February 16, 2022
In this in-depth interview, Jack Matlock, the outspoken retired career diplomat who served as the United States last Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987–91) reflects critically on NATO expansion, Ukraine’s internal struggles, and most importantly the lack of western empathy toward European security needs. To think of Russia as different from Europe is a mistake, he holds, and reminds us that the Cold War ended because it was in both parties interest to bring it to an end.
Although the current situation in 2022 might on the outside look like a “new cold war” it has nothing in common with the underlying reasons for the original Cold War says the former US diplomat who knew the struggle inside out.
Ambassador Matlock served, among other postings, as US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981–83, and, most importantly, as the United State’s last Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987–91 with his duties in Moscow ending only months before the dissolution of the country itself.
After retiring from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Matlock turned to history, teaching, and writing.
He wrote three books on the Soviet Union and on US Foreign Policy:
Autopsy on an Empire (1995), reflecting on the end of the Soviet Union.
Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (2004), and
Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray—and How to Return to Reality (2010)
Ambassador Matlock is a critic of some of the common narratives about the end of the Cold War, and of NATO expansion, stating publicly that it was a mistake.
Here is Ambassador Matlock’s incredibly rich homepage. And here the conversation: