Cutting Edge presents The Fall of the Wall….a 20 year retrospective

The Cutting Edge-atalk show announces our latest program entitled:
“The fall of the wall….a 20 year retrospective” which relates to our coverage of the following event.

On November 6th, “to commemorate  the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Heritage Foundation” co-hosted a historic conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. This magnificent setting reminds me of his 1989 farewell speech where he mentions “a shining city upon a hill.”

This all day conference was billed “Ronald Reagan And The Fall Of The Wall: Reflections From Yesterday,  Lessons For Today.”

In her welcome message First Lady Nancy Reagan said “my husband would be so proud of what we are doing here today.” She later states that “Although he rarely took credit for any of his accomplishments, my husband was very proud of his efforts to end the Cold War, and I know if he could, he would tell us it was the power of freedom that deserved the credit.”

The Cutting Edge-atalk show was the only broadcast representatives of Orange County to cover this event. Upon our arrival we picked up our press kits and media badges and watched as the local bomb squad conducted their sweep of the grounds.

The setting for this conference and luncheon was the huge Air Force One Pavilion which, in addition to that famous aircraft, also contains a Marine One helicopter used by former presidents. As we set up our camera alongside two lives feeds, one provided by C-SPAN and the second by the Library A/V staff, we joined CNN and FOX News on the riser right below Air Force One, the aircraft that served seven presidents from 1973 to 2001.

It was not long before this lower level was filled to its capacity. The area was set up for around 800 invited speakers, guests and paying citizens. In front of the huge glass wall facing the valley the Library set up a wide backdrop which included two quotes from president Reagan.  On the left it read “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate” while the right side of this panel read “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

A partial list of the distinguished panelists and world leaders included Former US Attorney General Ed Meese, former National Security Advisor Richard Allen, former SEC of the Navy Admiral John Lehman, Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, Steve Forbes, Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia, Leszek Balcerowitz, former Prime Minister of Poland and Lord Charles Powell, foreign policy advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

To view our 38 minute “commercial and cost free” event coverage simply go to:

A representative of the Library opened the event by reading a letter from former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev. Our former Russian adversary “conveyed his greeting to the participants in the conference commemorating the events of 1989, the year which became a turning point in ending the cold war.” President Gorbachev’s letter continues to say that “President Reagan was our main partner in the difficult work of overcoming the confrontation between Russia and America, the East and the West. It is that work that has earned Ronald Reagan a well-deserved place of honor among the great American presidents.”

Following are a few speaker highlights that may not appear in the video footage:

In describing president Reagan, Dick Allen said he had “simple answers to complex questions” such as his position on the Cold War. “We win and they lose.”

Sec. Lehman. We were blessed with a person who understood world power and who had a full out strategy on how to win the Cold War.
He pulled no punches in assessing the decay of our military under president Jimmy Carter’s administration’s opposition for establishing a 600 ship Navy and a 15 carrier battle group.
Sec Lehman touched on the 1983 murder of 241 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. John told us that we intercepted the order from the Ayatollah in Iran to implement the plan saying president Reagan said “we must retaliate.” We never did. We were ready to strike Hezbollah including a plan to snatch a few people. Beyond that we had Tomahawk missiles on the New Jersey. However, bureaucrats in Washington thought to retaliate would be perceived as war mongering. Note: We were told that this information has now been declassified.
Sec Lehman added that our inaction to terrorist attacks gave Osama the opinion that we are afraid to take action.
John also told us that president Reagan had “consistency of purpose” and didn’t waver but he wasn’t supported.
Two of his final comments related to the delay in  responding to Stanley McChrystal’s current request for an  additional 40,000 troops be sent to Afghanistan with a comment that “I’ll get back to you.” “Ronald Reagan would never say that.” He also did not pull any punches in discussing president Obama’s “running around the world apologizing” for American actions.

Peter Robinson, White House speechwriter who worked on the Branderburg Gate speech, said that Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy could be summed up as “peace through strength.” He cited the Grenada invasion where in discussing the troop level required Pres Reagan said to “double it and you will have fewer casualties.”

Ed Meese was asked to define the relevance of Reagan today to which he replied: “If a leader doesn’t have a vision you will drift.”
He pointed out the five major principles of president Reagan.
1. Vision
2. Ability to communicate that vision to the public
3. Tremendous political courage citing the warning to, and termination of, the air traffic controllers
4. Lived up to his word
5. Persistence
In responding to one of the limited audience questions General Meese said that president Reagan “hated the idea of nuclear war–can’t be won–shouldn’t be fought.”

The above comments only represent part of the morning presentations.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was present as the attendees listened to the luncheon address by Sec. of State George Shultz on the second floor of the pavilion. This was followed by two afternoon panel discussions.

To see and hear comments from Lord Charles Powell, foreign advisor to Margaret Thatcher, Steven Forbes and other distinguished panelists you simply need to click on this link that takes you directly to the home page of our web site.
Halfway into the video you will see and hear  Lord Powell say “we were too quick to declare victory.”
Steve Forbes
follows stating that “free people create prosperity, not a government bureaucracy.”
While we did video several of the speaker comments, we are not airing the entire event coverage.

As we departed down Presidential Drive, cars were parked bumper to bumper along the entire eight-tenths of a mile to Madera Road. Although their parking lot was full the Library provided shuttle busses to transfer visitors to their vehicles.

Before departing, a library staffer showed me a plywood replica of a section of the wall that is covered with graffiti. This “wall” is located outside and beyond the information desk near the actual section of the Berlin Wall. Their plan is to have the fifth grade class of Wood Ranch Elementary School “tear down this simulated” wall on Monday Nov 9th.

Our one disappointment was that General Meese and Secretary of the Navy Lehman, each of whom personally agreed to be interviewed, were quickly sequestered behind closed doors after their presentations. Having planned to speak to them directly, and recognizing that this was an all day event, we did not video all of the panelists comments, some of which appear above.

About Larry Gilbert