President Ronald Reagan was determined to end the Cold War at the expense of the Soviet Union, according to Ken Adelman, author of "Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War."
"Ronald Reagan really had a strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union," Adelman — whose book chronicles Reagan's 1986 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland — told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"On the way to the 1980 Republican Convention, when he was flying to Detroit to be nominated as the presidential nominee, a friend of his, the political adviser Stuart Spencer, said, 'Ron why are you doing this? Why do you want to be president?'
"And he said, 'To end the Cold War.' And he had a philosophy on its ending. He said it'll end by we win and they lose."
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Adelman, former director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and main adviser to Reagan during the Cold War arms control negotiations, added the nation's 40th president had courage.
"He had enormous courage of his convictions, and he sought things out," he said.
"Secretary of State George Schultz, who was at Reagan's side for most of the eight years he was president … made the point that Reagan was of the opinion that you don't cock a rifle unless you're going to fire it. You don't make a threat that something is going to be unacceptable unless you go and you just will not accept it at the end.
"So Reagan was somebody who really showed enormous conviction, and that kind of conviction from my experience … was quite rare in government.''
Adelman believes Reagan would have handled Russian President Vladimir Putin's military aggression in Ukraine differently.
"First of all, he would have had an overall strategy, and he certainly would have had more courage than we can see in the scene today," he said.
But Adelman added that Putin's actions are not a return to the Cold War.
"The conditions are very, very different. Our Russian Army of today is one-fourth the size of the Soviet Army at the time of Reykjavik. The Russian nuclear force is less than a fourth, probably a fifth of what it was at the time of Reykjavik," he said.
The economy of Russia is at about the same level as the economy of Italy and going down and … they don't have any overall ideology, like Marxism, that would appeal to people in Cuba and Angola, Cambodia.
"They have Russian nationalism, and Russian nationalism is wonderful for Russian nationalists."
Adelman's new book is published by Broadside Books.
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