Podcast

When Ronnie Met Mikhail​

On our podcast: As Trump sits down with Putin, we look back at a summit in Reykjavik that helped end the Cold War.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. in December 1987. (AFP/Getty Images)
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. in December 1987. (AFP/Getty Images)

In the fall of 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent American President Ronald Reagan a letter proposing a quick summit. Reagan agreed, expecting a polite exchange and a photo opportunity. But when the two leaders sat down for talks 10 days later in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, Gorbachev made a dramatic proposal: deep cuts to both the Soviet and American nuclear arsenals. On our podcast his week, the man who attended the summit as Reagan’s arms control director, Kenneth Adelman, recounts the drama and explains how the deal collapsed – but set the stage for subsequent arms control agreements.

In the fall of 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent American President Ronald Reagan a letter proposing a quick summit. Reagan agreed, expecting a polite exchange and a photo opportunity. But when the two leaders sat down for talks 10 days later in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, Gorbachev made a dramatic proposal: deep cuts to both the Soviet and American nuclear arsenals. On our podcast his week, the man who attended the summit as Reagan’s arms control director, Kenneth Adelman, recounts the drama and explains how the deal collapsed – but set the stage for subsequent arms control agreements.

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