to comment more about how -- how russia is contributing to weakening of resolve in germany, and an example of the u.s. maybe tnot being as tough on our alls as much as we love them is backing off on -- on the north stream two pipeline to give russia course of power over germany's economy. >> it is china, i can't -- you are in the white house. national security advisory, you have a top job in the institution that brings together militaryry and diplomatic initiative to present them to chief executive of the united
states, at the moment, when the whole country partly because of donald trump and partly because of president xi jinping, the whole country is realizing that china is not going to be our friend. we were in for something new here. hr mcmaster, quote, the berlin wall is exact analogy for the great firewall of china the combination of laws and technology designed to isolate the realm of the chinese commune ition party from outside influences closed quote. all kinds of things are different. china is bigger than russia soviet union ever was. it has cash -- all we ever bought from russians ever bought from us was wheat, chinese as you all know my colleague here in northern california hoover ?ition arrested in silicon valley up and down the peninsula so a lot of things are different. but you're arguing that there's something central to the
relationship with china that is not that different from the relationship with the struggle the conflict with soviet union is that cent? >> absolutely. you can see this in jamie and wills superb essays this is a competition that also requires, you know, a high degree of clarity so, i mean, the phrase that comes to mind if i could paraphrase from reagan speech is chairman xi teared down that firewall. or we should do our best to get around it and this is what jamie does for us every day is it to reach a press people, peoples who are not permitted to access a wide range of sources of information. so that they have an opportunity to think differently to have and as will said or jamie said early that authoritarians are touchy they are sensitives, and you see this with -- you see this with the china communist party.
i think there's a tremendous opportunity for us to use the kind of clarity of the berlin speech to compete much more effectively with chinese communist party and best means of doing so is to bypass, you know, the great firewall. >> will the me quote you one more time jamie. everybody should read all three essays i'm holding back on quoting will because afusive about speech and i can handle that part myself. jamie, reagan said our differences are not i'm quoting you are not about weapon but liberty this was important reminder of what differentiates the soviet union from the west. these are all principles. that have been neglected but recent pus administration. u.s. negotiators have been quick to conclude obama administration or attempts to do so under trump
administration hr are you listening? with north korea. closed quote you're overall point if i that i can correctly is recent administration have placed too much emphasis on diplomatic cooperation and too little onip clarity and forthrightness of principle have i got that right? >> yeah. i think clearly, especially when you have nuclear weapons involved, there's a need to negotiate even with authoritarian, we can't hope and aspire to quick regime change, and all of the countries that threaten us. but there was something, obviously, the way that reagan did it even as he was sitting down and speaking to other soviet leaders he had no problem publicly talking about what was at stake and the cruelty and the hollowness of what that regime represented, and that i think has been missing and this is
fundamental part of the problem of europe and germany tries to deal with a russia that is heading in incredibly dangerous direction cracking down on decent at home even the kremlin has done to the organization in the last two days. sense being invited by president yeltson and russia headed in that direction highly likely to lash out at neighbors force on ukrainian border and comien is a very similar story and there's verys little -- interest in most parts of europe in speaking openly and frankly about what is at stake with either of those two powers.
from a moral perspective and you still hear especially in germany but also in brussels and many other european capitols a lot of we know they have a lot of problems but on the other hand we have to do business with them we need their investments. certain segments of our economy are incredibly reliant or engagement with them. and a lot of european mind set is on that and dynamics we talked about earlier in germany in 1987 that's how owe got from the west german government at the time. but it is a significant problem now and then the fundamental question from u.s. side is how does the u.s. i think now both over trump administration and biden administration when it comes to china has framed the -- the conflict correctly has highlighted the situation correctly both from a moral perspective and economic perspective of defense
perspective how do you bring allies whroong feel theyom have the luxury perhaps of remaining neutral in competition that's fundamental challenge and those are from trump administration compared to biden 250e78 team on that. >> will -- the three of you have convinced me it works pretty well under reagan. moral clarity, frank simplicity and so forth, well if it worked to well under reagan, why have i'm going to grant jamie's thargt we haven't seen quite that moral clarity there's a question of going to't hit you with in a moment. no i'll hit will with it donald trump god bless himim is half a dozen real in my opinion really wonderful set piece speeches. including in warsaw when hr mentioned. and thenpe walked away from the
lectern and never mention them and behave and didn't seem to be integrated why does it seem to be reagan's example still lives, the three of you have proved that. why is it so hard to follow? will? >> well, it is a problem but again a lot of old habits die hard. first point and second point is, we did need to be careful as we look back at reagan and reagan successes from hindsight bias of being well, of course, it all worked out and so simple because if you know peter, at the time it wasn't going to work out reagan had confidence it was to get a lot of criticism against it because he was trying some very, very risky things it was challenging a lot of conventional system, and you know, soviet threat as awful as it was was somewhat different than certainly the time and russias that we face today. however in some ways especially on nuclear side but then easier on the i won't say easy but on
the economic side. but my few take aways needs to be china especially from reagan -- are one, remember that our adversary is not the country of people of china it is the party, and thest people of china are essential allies for us. right, i mean they have lived under multiparty democracy but not in a surveillance state. they don't like being told how many babies they can or can't have. they don't like not being able heto choose their own leaders soviet people didn't like that either and reagan spoke to that and part of the strategy was to drive a wedge between kremlin and soviet people. until the soviet people america is onn your side it is part if you want freedom we're on your side we're allies so we need to -- capture that with china and a lot more directly to chinese people. n and again the organizations are doing some good work there.
so the second part i want to come backe to reagan and negotiations as well with that military buildup and was speaking with the moral clarity at the same moment he was saying tear down this wall rage began and schultz were working behind scenes of the soviets to conclude with the nuclear force treaty. and you know, it is still a historical unprecedented treaty that ban an entire class of frightening nuclear weapons. and so -- we sometimes you know forward policy experts i'll put that in quotes sometimes, but sometimes we make things harder than they need to be and you either do diplomacy or you get tough and need to do subtle and nuance glom diplomacy or single with tear down this wall or empire. you can do both together and most effectt whiff you do them together. that's why again when i went back to reagan theory the case they win they lose but he wanted to win not with a hot war that
destroys union but win peacefully. and you know he can do that with that diplomacy as long as it was backed up by military strength and economic strength and moral clarity. >> hr last -- last question about what it means for today before i move to kind of summary here. hr mcmaster quote, reagan speech provides a reminder that self-respect is foundational to the competition with the chinese communist party closed quote. my first comment on that is -- you're a big shot sophisticated thinker, and yet you -- you're like reagan that you keep coming back to the simple point all right. but how do we achieve self-respect as a nation at a time when we're so polarized
about when half of the country thinks youro former boss should be in jail and other half of the company thinks that joe biden stole election and that we've got onene part of the country watching msnbc keeping on tv and other part on fox news all day, and things were rougher politically during the reagan years than now is remembered but it was not like this. so --as self-respect hr -- >> well this is why i think reagan newt is such an important organization. i mean, i think all of us have to and hoover institution all of us were working for europe -- you know, i think that we have to make a concerted effort to rebuild our confidences. confidence in who we are as a people, and confidence in our democratic institution and institutions and processes and i think dwoakur that right? i think that what we have to do is demand more from political
leaders who are -- who are too often compromising to score political points but we can't we have to do our part to recognize that the great, you know, great promise of america to celebrate the fact right, that we have to say in how we're governed as will said i don't think chinese people or any people are predisposed to not wanting a say in how they're governed we awlgt to celebrate that we live under rule of law and freedom of speech and freedom of expression and we need to encourage institutions to reform themselves. i would say that -- you know, the fourth estate is one of those that has some work to do. but ultimately i think the number one is the education. education is particular lid about our history. that's why i was so excited to participate in this discussion. you know, with you and jamie and will. because i think when you learn the history of the reagan years,
you see the contrast between the carter ma lay speech and crisis of confidence in 1970s remember inflation and a lost war in vietnam remember the oil embargo and our confidence was shake it been like it is shaken today. right, but it doesn't have to remain permanent just like the wall jus leak that east western border was not a permanent condition. we can change it. and whaing we have to do is educate ourselves. reeducate ourselves about the great promise of our republic and recognize it is founders did that this republic required constant nurturing so let's start nurturing an regaining our confidence. >> all right. two final questions if or you. i'll go around to give each of you a shot at this but we're coming up on -- , in fact, we're at an hour so i'll have to ask you to be brief give me a one sentence answer if you can. here's the first question. i'm going to give you two quotations.
at the washington post writing soon after berlin address, quote -- history is likely to record the challenge to tear down the wall as a meaningless talk closed quote. that's quotation number one. quotation number two, this comes from the -- [inaudible conversations] who at the time was a lutheran pastor and democracy advocate who became president of the reeye on if e id germany. quote this was speaking couple of years ago. reagan spoke the right word at the right time. and in the right place. closed quote -- will who is right? >> certainly the pastor so they have -- >> i put that question together i thought it would be a closer call the at this point. >> reagan had a strategic imagination to imagine without iron curtain and without the
soviet union. jamie. >> certainly president. and hr -- you're going make it unanimous or give me trouble? >> i'll make you ask but emphasize words and deeds. right words and deeds we've talked about -- we've talked about, you know, the military strength and the broad range of diplomatic efforts we've talked about tear down wall speech and sustain efforts to -- toto eliminate a class of nucler weapons so ting it is -- the integration of policy and a broad range of efforts with those powerful words. >> you see what i have to deal with hr as my colleague he says yes, yes robinson words matter but every so often you need to call on tanks. [laughter] last question -- all three of you are or have been teachers. hr is teaching this term or i guess term, will smack dab in the middle of one of the nation great universities jamie is in a
certain sense is educating tens of millions of beam radio for europe and radio liberty but you have been a teacher. imagine a high school or college kid today about and that is to say imagine someone who was born a dozen years or more after ronald reagan delivered the speech. give me -- give me a sentence two sentences that spleen to such a young amen why we're still talking about that speech 34 years later. and what one thing if they can remember one thing about it what one thing they need to remember. jamie let's go with you first. >> it is a tall order but i will say -- i think the message i would have is to change lives of millions because i think yods think it was that powerful, and the
basic, simple moral clarity play the key role in helping to end cold war but -- it is incredibly difficult to explain that people who did not lev through that period i was -- a kid when the wall fell so i watch it on tv and it had a powerful role in shaping my career from afar. but i would just suggest that we need to bring people to berlin. i think you can learn even despite challenges that i describe -- here today people immediate to see and walk, walk through the gate to walk past where the speech was given, tack to berliners, some who are still alive who lived through that periods and see it first hand i think that's most powerful way to learn about -- how important the speech was. >>o hr. >> just two things, i think that young people should learn from the speeches. and from the cold war is that the ark of history does not guarantee privacy of our free and open societies over closed
authoritarian systems we have ao compete effectively, and you see ark of history doesn't bend to justice. >> it does not. we have to grab and bend it ourselves? >> and -- for us to compete effectively require confidence, and i think that our -- history should teach us that america is a force for good in the world. we're not flawless. but i think we need to reject orthodoxy of thehe new left as well as orthodoxy of the so-called realist school which is really an ideolodge kalg movement behind a new sentiments to isolationism. so -- so i think that that's what students ought to take away from this is that -- it is that we have to compete. and we ought to be confident in america's role in the world. >> will -- last words. >> all right. again twowo things briefly. first we need to teach this history to remind our students to teach them about holocaust of the truly awful wicked things
that human beings are capable of doing to each other when you look at the vicious repression on the entire world, we should not forget that. sending i want to quote my favorite line from the speech we haven't mentioned yet today this is again reagan's words as long as this gate o is closed, as log as this horrible war is committed to stand it is not the german question alone that remains open. butt the question of freedom for all mankind. and we look at chinese today communist tyranny today and north korea on putin tyranny we're reminded that question of freedom all of mankind is not mirks call question but a question for our students and young people today. jamie fly of radio europe and liberty, thank you general hr mcmaster pal here at the hoover institution and author most recently of battle grounds, thank you. and will of the university of
texas -- and the author of the forthcoming book that title of which he's about to family. peacemaker ronald reagan in the white house and the world. >> would you i leak that and update is -- >> sometime through december or january still about six months away. >> all right jamie fly will, and hr mcmaster, thank you. for uncommon knowledge hoover institution fox nation, and the ronald reagan institute, i'm peter robinson. weekends on c-span2 are intellectual feast, every saturday american history tv documents america's stories. and on sundays booktv brings you the latest nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies a enmore including cox. mitted to providing eligible access to affordable internet through the connect to compete
program with the digital divide one connected and engaged student at a time. cox bringing us closer. cox along with these television companies sports c-span2 as a public service. two world war i historians join us on a soldier from france to arlington national cemetery. >> allison whaing -- how did this concept of the unknown soldier being honored come about? >> really it really goes back to the beginning of the mechanismization of warfare you see expand during world war i of course you have a lot unidentifiable remain but people were struggling with the fact they could not figure out who many of the casualties were so great britain and france buried unknown soldier in each of the
countries in great britain in westminster abbey and arch triumph in paris so u.s. tried to do something about that and started by hamiltonfish of new york who submitted legislation to bury unknown soldier from the u.s. >> i hear casket is being carried down steps of the united states capitol that'sed scene that modern americans will be familiar with similar ceremonies in our time. and put on the first drawn year that will make its way over through the streets of washington and over to arlington cemetery. let's watch for just a minute.
>> so that is where today you see the larger over that which was not yet constructed at this moment. >> and there the final shot ofarming ton national cemetery much of what we see today with many white headstone marking grave of the fallen. >> capitol lit up at night. >> i think it is important to pause for a moment and think about the meaning that the unknown soldier had at this time. it was about world war i yes but it was also thought to be a memorial that could connect all of the different american conflicts that can stretch beyond world war i and really honor all of those who serve in our nation's armed forces that really continues very strongly until today. >> you're watching american history tv, exploring our nation's past. >> welcome to atlanta history centers virtual author