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tv   James Baker the End of the Cold War  CSPAN  April 25, 2021 9:00am-10:01am EDT

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great pleasure to introduce our two speakers first, of course our author dr. diana villiers. negroponte was a global fellow at the wilson centers global europe program. where she focuses on the uk's global role in following following its departure from the eu. her focus derives from her i'm at the european commission and her leadership of the conservative parties international office in the 1970s. with belgian and british parents, she was involved in british politics and relations with the europe until her to a us diplomat.
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at the wilson center. she has been researching a diplomatic history of the last years of the cold war focused on the role of secretary of state james r baker the product of which her new book will be discussing today. published in december 2020 her book i'll hold it up for everyone to see. focuses on the unification of germany and the strength of us alliances to repel saddam hussein from kuwait and to bring both israel and palestinian leaders to negotiate directly. congratulations diana wonderful to finally see this in print having been your neighbor and colleague at the wilson center and engaged in many wonderful discussions on the subject with you. our second panelist who will in fact start us off is william drozdiak. question regarded as one of the most knowledgeable american
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observers of european affairs. during his tenure as foreign editor of the washington post the newspaper one pulled surprises for its international reporting on the israeli palestinian conflict and the collapse of the communist empire. he also served as the post chief european correspondent based at various times in don berlin, paris and brussels and covered the middle east for time magazine. he later became the founding executive director of the german marshall funds transatlantic center in brussels and served for 10 years as president of the american council on germany. before becoming a journalist. he played professional basketball in the united states and europe for seven years. my staff actually dug up some wonderful pictures. is highly acclaimed book fractured continent europe's crisis of the fate of the west was selected by the financial times as one of the best political books of 2017.
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his latest book the last president of europe emmanuel macarthur race to revive friends and save the world. you can see it there on the right side and in the background behind him. focuses on francis youthful president in his efforts to shape the future of europe and a new world order. the book was published in april 2020 the lighted to welcome both of you to this session, and i'm the pleasure of now turning the zoom room over to william drozdiak. floors yours well, thank you very much christian, and it's a great pleasure to be with my dear friend and colleague diana negroponte to celebrate the the launch of her great book about james or baker. i mean, it's a real tour to force because when you consider the fact that baker in three years the secretary of state was instrumental in ending the civil war the wars in central america.
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helping to build an international coalition that expelled saddam hussein and its forces from kuwait and then later he organized and orchestrated the first major middle east peace conference in madrid. which later open the way for secret negotiations between israelis and palestinians that were guided by the norwegian foreign ministry. but the i look forward to our conversation to explore the that the phase at the end of the cold war the dissolution of the soviet empire and discussing with diana. just how tricky this was and there was no guarantee that this would lead to such an extraordinary diplomatic achievement. in fact in my view.
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it's probably the ranks at the top of the great diplomatic achievements in american history. so i look forward to on our conversation and diana. let's start with discussing a bit and how you were inspired and motivated to write this. what was the i know you're you're scholarship is as well known about and your knowledge of central america, but this seemed to take you into other domains that that you were not so well acquainted with thank you, bill. and thank you christian and the program of history and public policy at the wilson center which invited me to become a scholar and to spend the last five years at the wilson center. it's been an extraordinary opportunity to undertake research and to write. to answer your question bill.
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my first book was about the making peace in el salvador at the end of the cold war and through examination of this proxy war. i became intrigued to what was happening elsewhere. so i began to read widely about germany and europe and the middle east. but it needed a figure it needed a statesman. to give a sense of purpose and thread throughout this tumultuous years. and i had had the pleasure of meeting secretary baker when he visited mexico and said well, i wonder if i could ask him if i could write. and he told me categorically you cannot write my biography. well, can i write a slice of your life? can i write the slice? when you was secretary of state.
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and from that moment forward i pitched in. and did wonderful research in the library of congress and at the wilson center. let's let's talk about the the dissolution of the soviet empire which and the reunification of germany within nato. which when the berlin wall first opened up in november of 1989. there was no guarantee that this outcome would would happen and indeed as you appointed out. in your in your book that there was there was a lot of resistance and opposition even with among western leaders. it was only through the determination of george hw bush and his secretary of state james baker that helm will cole was able to push this through
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against the opposition at the start of from margaret thatcher of britain and also from francois meter home in france who often reminded people because i was then based in paris in the early 90s and when i interviewed me john he would never fail to site the poet francois moriak. who said i love germany so much. i'm grateful every day that there are two of them. and meet you around well into 1990 was pushing for to sustain east germany as an independent state. tell me your thoughts as you did the research and writing of this remarkable chapter ending the cold war. you started your question with the dissolution of the soviet union. and i think we have to go back to april 1988 the last year of
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president reagan's term. because that april the polish president agreed that the solidarsk the trade union led by lake balesa could participate in parliamentary elections. that was a breakthrough. those elections solid ask one in june. the sum of the hungarians broke through that electric fence and poured into austria. that october the protestants marched in dresden and leipzig of east germany and eastern europe was on the move the liberal liberalization the freedom movements. we're exciting for the west. and threatening for the soviet union so the task for the new administration coming in in january of 1989 was how do we
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manage these freedom movements the excitement the cascading change? without damaging a reformist secretary general of the soviet union mikhail gorbachev if we push too far if we show the victory the likelihood, is that the kremlin apparachics will push him out? so there was a balancing act which had to occur. support self-determination support values which we shared but not so enthusiastically. that go by jeff would be under threat. so the united states watched the developments for freedom the movements in eastern europe throughout this summer and early fall of 1989.
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but meantime gorbachev is trying to reform the economy trying to break up that totalitarian state. this is an enormous task. some would say it's a task of a lifetime of decades. and certainly not of two or three years. but there was an opportunity which secretary baker took up. he recognized the opportunity to engage moscow. to engage gorbachev and maybe to move forward out of the sterility. and hostility of the cold war then you will remember bill because you were either in berlin or in paris on that night of november 9th 1989. when the press officer in the east german government unexpectedly said you may travel. you may travel.
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immediately right away. and the young of east berlin poured over that wall broke it down and abc news covered every bit of it. and so we all saw it happening. and that was an indication of fundamental change in relations between so mikhail gorbachev and the bush administration? but how to react to it remained question and you and i have talked about how the temptation may have been to dumps on that wall. but bush and baker understood the pressures within the soviet union and the conservative forces behind mikhail gorbachev. and they played it cool. real cool to the point that
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leslie stahl said you're giving boiler plate answers aren't you enthusiastic aren't you excited? and secretary baker used all his control to keep to what was the official line? but after the fall of the wall the issue became what happens next what happens if you have a flood of these germans hungarians poles checkoslovaks pouring into the west other social services there? what about the financial impact? what about the impact? on soviet troops 370,000 of which were still in east germany? where they're going to move? where we going to see a repeat? of 1956 in budapest or 1989.
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sorry nine 1953 in berlin. there was that tension because it was not for sure. the soviet troops that warsaw troops would stay in their barracks. but they did. yes, absolutely. therefore you would then can. begin to listen to helmut call who said this is an opportunity historical moment for west germany. there's an opportunity to unite and margaret thatcher said no way jose. i was in the bombing of london in 1940 and 41 and i'm now going to make any deal with the germans and meet their hall said well europe matters, but a strong united germany in the center of europe. that could be a threat. so baker sets out to persuade both those leaders as well as the other europeans. that a united germany anchored
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in nato. would enable the rest of europe to live peacefully knowing that germany would not have any ability to build its own nuclear capacity. yes, the economy would be strong but that strong economy could also be a bulwark against the soviet union. this is a long way of saying. that the emergence of germany are united, germany. was thanks to. president george hw bush brent scowcroft his second national security advisor and secretary of state james baker. that's fascinating diana. bakers one of his great skills was in his personal relationships that he used to great effect and notably foreign
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minister edward chevron nazi became very close to him. yes, and i remember in fact an incident of what horse tellchic good friend of mine. who was helm of kohl's national security advisor. we were talking i asked did it was there any point in when you thought this is all going to go off the rails and end very badly. and he recounted a day early in january 1990. he said cole got a phone call from garbage off. and he said it looks like i may lose the vote. in the central committee. there are a lot of hardliners who want to call out the russian troops and put down the demonstrations in light leipzig in in a brutal way. and shepherd nazi. meanwhile got on the phone with baker and baker then talked to bush and they coordinated with gorbachev so that they sent telch. to moscow with promises of vast
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amounts of money that would help. sue the the russians and help their economy as a way of putting and warning them any use of violence would would be devastating for for russia. so tell us a little bit about what you learned of bakers. personal diplomacy in terms of managing his friendships and relationships too good effect in. let me let me answer first about the german role and the role of the german bankers. in providing the initial grants and credits to the soviet union. gorbachev needed money he was breaking up the cooperatives. it was breaking up the state-owned enterprises. but he had to have money with which to. help move this transition this
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economy forward. the united states had its own problems in 1990 a minor. little say a little hiccup in the economy and there was no way that the americans were going in 1990 1990 to produce funds but germany call recognize he might have to pay. a price the unification and if that price was credits and loans to the soviet union leader he believed that that was the right decision. baker knew of it baker new the situation in the soviet economy as former treasury secretary. he had studied he knew the numbers there. he also knew that the statistics coming out of the soviet union were false. and the cia did not even have very good numbers on what was happening in the soviet union. but he recognized.
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that money was important and that money was needed. so he worked closely. with his colleague in germany hands deep creek cancer and the president worked closely with helmut cole. so that an agreement that could be a reached whereby. gorbachev had money and jim the german's head unity. so let's go on to that personal relationship, and i want to take you from europe and take you right? to syria in 1919 the fall of 1990 the united states needed syrian support in building a coalition to repel saddam hussein from kuwait syria was key.
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now president assad did not like saddam hussein. they were not friends. in fact, they were enemies. but to persuade president assad required sitting for hours. in the syrian palace and drinking lots of sweet tea. well, you know up to three or four hours of drinking sweet tea you do need a bathroom, but sad dad. sorry president assad was giving no bathroom breaks. and therefore they could decide it that although his relations with our sad were cordial and well. he would call it. bladder diplomacy and that was repeated again. when 18 months later baker sought to bring the israeli prime minister and the palestinian leader together. to begin a process of peace and once again he had to go back to
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damascus and once again, he had to sit and drink sweet tea. and he did it. because he knew that asad was key. to bringing along the arab countries to support the palestinians in sitting down across the table from each section here mmm, well that's he also would go to yemen and a few other very hard-line countries in order to assemble. this this large international coalition as you say line up key arab states the other amazing achievement is that he got the rest of the world to pay for it. the the military expedition force that expelled saddaminist forces from kuwait. how did he manage to do that to getting getting all these other countries to to pay for the
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costs the enormous costs of of sending hundreds of thousands of american soldiers over to the middle east to to drive out saddam's forces from kuwait. this was an issue of principle. the violation of kuwait sovereignty and american leadership to stand up against invading other countries. so he took that principle first of all to the soviets to his friend, chevron nazi. and he said you'll stand with us won't you? and chevron nazi. they're all your own. you know, we iraq is our ally. so this is difficult one. but with various skillful diplomacy and the help of dennis ross. baker succeeded in getting soviet joint leadership in mobilizing this coalition to
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eject saddam from kuwait but there was the issue also of the other countries in the gulf. saudi arabia was particularly vulnerable because saddam hussein had indicated that he was mobilizing or that he could mobilize troops to move on the northern part of saudi. and therefore secretary -- cheney was sent to saudi arabia to offer defense to offer security. but naturally you've got to start paying for it and the country which produces all that oil should done well be able to put in a few bucks. the kuwaitis could put in a few bucks. and gradually they collected. from nations of the persian cup from japan from europe support in terms of money equipment troops transport so that it became an international coalition.
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and not just an american or a soviet coalition. there were hiccups on the way. and the soviets wanted a little more time. surely saddam hussein will withdraw if we persuade him after all we are his sponsor. but baker remained strong he said you want 15 days. i'll give you half. you want another day? i'll give you no i won't give it to you. and therefore the deadlines which the us forces asked for? in early 1991 were respected despite the fact that moscow and the soviet generals would have liked more time. well besides the difficulties and tensions within this international coalition. it was though there were also some some problems at home in
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keeping maintaining a bipartisan consensus. in fact when you look at today's landscape the sharp divide between republicans and democrats, it's hard to imagine a time when we actually did have a bipartisan consensus on foreign policy. what what did baker spend a lot of time? soothing let's say conservative voices who were upset with the kind of diplomacy. he was conducting he knew how to do that. he had been reagan's chief of staff. he'd been secretary of the treasury. he knew that a bipartisan foreign policy. had to be achieved it was difficult and he would always had those who were opposed. so when it came to that iraq war of the fall of 1990. he talked. he persuaded. but something happened.
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baker came up with certain arguments when he was talking to bishops. other arguments when he was talking to the american public and the president had other justifications as well. so there was a muddled reasoning for going for for bringing us troops into this fight. but baker developed. a good way out or a good solution he suggested that the united nations security council. vote on emotion to use all necessary means to go to war should saddam not withdraw? those negotiations with the 15 members of the un security council were very difficult. and there was always the concern
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that either. china or soviet union both permanent members of the security council and therefore both with the ability to veto all necessary means and that was a demonstration of skill, which has not been seen. he went to every one of those 14 countries. he actually in the case of china he met the chinese foreign minister at cairo airport. to persuade him not to veto. and in the end he gained. you and security council approval. for all necessary means which was a code word for military action, then he took that back to the us senate and he said look. if yemen and columbia can vote
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to go to war to repel saddam hussein. surely mr. senators and madam senator you can agree to and they convinced that with the international community. behind united states that they should authorize. war to repel said or eject so down from kuwait, but only ejects are down from kuwait. not to overthrow saddam hussein that agreement did not exist. well, it's amazing description of what he achieved as we said in just the span of three years. i gather he was very reluctant. to lead the state department when his lifelong friend george hw bush summoned him back to the white house to to help salvage
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his presidency and and manage his his campaign in 1992. did you? it does it the does baker feel still still some moments of chagrin about having to back into the the the political fight when he was she achieving all these great and noble diplomatic results. it was very hard for him and it was very hard for his team. small group of advisors around him but bush had called early in 1991. and it was clear to baker that there was trouble in the campaign. and in early 1992 he turned to his advisors and he said i'm going to have to go back and help my friend. i'm going to have to leave a job. i have loved.
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a job in which i think i've made a difference. and they will hoped he would choose his advisors hoped that baker would choose others. to go with him back to go with him to the white house. but baker had worked so closely with bob's delic and dennis ross and miss tutwiler and janet mullins and bob kemet. and richard burt that he said we're all going actually bert had left for another job, but the others knew that they would have to leave and it was with deep regret because they knew they had achieved so much. and they recognize that the likelihood. of winning the election remained difficult well christian, maybe we could not entertain some questions from the audience now and the time that remains and
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both diana and i are willing to to respond. i'm from absolutely thank you so much for this great conversation. let's open it up to questions and comments from the audience you can do this in two ways to repeat you can use the raised hand function in the zoom functionality or you can write your question into q&a function at the at the top of your screen. um, we'll have a seats. we have several questions already, but let me prep start out by asking you diana to just review briefly the kind of sources you use to write your book. there was the center is home to the cold war international history project which prides itself on providing access to archives around the world
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including on the end of the cold war and so i'm curious to to see what kind of materials you. used perhaps to say was there any one document where you thought? this is this is as good as a smoking gun as i'll ever get to explaining baker and and are there. what are the gaps that you still see what documents what information would you have liked to have access to but couldn't for a variety of reasons so sort of three layered question there undocuments. well conscious. thank you first. for the cold war history project which is lodged at the wilson center. because that enabled me to read original documents. britain as memos at the time of meetings and they were most
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helpful. then i had access at the library of congress. to host tell chicks book to materials works and to frederick bozos analysis also child's powell introduced me to the british archives, which enabled me to see thatches point of view as well as her foreign secretaries. you i followed that up with meetings interviews with the men and women who had worked with baker. now not all of their memory was crisp. and we agreed where there was some doubt. but i gathered from them. that genuine administration for working with this man. it was there and they were prepared to talk. so i spent wonderful. i think i have 22 interviews
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including some pretty racy stories from some. but you ask what was the smoking gun? there is a meeting in february 1919. with between baker and mikhail gorbachev. about lacing a united germany in nato and in that meeting baker says if they are united and placed in nato nato will not move one inch further east. and i've seen that record both the translation of the russian record from charanaya. and the american record from dennis ross. it was both agree. that the statement won each further east. was said and what baker meant
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was that i'm focused on eastern, germany. and it is east germany that i'm talking about. and he was not conscious at that time. of whether hungry and poland and check and slovakia would follow he was determined that germany should be united in nato, but it is. force to think that he already anticipated the other countries of eastern europe. now as we all know now. in 2004 and subsequently the other eastern countries eastern european countries joined nato. and that has provoked the russians by now to claim that baker broke his word. and they have used this one inch further east in their propaganda to say you can't can't trust americans they break their word.
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so finding that record of that meeting in february 1990 was critically important to understand what really happened. where the gaps i'll tell you what because i hope it's the subject of my next book. there was a very important meeting in february 1992 between president bush and boris yeltsin. was up at camp david. and the content of those meetings really establish the relationship between the united states and russia for the next 15 years. and those are the archives that i'm digging out. great. thank you very much. let's go. the questions but let me call
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and sorry for pronouncing yourself. could we call them her to? okay, we i think we'll go to. will go to the next. a explain joel cohen cohen you will be asked yes, please. i need yourself. well, she answered my question. please ask questions. and my time over thank you mr. cohen. i still hear your question.
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no, yeah, did breaker baker break his word, but you answered that. thank you. okay, very good. um next up we call on sega rachenko. thank you christian, and thank you diane for wonderful presentation actually following up on that discussion that you've just had about baker and the unfold the so called unfulfilled promise just to further, you know further a couple of observations on this. um, i mean, first of all baker was talking about east germany in the the non-expension of nato jurisdiction and to east germany, of course, that promised also was not kept in fact the bush administration walked away from that promise almost as quickly as it was made. that's just just a small
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observation. i i the question i have is this in may 1990 gorbachev met with baker and plead it for the soviet union's inclusion in nato. i think at that point gorbache of realized things were falling apart for him. he wanted the soviet union to join nato now when he made this plea baker did not actually respond. he sort of just ignored those words. do you think baker? whack the imagination to imagine this kind of world war the soviet union could actually have joined nato. thank you, sergey. what an extraordinary question i'm really fascinated by it because my recollection of may 1990 is that gorbachev had other priorities and they were not. to antennato, so i find your question fascinating and i'll look further into it.
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thank you. thanks. thanks. sarah gave for your question as well. me call next on. susan backhelder if you're still with us, there we go. play some youtube. yes, but my question has to do with the relationship of the secretary of state and the president with the cia at that point. it seemed to me that the amount of information that was flowing. in the executive branches because of all of the connections that grew out of world war ii. and the oss and the various personal relationships that were forged during that time gave this administration. a particular resonance with personal relationships that had come out of that period i was wondering if you could speak to that. susan i would like to listen to
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you about that because i don't have any knowledge about the personal relations which william webster or other members of the cia had developed at this period with soviet or warsaw pact leaders, but i would be i'd love to follow up with you. thank you. thank you from the q&a function there's a question. was there a plan to deal with safeguarding the soviet? unions nuclear arsenal due to the disintegration of the warsaw pact a question by george nelson. diana mister nelson, this was bill. feel free. this was a very important. part, which senator nun and senator richard lugar initiated
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they recognize that the quantity of nuclear material and arms in kazakhstan in russia in ukraine in belarus presented a significant threat to global security. and that action had to be taken. to safeguard contain these materials now initially when they put this forward in the senate baker didn't pick it up initially. and both lugar and none worked hard. to get senate appropriation of 400 million dollars per year. to be used to safeguard the nuclear material which was in those four republics of the soviet union. and baker then took on that task of implementing.
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the non-luger agreement nuclear agreement and it took him to all those countries in which he would seek. those countries to accept democratic principles and would ask them then to agree to constrain or safeguard or pass their nuclear material. to central locations where they could be observed warehoused and disposed of it's a very important part of the early years of post-cold war, and we've got to thank two wonderful senators for initiating maintaining that money 400 million until very recently. and i might add that's a an excellent example. of the kind of bipartisan foreign policy that was possible at that time and produced such a laudable agreement. but yet today seems almost
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impossible to achieve thank you a question from fred taylor's. could you address baker's role in dealing with china after tiananmen? best i was this is a critical moment. because bush had been our us representative for 10 months in beijing and he had full form during that time a relationship with deng shopping. and after the massacre of students and workers not only in tiananmen, but throughout china. those students and workers who sought to bring about reforms liberalization in the same way as with eastern europe had done. young xiaoping decided that that
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should be suppressed. it was an issue of deep divide in the chinese communist party. but dang xiaoping made the final order that the reformist should be removed. and that the students and workers should be stored. and all of us remember that june the 4th 1989 because once again american tv networks were on the spot in beijing at that time. but the response to it. created deep divisions in the united states. within congress there was an insistence. on sanctions stop the interaction of the both diplomatically with beijing and with the communist regime of dangshopping. human rights defenders well horrified at the way in which
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individuals were being rounded up. and disappeared but bush believed that he had a special relationship. with the chinese leader, which would permit him to solve the problem personally. so he picked up the telephone and called dang show bing. silence baker tried silence because neither man understood that in chinese culture a senior official only takes a call a telephone call from a foreign leader. one if he knows what the question is what is going to be asked and what is the agreed upon answer to deliver? and with neither of those present president bush never got an answer so yes sanctions were put in the chinese were deterred
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from developing more sophisticated nuclear weapons. secretary of commerce moss backer canceled the visit of businessmen to china there were steps taken which were unsatisfactory to the human rights community unsatisfactory to many in the democratic party. but the underlying reason was that bush was determined not to destroy the relationship with china. and two years later when bush and bake it needed chinese. support for that united nations security council vote on no necessary means on military action for iraq the relationship was still good enough.
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for baker to be able to talk to the chinese foreign minister. so it's a deeply conflictive period in american politics as with the chinese, too. but i think that in the end. the decision not to impose the strictest of sanctions enabled baker to talk and to reach an agreement with his chinese counterpart. thank you very much. we have a question from louis cell. he's racist and if you could call him. yep, please unmute yourself. thank you very much. i've just done muted myself. i'm assume you can hear me. i'm i foreign service officer. i had the pleasure of working with secretary baker as political counselor and belgrade from 1987 to 91 then political counselor in moscow from 1991 to 94.
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and i personally think baker was one of the greatest secretaries of state of the cold war the world and the united states was fortunate to have him and george schultz when we did. that said no one's perfect and baker and the bush administration often criticized for what they did or more accurately what they didn't do in yugoslavia. the disintegration which i witnessed and then came back to i wonder if in the research ms. agraponti that you did in the interviews you had with the secretary and people in his administration. was there any were there any second thoughts about that any any remorse or any comments about the the the role then the administration in yugoslavia and also did in your view beggar
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actually say we don't have a dog in that fight. i've seen various statements pro and con and i wondered if you have managed to settle that question. thank you. you are quite right, mr. cell. and are you the author of a wonderful book? i think you are. yes, thank you. you are right, mr. cell. that yugoslavia was not prevented. from milosovich's authoritarian way and destruction of the federation so what happens is that in june of 91? han's secret gensha persuades baker to take a trip to belgrade and to meet with the leaders of the yugoslav republics. they can knows that there is. in percent chance, very little opportunity that is going to
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persuade milosovich. to stand back stand down but he goes and he meets with each of those of the leaders of the republic. they have a dinner that night. and mrs. baker susan baker writes about that dinner. it is with crystal and chandeliers. and every leader at that dinner knew that those crystals would be smashed within six months. and yet they all pretended. that they could somehow keep the federation together. it was mission impossible impossible. slobodon milosovich was determined. to advance and expand the serbian republic and the united states was not about to send troops down to the baltics sorry, the ball comes forgive me
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the balkans to prevent it happening. remember we had just finished the iraq war. so the secretary-general of nato comes comes in to see president bush. and he says we'll do it. with the europeans will do it. saw backyard and it's at that moment that bush says. if you can do it, that's good. we have no dog in this fight. and i know that bill drozdiak has some comments on this. well this that's absolutely right the the comment from my believe the luxembourg foreign minister that the hour of europe has come to intercede in this in the in the balkan civil wars, but was an utter failure. when the europeans tried to
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conduct diplomacy it led nowhere and partly because melosovich only feared the united states what he was really worried about was the the overwhelming firepower that the us could bring to bear at some point and it dragged on for years and bill clinton was reluctant to get embroiled in the balkan conflict as well. and it finally reached a point in 1995. i believe when tony blair said to clinton. you've got to intervene we've got to send a message a tough message to melosovich and if we don't we could be witnessing the collapse of the western alliance and of nato and it was only then that clinton woke up to the fact that it was necessary to use force. he was very concerned about getting involved in this conflict because he has approval
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ratings were down in the 40% mark but when he took this difficult decision he was surprised and as aids were related to see that when he could show this kind of a leadership. his approval ratings went up into the high 60s. so it's a it's again a lesson that sometimes making hard and difficult decisions against the grain of public opinion can and be very productive, but i think that your point about a baker it shows that he knew the limits of diplomacy just as they didn't want he and george bush did not want the american forces to go all the way to baghdad when they were driving out the forces of saddam hussein from kuwait. they realize that this would be a complete mess and the united
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states would then become embroiled in a in a long standing occupation. so i think it was mark of his shrewdness, even though they were criticized for not doing so and many people believe that this was what instigated of george bush hw. bush's son to to compensate and and try to drive out invading iraq partly as a way of showing he could go one better than his father. thank you. we're quickly running out of time. but let me see if we can get a couple more questions in a very short one from elizabeth ecker how many languages did bakers speak and did this help? texan english full stop oh a little bit of spanish. okay. thank you from james lowenstein.
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do you think that gorbachev has had any second thoughts and did you make any attempt to interview him? you might did not seek to enter into interview him principally because traveled to the to russia was. a little difficult um, he has wonderful wonderful records and he has written much and those works are in his foundation and they're all so translated and available here in the united states. so i don't know if it was laziness or if it was the ability to be able to do the research at the library of congress. thank you from thomas rakabush. good afternoon, mrs. negroponte. what was the point of view of james baker on the usaid and peace corps efforts in order to promote free market economy in eastern europe after the fall of
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the berlin wall was he cautious about it or on the contrary very supportive of such policies supported and that starts in his time as secretary of treasury. he recognized that seed money. which was advisors and small amounts of money. given to the countries of poland and hungary could help those countries do the trance do the transfer from a centrally administered economy to a free market. he was very much in favor of it. but mr. represent. when it came to 1991 1992 when the soviets clearly needed large sums of funds in order to be carried out their economic transformation. baker gathered the same coalition that he gathered for iraq war he gathered that coalition in a pledging conference in washington.
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but the us contribution was relatively small to the point that the french foreign minister said, you know when george marshall gathered this kind of a conference pledging conference at the end of world war ii the us. led the effort with its funding and now hmm you've seem to be following others. we were not able to come up with the sums of money which might have made a difference. thank you diana. i'm afraid i have to bring this wonderful discussion to an end. i think we could have gone on for quite a while longer with apologies to those. i could not call on like to again congratulate diana on a wonderful book and a great presentation. thank you william drozdiak for your questions and comments here today and for joining us for this book launch. thanks to our audience for their comments and questions.
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terrific afternoon. thank you to the wilson centers av team john tyler jer thompson peter bierstecker on my team as well for their technical suppori'm going to get us start.
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gallagher with a question that will eventually lead you to your most recent book and the question is about the first primary source that you encountered in the civil war manuscript source i'm curious if you can recall with was the first one you put into your hands. and he manuscripts for us. what do you think? i can remember first. boy, i think but it would have been it might have been. an alexander hamilton stevens letter that i a collection i was looking at. in t


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