‘Master Negotiator’: James Baker and the end of the Cold War

‘Master Negotiator’: James Baker and the end of the Cold War

The importance of allies

“Not a shot between Cold War enemies was fired.” That’s the author’s bottom-line measure of success for the Bush-Baker management of the end of the Soviet empire and the reunification of Germany. In great detail, she describes how the men supported Mikhail Gorbachev through a series of internal machinations that kept him in power until the Soviet Union was dismantled and the Russian flag had been raised. Allowing the Soviets to dissolve peacefully — reinforcing Mr. Gorbachev’s decisions not to repress dissidents within his country — led to the ascendancy of the United States as the sole superpower. “But how we have used that position is another question,” Dr. Negroponte says.

What if?

Asked what might have happened if the Bush-Baker team had had a second term, Dr. Negroponte points to two issues. “They would not have expanded NATO eastward into Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, which was seen as a deep threat by the Russians,” she says. And the U.S. might not have intervened in the civil war in the Balkans. The Europeans had assured the Americans that they could handle the conflict “in their backyard” among the Serbs, Bosnians, and Croatians as Yugoslavia came apart. Also, Mr. Baker questioned the U.S. security motive for intervening, she says.

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Jacqueline Adams

Jacqueline Adams

Jacqueline Adams is an Emmy Award winning journalist. She is the co-author of “A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower and Thrive.”