At one point, President George H.W. Bush said, “Senators don’t do this.”
Pointing to Lugar, Nunn added, “This man is a remarkable leader.”
The senators got a glimpse of the huge stakes. “I visited a silo in Ukraine,” Lugar explained. “This is where a missile had been pulled out. I went down an elevator 13 floors where the guards stayed, and on the walls around the table were pictures, beautiful pictures of American cities. These were identified as targets. I thought all the time I was mayor of Indianapolis from ’68 to ’75, we were targeted and could have been obliterated. There were enough warheads to knock out all of our major cities, plus the military installations. We were mighty lucky to make it through to that point where these Russians ended up around Sam’s table, and they wanted our money, our people.”
Could a Nunn-Lugar partnership happen today?
“The voters are going to have to determine this,” Nunn said. “The voters are going to have to tell both the Republicans and Democrats they are going to have to find solutions. I think the answer is the voters have to understand, if they send people to Washington that are basically saying they are not going to yield, you’re asking for dysfunction.”
Conflict and ideologies make for great movies. Nunn and Lugar forged a much more gratifying story.
Brian Howey publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.