Perestroika and the Transformation of U.S.-Soviet Relations
Today, twenty years after those seminal events, the National Security Archive is posting a series of newly declassified Soviet and U.S. documents which allow one to appreciate the depth and the speed of change occurring both inside the Soviet Union and in U.S.-Soviet relations in the pivotal year of 1985. Most of the documents are being published for the first time.
Major highlights include insights into Gorbachev's early thinking and his skillful use of his power of appointment to build a reform coalition and to achieve a breakthrough in foreign policy. The challenging road to Geneva is illustrated by the leaders' correspondence, which touched upon all the most difficult issues in U.S.-Soviet relations -- the arms control negotiations (especially the Strategic Defense Initiative), regional conflicts and humanitarian issues. The Geneva Summit itself became a tremendous learning and trust-building experience for both leaders, but also represented a missed opportunity in terms of their inability to move faster toward deep reductions of nuclear weapons, which were the highest priority for both Reagan and Gorbachev.
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