A lot of people wondered why Reagan suddenly got all soft on the Russkies starting back in 1985. Many have felt that - having gained an unassailable position of strength through the massive nuclear arms buildup, the development of Star Wars anti-satellite and missile shields, and the ascension of a new premier in the form of Gorbachev - Reagan could finally feel at ease at the bargaining table - much to the chagrin of the rabid war-wimp conservative hawks who now revere St. Ronnie's name.
Well, Gorby was (is) an intelligent, reasonable, rational leader. He was someone you actually could negotiate with, rather than the calcified sclerotic necromorphs who occupied the Kremlin before him. Reagan, I suspect, was not entirely Alzheimered out yet. So, we got that going on.
The arms buildup was formidable, but hardly credible. The Soviets, bless 'em, had managed to cancel all that advantage out by simply maintaining there existing rather formidable nuclear force.
And Star Wars?... Well, Star Wars had always been, always will be, a fucking joke. Ask either side about that. Most of the generals are still alive. It mattered, despite Right Wing Lies to the contrary, not at all. Especially when the Soviets could have neutralized a fictional or working "space shield" with the addition of a few hundred dummy warheads. All I can think is, Edward Teller must have gotten Reagan to smoke some really good shit to buy into that fucking trillion dollar boondoggle.
No, I figure Reagan was informed about the Dead Hand .
What's that? Well, it was a doomsday machine built by the Soviets which went operational around January of 1985. It was designed to automatically launch a counterattack against the United States - just like in the movie Dr. Strangelove.
You see, the Soviets, realizing that they could not compete militarily with the US, convinced that it was only a matter of time before those primitive paranoid batshit and bugfuck crazy Americans would launch a first strike, made sure that they built up an arsenal that would unleash so many horrors upon the world - nuclear, bacterial, viral, chemical, that not a single person, anywhere, under any shelter, would survive.
"Surely" they thought, "even the Americans will not want to destroy the world of humanity utterly". (Because the dirty little secret is, despite shooting off every single warhead on Earth, civilization, despite the immense resulting shitstorms, would muddle its way through).
So, this Doomsday strategy only works if people know about it. Which is, I suspect, why Reagan shat his Depends, on starting talking with Gorby. Yes, even Reagan could see where this is all going.
Pity Rupert Murdoch does not see it the same way. He's made arrangements for his own Doomsday device to go off, should he kick the bucket. "Arrangements have been made", he says.