In light of the serious deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations, it might be difficult to recall that for a brief time a generation ago, Washington and Moscow appeared on the verge of forging a partnership. This lecture/discussion class will review and analyze the remarkable events beginning in the late 1970s that led to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the emergence of reasonably close ties between the former enemies. We will consider the roles that Gorbachev, Reagan, Shultz, Shevardnadze, Kohl, and George H.W. Bush played in ending the Cold War. We will also consider if either side pursued long-term coherent strategies during these years and examine the structural weaknesses of the Soviet Union which undermined Gorbachev's reform efforts. The required text for this course is The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War by James Graham Wilson (ISBN 978-0-8014-5683-1). Lecture (plus questions). Facilitated Discussion.