Fareed speaks with then-U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and a former top British foreign policy advisor, Charles Powell, about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
Why didn't the collapse of the Soviet Union result in bloodshed and war?
Scowcroft: Well, first of all, we didn't want it to, because what had happened before, every time there was any kind of an outburst in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union would crack down, kill the leaders and even be more repressive than before.
So what we wanted to do was to keep indications of violence and dissent underneath the Soviet radar, and we tried very hard to do that. And when the announcement about the Wall came, President Bush Sr. was told by his press secretary, you're going to have to talk to the press. Everybody is wondering about this. So I said, well, we don't really know what the facts are.
But anyway, the press came into the president's office and he described what was happening and how uncertain it all was. After he finished that explanation, one of the members of the press said, well, Mr. President, you don't seem very elated. I would think you'd want to go over and dance on the Wall. And he said, well, I'm just not that kind of a person. What we were worried about was that this event would force Gorbachev to violence and all of the hopeful signs would be destroyed.