The End of the Cold War: Ambassador Jack Matlock’s Inside Story

More than three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, many people today fear a return to a Cold War with Russia. So it’s important to understand how the first one ended.

Today we’re going back 20 years , to a conversation with the longtime foreign service officer, and one-time U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock.

His 2004 book was called Reagan and Gorbachev: How The Cold War Ended.

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As a top ranking career diplomat, Matlock was at the very center of the U.S.-Soviet relationship. He was there for everything from the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 to the Breakup of the Soviet Union almost 30 years later.

His book was packed with the kind of details and insight that only a key insider would have.

So here now, from 2004, Ambassador Jack Matlock.

Jack Matlock is 94 now, and lives in New Jersey.

Alexander Haig

Today is March 30th, and it was 41 years ago today that a young man tried to kill President Ronald Reagan.

And one of the most controversial things that happened that day happened to a man with a long and distinguished military and public service career, general. Alexander Haig.

Haig was a graduate of West point m. He served in Korea, served in Vietnam, earned the silver Star and the purple heart. And by 1973 was the youngest four-star general ever in the US army.

In 1973, Haig became President Richard Nixon’s, Chief of staff just as the Watergate scandal was turning up to full boil.

In fact, many say that Haig was instrumental in persuading Nixon to resign the presidency in 1974.

In 1980, after being elected president in a landslide, Ronald Reagan chose Haig as his secretary of State. And it was the following March 30th, the day. John Hinckley Jr. Tried to assassinate the president, that Haig made a comment that will haunt him.

In 1992, Haig wrote a book called inner circles. And that’s when I have the chance to meet him. So here now, from 1992, general Alexander Haig.

Alexander Haig died in 2010. He was 85.

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George Shultz

George Shulz served in various positions under three U.S. presidents — in fact Shultz held four different cabinet-level posts over the years.

An economist by training, Shultz came to Washington as Richard Nixon’s first Labor Secretary. He became Director of the Office of Management and Budget a year later, and a year after that Nixon appointed him Treasury Secretary.

Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. and in 1982 chose Shultz as his Secretary of State. Shultz became a key shaper of foreign policy during the Reagan’s administration.

I met him in the spring of 1993, when he wrote a long memoir of his years at the State Department.

So here now, from 1993, George Shultz.

George Shultz died this past February at the age of 100.

Bruce Laingen

In early November 1979, a group of students and militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking everyone inside hostage, including the chargé d’affaires, a career diplomat named Bruce Laingen.

The militants were demanding the return of the exiled Shah of Iran, who was undergoing medical treatment in the U.S.

But diplomatic and even military efforts to free the hostages failed, and they ended up being held in Iran for 444 days. It was only on Inauguration Day 1981 that the hostages were ultimately freed.

Years later, Bruce Laingen wrote a book, based on a journal he’d kept while in captivity. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1992, Bruce Langan.

Bruce Laingen died in 2019, at age 96.


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