The Moment the Cold War Ended (according to Anthony Robbins!) October 3, 2013Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback
***Thanks to SM!***
Anthony Robbins is a well meaning and (for tens of thousands of people) effective life-style coach. In his voluminous tapes, cds and books he includes endless anecdotes about his meetings with the great and the good of the earth. There is an element of name-dropping in some of this but SM (an old friend of this blog) sent the following gem in. AR found himself giving Michael Gorbachev a lift to New York on his jet (or actually a jet he had hired) and the two fell to talking. AR threw a series of probing questions at Gorbie and the obvious one, the one that you or I would ask was, when did the Cold War end. This is a transcript:
Mr Gorbachev, I appreciate the answer you gave me about what changed the world but I want the truth and he looked at me and I smiled and I said I want to know what really changed the world because I have this belief that what everybody looks for is the big thing that changes it all but what really changes things are little tiny things, little things make the big things possible. I said the big thing if obvious [the collapse of the Soviet economy?!?]… but I want to know what really made it possible and I said I got you for four hours, I’m going to get the answer…
At this point one can imagine Gorby’s horror. He had a headache as well.
He finally tells me ok I’ll tell you what it was that ended the Cold War, the end of demonization. I said what does that mean? He said well we knew that you Americans had to be kept in check or you would destroy the world… and he said that we knew what you thought about us, the Evil Empire… the bottom line is that we knew you were the enemy and we knew you were evil… pushing people, hurting people as a force. What changed the world was when we stopped seeing you that way, when I stopped seeing you that way.
And the moment? Gorby replies that ‘it happened through time’ but AR keeps pushing and suddenly inspired MG remembers the second for him that the mental log jam broke. It is almost pathetic in its simplicity but given the personalities involved absolutely convincing.
The world changed the first time I had my first meeting with Ronald Reagan in Geneva … I will tell you the moment. We had been sitting for four hours arguing back and forth… What happened was that we were in this mad argument, worse and worse, going nowhere, all of a sudden this President Reagan stands up and says ‘this is not working’ with this weird look on this face and he says how about we start fresh? My name is Ron, may I call you Mikhail…. At that moment the world changed. He was no evil, he was no horrible [sic], he was such a nice man.
Perhaps the best thing about this anecdote is that po-faced contemporary historians, who typically spend their time decrying roll-back or discussing the merits of Soviet Communism will now be forced to cite an Anthony Robbins self-help tape. Any other end of Cold War moments, memories of a champagne party in London, for example: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com
7 Oct 2013: Stephen D writes in: I would put in a word for 1st May, 1989, being the date of the meeting of the Hungarian Politburo at which each member realised that none of the other members believed in Communism any longer either. The next day, Hungarian border guards started to dismantle the fence and checkpoints that blocked the border with Austria, letting a flood of escapers across. I remember an interview with an East German who had heard the news, packed his bags, driven through the night and was in Vienna by the morning. It was a brave decision – nobody knew for certain what the Russian response would be – and deserves to be remembered. **** Norm K, meanwhile, shares this. ‘The catalyst for the end of the cold war was the young German man who landed the Cessna in Red Square. There was a big purge of the old guard generals after that security breach. The reality of a small plane breaching their iron curtain made their protection against cruise missiles look weak. The new generals were more open to change .Chaos theory at its best.’ **** Thanks Norm and Stephen!