INTERVIEWER: Now you, Gorbachev rang you just before his resignation speech in on Christmas day in 1991, can you tell us about what he said and your reaction to it?
GEORGE BUSH: Oh I'm getting so old and forgetful I really am, but when Gorbachev did call me up, I was up at Camp David and I've got notes on the conversation which I'm sorry I just don't have with me at this moment, but it was very emotional for me, I liked the man, and I respected him. And when he was isolated in the Crimea, taken hostage down there I felt something more than worry about the Foreign policy aspects of this, I felt that a friend was in real trouble and god knows might not get out of there alive. So we had a pleasant and very comfortable friendship, and oddly enough so did Reagan have a friendship with Gorbachev, but we knew what was coming by then by Christmas of that year. And so when he called me saying that he you know that he was gonna still have I think he said he was still gonna stay involved in matters but that he was stepping down, it was not a shock. It was not a surprise. But there was a kind of sadness of the finality of it hit me pretty hard, it was Christmas time and holiday time and I felt that a friend was hurt and I wasn't happy about that. On the other hand he was doing the only thing he could do and he was doing the right thing.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Now do you think that the world is a safer place now that the cold war is over?
GEORGE BUSH: The world is a far safer place now that the cold war is over. There is no kid in England that is being taught well what you gotta do if there is a nuclear exchange is to hide under your desk to avoid fall out. No kid in Kansas, Texas, my state, are being taught that as they were back in the 50s you're too young to remember all that, so it's not happening. And so there is no it's not happening. No one no leader of a small country is worrying and saying to his cabinet "one of these two crazy superpowers is gonna get us caught up in a nuclear war" that is not going to happen. Nobody is going to put the Soviet Union back together again. Russia is not seeking hegemony and they are not, they are certainly not seeking hegemony over the United Kingdom or the United States and so are we better off at the end of the Cold war are my 14 grandchildren more apt to live in a peaceful new millenium. The answer is no question. The problem is not in terms of world peace, the problem is now how we're gonna get along with Russia, what's gonna happen if the Soviet Union gets back together again. The problem is in Asia the growing China, how are we in the United States gonna cope with China if we mishandle that?: That could be a helluva problem for your kids and my grandkids, but I don't think that's going to happen, but that's the one that has the magnitude that the worries about Russia once had. I happen to be optimistic about China, but I'm just saying, are we better off in response to the question. Of course we are the hold world is. Because we don't have this fear of war breaking out. Tanks aren't gonna roll through the streets of Hungary, and I heard some girl on maybe it was a BBC program when I was abroad. Beautiful hairdo, beautiful dress, she was saying we don't have a chance now, all my classmates are discouraged, and I'm saying to myself, look you little pipsqueak where were you haven't you read any history, can't you look over your shoulder, don't you remember when your uncle was crushed by the steel treads of a Russian tank rolling through your capital city, where is your sense of history? Of course you're better off. Goddarnit, wake up and realize it and try to make something out of yourself instead of whining on television about how bad things are. And sure there are problems, there are plenty of problems the world has got a lot of problems but in the magnitude that existed during the Cold war days, the days of the Berlin airlift, the days of the putting down of solidarity in Poland or democracy in Czech Republic, or in Czechoslovakia then, or Hungary now. Nowhere near the magnitude. So we outta get on with trying to make the world a better place and not whining about where we are.
INTERVIEWER: Can I just go back to another question about just before the cold war ended, do you think it was achieved by, do you think the end of the cold war was achieved by partnership, or would you say it was actually a victory for the west and the United States which of those two....
GEORGE BUSH: Well the end of the Cold War was clearly a victory for the forces of freedom and democracy there is no question about that, but does it make any sense are we gonna beat ourselves proudly on our breasts and say we did it, we forced them to fall apart and die, the Union, the Soviet Union. No it doesn't make much sense. Because the Cold war would have ended satisfactory to us but it ended without a shot it ended without anybody being killed and had all of us the Brits, the US the French had we done things in kind of a macho way, who knows how it would have ended. I'm convinced that the cold war would have ended. I'm convinced freedom and democracy prevailed over communism, but the way in which it ended I think its an important thing and with that in mind I would give Sheverdnazde and Gorbachev and other leaders too, the military and the Soviets that showed restraint, give them credit, give other leaders there credit for their part in ending the cold war. There is plenty, you know I have never understood this wanting credit, or trying to "I did it, I can declare victory." There is so much, there is so much room for credit in something as big as the end of the cold war.
INTERVIEWER: So it is a partnership and a partnership, which enabled it to come to an end...
GEORGE BUSH: Well I wouldn't say we were working as partners with Gorbachev, because we still had huge differences and he still had an array of problems that weren't ours, could have been ours if their military had done something but you know just take the Baltic states we wanted freedom and independence for the Baltic states. Gorbachev didn't want from day one freedom and independence from the Baltic states indeed he kept telling me of the difficulties they had. Same thing with Ukraine, they had oil going one way and payment going another and you know there are all kinds of reasons why it was gonna be complicated and the Baltics they had a lot of Russians living there, what's gonna happen to the Russians there if we were, if we become if there is an independence. So you know a lot of different problems. But and I give him credit for being restrained and prudent in certain circumstances. But I think it was inevitable because I just don't I think that the immorality of international communism was so clear by then that it couldn't, couldn't prevail. Gone it's not a force anymore. That wasn't true when you were a little girl, or when I was you know starting out here in business in West Texas.
INTERVIEWER: Can I just ask you one, one final question is the world a safer place after the cold war, oh sorry is there a new world order and on what do you think does peace, on what does peace now depend?
GEORGE BUSH: There is a new world order now. Some crackpots at the United States criticized me saying new world order meant one world government. That's absurd that 's not what I meant. What I meant was a world with more freedom and more democracy and, and we have such a world. Is it perfect? No. Are there human rights violations that make a mockery of Helsinki? Yes. But the new World Order there is a new world order because the old order of superpower, two superpowers kind of dominating things is gone and so there is a new world order, with an awful lot of promise. But the United States has got to stay engaged. The United States can't listen to the sirens call of isolation and protection and say to Europe "hey we've done our part now you guys pay the bills and you figure it all out" . We've gotta stay in there, stay involved in NATO, we've got to continue to exercise our obligation to lead in certain situations. But there is a new world order and it came about when the Cold War ended without a shot being fired.
INTERVIEWER: Fine, thank you very much indeed. Thank you.
GEORGE BUSH: You think? You wanna take a picture of that map I was telling you about?