Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Initiating Trust in High Politics: The Gorbachev-Reagan Summit in Geneva 1985

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of International Negotiation

Trust is central to international politics. Trust-related theoretical arguments can be divided between rationalist, cultural and psychological schools. We present concise reviews of these approaches, emphasizing the initial trust-creation phase, and apply these factors to our historical case: the emergence of a fragile interpersonal trust between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan before and during their first meeting in Geneva in 1985. Based on archives and first-hand reminiscences, we conclude that the cultural trust theories are not able to contribute much to the initial trust-building process in this particular case, except for explaining the obstacles for trust. The rational approaches explain the necessary but not sufficient conditions for trust to emerge. Ultimately, what triggered the trust that ultimately ended the Cold War cannot be understood without taking into account the cognitive and psychological factors involved in this interpersonal relationship.

Affiliations: 1: UiT, The Arctic University of Norway Hansine Hansens veg 18, 9019 Tromsø Norway ; 2: Nordpolvegen 4, 9013 Tromsø Norway


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Axelrod Robert The Evolution of Cooperation 1984 New York Basic Books, Inc. Publishers
2. Banerjee Sanjay , Bowie Norman E. , Pavone Carla Bachmann Reinhard , Zaheer Akbar "“An ethical analysis of the trust relationship,”" Handbook on Trust Research 2006 Cheltenham Edward Elgar
3. Bateson Patrick Gambetta Diego "“The Biological Evolution of Cooperation and trust,”" Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations 1998 Cambridge, MA Basil Blackwell 14 30
4. Beatton D.A. Trust within Teams: The Relative Importance of Ability, Benevolence, Integrity 2007 Brisbane Queensland University of Technology
5. bbc 1984: Gorbachev visit to Britain a ‘success’ 1984a December 16, 1984. .
6. bbc Margaret Thatcher’s tv Interview for bbc : “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together” 1984b 17 December 1984. .
7. bbc Mihail Gorbachev vspominaet Reagana 2004 7.6.2004. .
8. Bhaskar Roy A Realist Theory of Science 1978 Brighton Harvest Press
9. Bhaskar Roy Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation 1986 London Verso
10. Booth Ken , Wheeler Nicholas J. " The Security Dilemma " Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics 2008 Houndmills Palgrave Macmillan
11. Brams S.J. " Rational Politic " Decisions, Games, and Strategy 1985 Washington, D.C. CQ Press
12. Brecher Michael , Steinberg Blema , Stein Janice "“A Framework for Research on Foreign Policy Behavior.”" Journal of Conflict Resolution 1969 March Vol 13 1 75 94
13. Carrasco Jose Luis , Lecic-Tosevski Dusica Gelder Michael G. , López-Ibor Juan L. , Andreasen Nancy "“Specific Types of Personality Disorder,”" New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry 2000 Vol volume 1 Oxford Oxford University Press 927 953
14. Chernayev Anatoly S. Melyakova Anna Savranskaya Svetlana The Diary of Anatoly S. Chernyaev 1985 1985 Translation © The National Security Archive, 2006.
15. Child J. "“Trust: The fundamental bond in global collaboration.”" Organizational Dynamics 2001 Vol 29 4 274 288
16. Coffay Raymond "“Geneva Summit can turn into bare-knuckles confrontation.”" The Evening Independent 1985 August 28, 1985.
17. Cofta P. Trust, Complexity and Control: Confidence in a Convergent World 2007 Wiley Online Library.
18. Collins Alan R. "“grit, Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War.”" Review of International Studies 1998 Vol 24 2 201 219
19. Collins Alan R. The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War 1992 New York St. Martin’s Press 9 72 1997
20. Das T. , Teng B.-S. "“Between Trust and Control: Developing Confidence in Partner Cooperation in Alliances.”" The Academy of Management Review 1998 Vol 23 3 491 512
21. Dasgupta Partha Gambetta Diego "“Trust as Commodity,”" Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations 1998 Cambridge, MA Basil Blackwell 50 72
22. Dessler David "“What Is at Stake in the Agent-Structure Debate?”" International Organization 1989 Summer Vol 43 3 441 473
23. Donnelly Jack Realism and International Relations 2000 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
24. Dunn Jennifer R. , Schweitzer Maurice E. "“Feeling and Believing: The Influence of Emotion on Trust.”" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2005 Vol 88 5 736 748
25. Elman Colin , Jensen Michael A. Realism Reader 2014 London Routledge
26. Elster J. Rational Choice 1985 Oxford Basil Blackwell Ltd
27. Festinger L. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance 1957 Stanford Stanford University Press
28. Flin R. , Salas E. , Strub M. , Martin L. " Decision Making Under Stress " Emerging Themes and Applications 1997 Aldershot Ashgate
29. Forsberg Tuomas "“Power, Interests and Trust: Explaining Gorbachev’s Choices at the End of the Cold War.”" Review of International Studies (1999) 1999 Vol 25 603 621
30. George A.L. Hoffmann E.P. , Fleron F.J. Jr. "“The ‘Operational Code’: A Neglected Approach to the Study of Political Leaders and Decision-Making,”" The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy 1971 London Butterworths
31. Glaser Charles L. "“Realists as Optimists. Cooperation as Self-Help.”" International Security 1994/95 Winter Vol 19 3 50 90
32. Glasgow Herald "“Communique Unlikely at Geneva Summit”" 1985 November 11, 1985.
33. Goldgeier M. , Tetlock P.E. "“Psychology and International Relations Theory.”" Annual Review of Political Science 2001 Vol 4 67 92
34. Good David Gambetta Diego "“Individuals, Interpersonal Relations and Trust,”" Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations 1998 Cambridge, MA Basil Blackwell 31 49
35. Gorbachev M.S. Cold War: Gorbachev to Reagan (declares “positive attitude to . . . a personal meeting”) 1985a Mar 24 1985 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
36. Gorbachev M.S. Cold War: Gorbachev to Reagan (salt ii) 1985b June 22 1985 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
37. Gorbachev M.S. Cold War: McFarlane briefing for President Reagan (Gorbachev 10 June letter) 1985c Jul 1 1985 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
38. Gorbachev M.S. Zhizn’ i reformi 1995 Moscow Novosti Part ii
39. Grieco Joseph M. Kegley Charles W. Jr. "“Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism,”" Controversies in International Relations Theory. Realism and the Neoliberal Challenge 1995 New York St. Martin’s Press 151 171
40. Harrison McKnight , Norman D. , Chervany L. Bachmann Reinhard , Zaheer Akbar "“Reflections on an initial trust-building model,”" Handbook on Trust Research 2006 Cheltenham Edward Elgar 29 51
41. Hawthorn Geoffrey Gambetta Diego "“The Three Ironies of Trust,”" Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations 1998 Cambridge, MA Basil Blackwell 111 126
42. Herman Robert Katzenstein Peter J. "“Identity, Norms, and National Security: The Soviet Foreign Policy Revolution and the End of the Cold War,”" The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics 1996 New York Columbia University Press 271 316
43. Hermann Margaret G. "“Explaining Foreign Policy Behavior Using the Personal Characteristics of Political Leaders.”" International Studies Quarterly 1980 Vol 24 1 7 46
44. Hill Claire A. , O’Hara Erin A. "“A Cognitive Theory of Trust.”" Washington University Law Review 2006 Vol 84 7 1717 1796
45. Holsti Ole R. "“The Belief System and National Images: A Case Study.”" Journal of Conflict Resolution 1962 Vol 6 244 252
46. Hopf Ted Social Construction of International Politics: Identities and Foreign Policies, Moscow 1955 and 1999 2002 Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press
47. Hurrell Andrew Rittberger Volker , with the assistance of Peter Mayer "“International Society and the Study of Regimes: A Reflective Approach,”" Regime Theory and International Relations 1993 Oxford Clarendon Press 49 72
48. Janis Irvin Victims of Groupthink; A Psychological Study of Foreign-policy Decisions and Fiascos 1972 Boston Houghton-Mifflin
49. Jervis Robert "“Cooperation under the Security Dilemma.”" World Politics 1978 January Vol 30 2 167 214
50. Jones Karen "“Trust as an Affective Attitude.”" Ethics 1996 Vol 107 4 25
51. Kaarbo Juliet "“Foreign Policy Analysis in the Twenty-First Century: Back to Comparison, Forward to Identity and Ideas.”" International Studies Review 2003 June Vol 5 2 155 202 at 156–163
52. Katzenstein Peter J. The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics 1996 New York Columbia University Press 271 316
53. Keating Vincent Charles , Ruzicka Jan "“Trusting Relationships in International Politics: No Need to Hedge.”" Review of International Studies 2014 Vol 40 753 770
54. Keohane Robert O. , Nye Joseph S. Keohane Robert O. , Nye Joseph S. , Hoffman Stanley "“Introduction: The End of the Cold War in Europe,”" After the Cold War. International Institutions and State Strategies in Europe, 1989–1991 1993 Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press 1 19
55. Kissinger Henry Diplomacy 1994 New York Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
56. Kramer Roderick M. , Lewicki Roy J. "“Repairing and Enhancing Trust: Approaches to Reducing Organizational Trust Deficits.”" The Academy of Management Annals 2010 Vol 4 1 245 277
57. Kratochwill Friedrich " Rules, Norms, and Decisions " On the Condition of Practical and Legal Reasoning in International Relations and Domestic Affairs 1989 New York Cambridge University Press
58. Kratochwill Friedrich , Ruggie John Gerard "“International Organization: A State of the Art on an Art of the State.”" International Organization 1986 Autumn Vol 40 4 753 755
59. Kuhn Thomas The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1970 Chicago The University of Chicago Press 2nd, enlarged edition
60. Kurzban Robert Ostrom Elinor , Walker James "“Biological Foundations of Reciprocity,”" Trust & Reciprocity. Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research 2003 New York Russell Sage Foundation 104 127
61. Kydd Andrew H. Trust and Mistrust in International Relations 2005 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
62. Lakatos Imre Lakatos Imre , Musgrave Aland "“Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes,”" Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge 1970 London Cambridge University Press 91 196
63. Leites Nathan The Operational Code of the Politburo 1951 New York McGraw-Hill
64. Leites Nathan The Study of Bolshevism 1953 Glencoe, IL The Free Press
65. Lewis J.D. , Weigert A. "“Trust as a Social Reality.”" Social Forces 1985 Vol 63 4 967 985
66. Little Richard , Smith Steve Belief Systems and International Relations 1988 Oxford Basil Blackwell Ltd
67. Lobell Steven E. , Ripsman Norrin M. , Taliaferro Jeffrey W. Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy 2009 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
68. Loewenberg Peter Runyan William McKinley "“Psychoanalytic Models of History: Freud and After,”" Psychology and Historical Interpretation 1988 Oxford Oxford University Press 126 156
69. Mayer R. , Davis J. , Schoorman F.D. "“An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust.”" Academy of Management Review 1995 Vol 20 3 709 734
70. McDermott Rose "“The Feeling of Rationality: The Meaning of Neuroscientific Advances for Political Science.”" Perspectives on Politics 2004 Vol 2 4 691 706
71. Mercer Jonathan "“Rationality and Psychology in International Politics.”" International Organization 2005 Vol 59 1 77 106
72. Mercer Jonathan "“Human Nature and the First Image: Emotion in International Politics.”" Journal of International Relations and Development 2006 Vol 9 3 288 303
73. Mercer Jonathan "“Emotional Beliefs.”" International Organization 2010 Vol 64 1 1 31
74. Matlock Jack F. Jr. " Reagan and Gorbachev " How the Cold War Ended 2005 New York Random House Trade Paperbacks
75. Mearsheimer John The Tragedy of Great Power Politics 2001 New York W.W. Norton & Company
76. Morgenthau Hans J. " Politic among Nations " The Struggle for Power and Peace 1955 New York Alfred A. Knopf
77. Morrow James D. Mintz Alex , Geva Nehemia "“A Rational Choice Approach to International Conflict,”" Decision-making on War and Peace: The Cognitive-Rational Debate 1997 Boulder, CO Lynne Rienner Publishers 11 31
78. Mui L. Computational Models of Trust and Reputation: Agents, Evolutionary Games and Social Networks 2002 MIT
79. National Security Archive 1985a Memorandum of Conversation [between George Shultz and Eduard Shevardnadze] July 31, 1985 Residence of the U.S. Ambassador, Helsinki, Finland
80. National Security Archive "To the Geneva Summit" Perestroika and the transformation of u.s.-Soviet relations 1985b National Security Archive briefing book No.172. 22.11.2005.
81. National Security Archive 1985c Geneva Summit Memorandum of Conversation November 19, 1985 10:20–11:20 a.m. First Private Meeting p.2
82. National Security Archive "Geneva Summit Memorandum of Conversation" 1985d Geneva Summit Memorandum of Conversation November 19, 1985 11:27 a.m.-12:15 p.m. First Plenary Session p.7.
83. National Security Archive 1985e Geneva Summit Memorandum of Conversation November 19, 1985 2:30–3:40 p.m. Second Plenary Meeting
84. National Security Archive 1985f Geneva Summit Memorandum of Conversation November 20, 1985, 8:00–10:30 p.m. Dinner Hosted by President and Mrs. Reagan p. 7.
85. Neumann Iver B. "“Self and Other in International Relations.”" European Journal of International Relations 1996 Vol 2 2 139 174
86. Nicholson M. Rationality and the Analysis of International Conflict 1992 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
87. Nooteboom Bart Nooteboom Bart , Six Frederique "“The Trust Process,”" The Trust Process in Organizations 2003 Cheltenham Edward Elgar 16 36
88. Nooteboom Bart " Trust " Forms, Foundations, Functions, Failures and Figures 2002 Cheltenham Edward Elgar
89. Ocala Star-Banner Arms Control Experts Worried about Geneva Talks Stalemate 1985 April 14, 1985.
90. Popper Karl Popper Karl "“Models, Instruments, and the Truth. The Status of the Rationality Principle in the Social Sciences,”" The Myth of Framework. In Defence of Science and Rationality 1994 London Routledge 154 184
91. Post Jerold The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders 2003 Ann Arbor, MI The University of Michigan Press
92. Putnam Robert Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy 1992 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
93. Rathbun Brian C. "“Before Hegemony: Generalized Trust and the Creation and Design of International Security Organizations.”" International Organization 2011 Vol 65 243 273
94. Reagan Ronald Cold War: Reagan to Gorbachev (affirms “personal commitment . . . to serious negotiations”) 1985a Mar 11 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
95. Reagan Ronald Cold War: Reagan to Gorbachev (value of “political meetings” in building trust) 1985b Apr 4 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
96. Reagan Ronald Cold War: Reagan to Gorbachev (obstacles to trust) 1985c Apr 30 Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
97. Reagan Ronald " An American Life " The Autobiography 1990 New York Threshold Editions
98. Reagan Ronald Brinkley Douglas The Reagan Diaries 2007 New York Harper Collins
99. Rostova Natalija Oni ne byli revoljutsionerami, oni shest let zhdali, oni igrali po pravilam 2014 Interview of Pavel Palazhchenko, the former interpreter of Soviet Foreign Minister Mr. Eduard Shevardnadze, published in Russian.
100. Ruzicka Jan , Wheeler Nicholas J. "“Decisions to trust.”" The rusi Journal 2010a Vol 155 2 20 25
101. Ruzicka Jan , Wheeler Nicholas J. "“The puzzle of trusting relationships in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”" International Affairs 2010b Vol 86 1 69 85
102. Seppänen Risto Trust in Inter-Organizational Relationships 2008 Lappeenranta Lappeenranta University of Technology Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis 328
103. Seppänen Risto , Blomqvist K. , Sundqvist S. "“Measuring Inter-organizational Trust – A Critical Review of the Empirical Research in 1990–2003.”" Industrial Marketing Management 2007 Vol 36 2 249 265
104. Shultz George Cold War: Geneva (Reagan-Gorbachev) Summit (Shultz memoirs) 1985 Nov 20 1985
105. Simon Herbert A. Administrative Behavior 1947 New York Free Press
106. Simon Herbert A. McGuire C.B. , Radner Roy "“Theories of Bounded Rationality,”" Decision and Organization 1972 Amsterdam North-Holland Publishing Company 361 377
107. Six Frederique The Trouble with Trust 2005 Cheltenham Edward Elgar
108. Smith P. , van de Ven A.H. "“Structuring cooperative relationships between organizations.”" Strategic Management Journal 1992 Vol 13 7 483 498
109. Stein Janice Gross , Welch David A. Geva Nehemia , Mintz Alex "“Rational and Psychological Approaches to the Study of International Conflict: Comparative Strength and Weaknesses,”" Decision-making on War and Peace: The Cognitive Rational Debate 1997 Boulder, CO Lynne Rienner 51 77
110. Sztompka Piotr " Trust " A Sociological Theory 1999 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
111. Tan Y.-H. , Theon W. Formal Aspects of a Generic Model of Trust for Electronic Commerce 2000 33rd International conference on System Sciences Hawaii
112. Thatcher Archive Cold War: New York (Reagan-Gorbachev) Meeting (Governors Island) 1988 Dec 7 1988 [declassified 2000] Margaret Thatcher Foundation at
113. Thatcher Margaret The Autobiography 1995 London Harper Press
114. Thompson Simon Watson Sean , Moran Anthony "“Trust, Risk and Identity,”" Trust, Risk and Uncertainty 2005 Houndmills Palgrave McMillan 27 46
115. Uslaner Eric M. The Moral Foundations of Trust 2002 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
116. Vogler J. Clarke Michael , White Brian "“Perspectives on the Foreign Policy Systems: Psychological Approaches,”" Understanding Foreign Policy. The Foreign Policy Systems Approach 1989 Cheltenham Edward Elgar 135 162
117. Waltz Kenneth N. Theory of International Politics 1979 New York Random House
118. Welch Larson Deborah "“Trust and Missed Opportunities in International Relations.”" Political Psychology 1997 Vol 18 3 701 734
119. Wendt Alexander "“Anarchy Is What States Make of It; The Social Construction of Power Politics.”" International Organization 1992 Spring Vol 46 2 391 425
120. Wendt Alexander "“Collective Identity Formation and the Individual State.”" American Political Science Review 1994 June Vol 2 384 396
121. Wendt Alexander "“Constructing International Politics.”" International Security 1995 Summer Vol 20 1 71 81
122. Wendt Alexander Social Theory of International Politics 1999 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
123. Wheeler Nicholas J. , Booth Keith Baylis John , Rengger N.J. "“The Security Dilemma,”" Dilemmas of World Politics. International Issues in a Changing World 1992 Oxford Clarendon Press 29 60
124. Williams Bernard Gambetta Diego "“Formal Structures and Social Reality,”" Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations 1998 Cambridge, MA Basil Blackwell 3 13
125. Wilson James Graham " The Triump of Improvisation " Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War 2014 Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    International Negotiation — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation