Reagan and GorbachevGiven Reagan's decades-old belief that all Communists were manipulative liars who should never be trusted, it would not have been surprising at all if Reagan had rebuffed Gorbachev's peaceful overtures as nothing more than a cynical gambit. But to Reagan's everlasting credit, he chose to set aside his own anticommunist convictions and meet with Gorbachev. The rest, as they say, is history.Between 1986 and 1988, Reagan and Gorbachev held a series of summit meetings, surprising many observers by forging not only a strong working partnership but even a close personal friendship. The two leaders reached a series of agreements on arms control. At one point, incredibly, Reagan agreed in principle to a Gorbachev proposal that the two superpowers should destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world. (The details proved unworkable and the proposal never came to fruition—in part because the chief advisers to both Reagan and Gorbachev were appalled by the idea. But the mere fact that Ronald Reagan came to embrace even the concept of
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