At their October 1986 meeting in Reykjavik, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed on the need to eliminate nuclear weapons. That historic meeting ultimately led to the end of the cold war. "Since that time, the nature of the nuclear threat in the world has changed, but the twenty-year-old lessons of Reykjavik may well help us achieve the goal of a modern world free of nuclear weapons," said former secretary of state George P. Shultz. Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary: Conference Report (Hoover Institution Press, 2007) contains essays drawn from presentations at the 2006 Hoover Institution conference on the legacy of the Reykjavik meeting. The contributors examine a range of topics including the implications of the summit for current nuclear arms control efforts, President Reagan's nuclear legacy, and a key lesson learned at Reykjavik: the importance of negotiating with enemies. Along with these insightful essays, the book includes the declassified official transcript of the discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik as well as official Soviet documents.
The Soviet documents, now available in the Hoover Archives, provide insight into Soviet preparations for the summit, including key positions and an assessment of their research and development with respect to nuclear weapons relative to the United States. Taken as a whole, the contributions in this collection reassert the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and underscore the need for new, practical measures to achieve that goal.
Sidney D. Drell is a senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution and professor of theoretical physics (emeritus) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He coauthored The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons with James Goodby. George P. Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, served as U.S. secretary of state under Ronald Reagan.
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