Richard Pipes and Bernard Lewis — two immigrant Ivy League professors — are the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here), the New York Sun (here), and Newsmax (here).
Relatedly, Daniel Pipes has published a collection of remembrances he gathered in 2013 for his father's 90th birthday. One thing I found striking was the conflict inside the Reagan administration. As Paul Wolfowitz remembered it, "you were the strongest voice within the Reagan administration — save for the President himself — arguing for a campaign of pressure to hasten the demise of the Soviet Union. Even for many of the President's closest supporters at the time, that goal seemed too ambitious. It must surely have strengthened the President's determination to have someone with your profound knowledge of Russia and the Soviet Union at his side, as he worked to change the course of history for the better."
And as Richard Perle put it:
Ronald Reagan's presidency marked a radical departure from those of his predecessors on the central issue of the Soviet Union. From the end of World War II until 1981, the main objective of American policy toward Moscow had been to co-exist peacefully, to cooperate with the Soviet state, to achieve détente with the other superpower. Reagan saw it differently. For him the challenge was to destroy the Soviet Union, to consign the "evil empire" to the "ash heap of history." And he had an historian on his side. Richard Pipes, Harvard professor, author of important books on the Soviet Union, left the academy just long enough to help a transformative President solidify the courage of his convictions with the intellectual legitimacy that Dick was uniquely capable of providing...
I had the great pleasure of sitting through many inter-agency meetings where a radically new policy toward the Soviet Union took shape as the diplomatic and intelligence bureaucracy, resisting to a man, was driven to distraction by a soft-spoken professor who knew more about the issue than the rest of the participants put together. What a joy it was to see Larry Eagleburger silenced as his didactic conventional wisdom was so skillfully dismembered by the professor on our team. And what a source of pride it was that we had, on our side, a man of such authority who, unlike nearly all the professional colleagues arrayed against him and us, never compromised his judgment in order to be viewed favorably by the Soviets who controlled access to their territory and thus opportunities for research.