April 14, 2014
Center on Global Interests, 10th Floor, 1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Suzanne Massie, a scholar of Russian history and culture who served as President Ronald Reagan’s personal adviser on Russia from 1984-1988, brings her experience and personal knowledge to bear in the CGI’s discussion of U.S.-Russian relations in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

Known as the “woman who ended the Cold War” for her central role in helping to ease tensions between the two rival superpowers, Massie called for more patience and restraint in the current conflict. Today, American policy toward Russia is reactive and lacks clear goals, she said, especially with regard to the annexation of Crimea, and the United States should take the time to formulate a clear strategic goal for the Russia relationship before diving into recriminations and sanctions. To that end, Massie emphasized the importance of building a policy based on solid knowledge of Russian history, and called on a Russian proverb to illustrate the American dilemma: “Ignore history and lose an eye; forget history and lose both eyes.”

Massie emphasized the positive effects of cultural understanding and face-to-face exchange in building trust between Reagan and Gorbachev, and thus between the United States and the Soviet Union “Without trust, there is nothing,” she said regarding the futility of talks, negotiations, and appeals made in relationships without a basis of common understanding.

To watch C-SPAN coverage of the event, click here.