Richard Pipes
Richard Pipes
Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger
ISBN: 0300101651
Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger
—from the publisher's website

A distinguished historian, Harvard professor, and White House adviser looks back on his own life and on the tumultuous twentieth century

Sixteen-year-old Richard Pipes escaped from Nazi-occupied Warsaw with his family in October 1939. Their flight took them to the United States by way of Italy, and Pipes went on to earn a college degree, join the U.S. Air Corps, serve as professor of Russian history at Harvard for nearly forty years, and become adviser to President Reagan on Soviet and Eastern European affairs. In this engrossing book, the eminent historian remembers the events of his own remarkable life as well as the unfolding of some of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary political events.

From his youthful memories of bombs falling on Warsaw to his recollections of the conflicts inside the Reagan administration over American policies toward the USSR, Pipes offers penetrating observations as well as fascinating portraits of such cultural and political figures as Isaiah Berlin, Ronald Reagan, and Alexander Haig. Perhaps most interesting of all, Pipes depicts his evolution as a historian and his understanding of how history is witnessed and how it is recorded.

“Mr. Pipes has had a long and distinguished life and career, and he has made distinctive and important contributions to both scholarship and public policy. He has much of interest to tell, particularly concerning his often contentious involvement with American policy toward the Soviet Union.”--Mark Raeff, Columbia University

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TRANSCRIPT
Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger
Program Air Date: December 7, 2003

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Richard Pipes, author of "Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger." What`s this non-belonger thing?
RICHARD PIPES, HISTORIAN & AUTHOR, "VIXI: MEMOIRS OF A NON-BELONGER": Well, non-belonger is a legal term used in the British Virgin Islands where we have a house. And it distinguishes belongers who are residents and property owners and visitors who just come temporarily, from people like us who have property there but don`t belong.

And it meant - it was meant to emphasize that I haven`t belonged to any school of thought and I`ve always been contrarian.
LAMB: Vixi means what?
PIPES: I have lived.
LAMB: Why did you pick that?
PIPES: Well, I picked it because it`s short. And it was never used by anybody.

Some people misinterpret it to mean Vinci, that I`ve conquered, which it does not mean. It just means I have lived.
LAMB: You spent most of your life where?
PIPES: Oh, in the United States. I left Poland at the age of 16.
LAMB: Where in the United States?
PIPES: In Cambridge. I arrived here in 1940. I went to college right away in Ohio, spent 2.5 years there. Then three years in the Air Force. And then I came to Harvard in `46, and I`ve stayed there ever since.
LAMB: And you spent how many years in Washington working for Ronald Reagan?
PIPES: Two years.
LAMB: What`s Team B?
PIPES: Team B was an experiment started in 1976 by then head of the CIA, George Bush. That`s a rather complicated story. We had, as you probably know, this theory of mutually assured destruction, which held that nuclear weapons are good for nothing except deterrence.

And according to this theory, once you reached parity, there was no point building up any more forces. Because you reached parity, you could inflict unacceptable damage on your enemy.

And yet the Russians, having parity with us in 1969-1970, kept on building nuclear weapons.

So the question arose whether they shared our view of it. And I was asked to gather a team of experts, look at the evidence which the CIA had, to see the Russians indeed had the same view as we do.

But our team arrived at a different conclusion, namely that they have a war winning and war fighting strategy.
LAMB: What year did you arrive at this?
PIPES: That was the end of `76, just before Jimmy Carter became president.
LAMB: You tell a story in your book about Team A and Team B, and finding yourself at the CIA when George Bush was head of the CIA.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: What was that?
PIPES: Well, that was all at the end of `70 - I was asked to head Team A in the summer of `76. And Team A was a CIA group, which arrived at certain conclusions about Soviet strategic weapons.

Team B were outsiders. So, it was a unique experiment. I think it was - never happened before or after.

We were asked to look at the same evidence and see if we arrived at the same conclusions, and we did not.
LAMB: And how did George Bush treat you?
PIPES: Well, he was very cool to us, because he was in a very difficult situation. Here he brought us in, and we criticized his agency, the agency of which he was head. So, out of loyalty to his people, he had to be rather cool to us.

He didn`t deny that our conclusions were correct, but he wasn`t frankly warm to us either.
LAMB: Well, it seemed to be what some of this book is about, what you learned being an insider for two years in the Reagan administration, and these other activities around it.

Is there a way to sum up your philosophy of what it`s like to be a part of government?
PIPES: Well, to be part of government, first of all, you realize that you`re part of a team. I got into trouble very early because I spoke my mind.

I`m used, as a professor, to say what I want, and I`m not used to somebody interpreting my words as being contrary to accepted wisdom, which in this case was the administration`s wisdom. I found this very difficult.

Secondly, what you learn in government, how ad hoc many of the decisions are made. You know, people tend to think that all these decisions are the result of a great deal of pondering and evidence- searching and so on. But sometimes the most important decisions are made just ad hoc, because people get angry, or people want to achieve something which they at this moment think is desirable.

And thirdly, I learned what an enormous role personalities play, you know, likes and dislikes.

I mean, I was watching President Reagan and Alexander Haig, and I could see the tension. And so it wasn`t a matter of policy, it was a matter of personalities.

And that`s throughout the government, I noticed, this to be a factor.
LAMB: What was the impact of - Alexander Haig when he was Secretary of State and Ronald Reagan - what was the impact of the difference in their personalities then?
PIPES: I mean, on policy you mean?
LAMB: Yes.
PIPES: It wasn`t so much on policy, because as - President Reagan wrote his memoirs in which he says that he eventually let Alexander Haig go, not because of their differences on policy, but because Haig could not accept the fact that the president was in charge of foreign policy.

And so, it was a personality clash.
LAMB: What was your relationship to Al Haig?
PIPES: Very cool and distant, because Haig did not want people like myself in the White House to have an influence on foreign policy. And there was a constant tension here and between the White House - Reagan White House - and the State Department.
LAMB: So where were you in the - what was your job inside the White House?
PIPES: I was director of East European and Soviet affairs in the National Security Council. So theoretically my job was to get feedback from all the agencies and the executive - particularly State and Defense - get the memoranda to the president, summarize them and give my recommendations.

But it didn`t work like that at all, because any secretary can call up the president, talk to him directly or visit him, bypassing the NSC process altogether.

So in effect, my job was to comment on various events for the president, write memoranda for him, help write his speeches and things of that sort.
LAMB: We`re always watching Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, and Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Council director, the chief.

Talk about the relative - I mean, you know, the State Department`s over there at 23rd Street.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: The White House is at 16th Street. That`s seven blocks apart.
PIPES: Well, but the…
LAMB: Where`s the NSC? Where`s the National Security Council?
PIPES: The National Security Council is physically is located in the Old Executive Building, which is right next to the White House. It was once the War Department.

But because the White House itself has very little space. The National Security Advisor himself, or herself, has offices in the White House. But the staff is across in the Old Executive Office Building.

Well, there can be or cannot be tension. It depends what the president is, what the president wants.

In general, the State Department is opposed to the use of force. That is - they just consider the resort to force to mean failure of policy in foreign policy.

The White House, it differs. Under some presidents - President Reagan and George W. Bush - resort to force is considered to be all right if necessary.

But if the president is like Reagan or George W. Bush, then you have this constant tension, because the State Department wants to always discuss things, agree things, act multi-nationally, and so on, through the United Nations. But we always were in tension with the State Department.
LAMB: How did you find yourself in the first place inside the Reagan White House?
PIPES: Well, because of Team B, I became rather well known as a critic of détente and in general, towards the Soviet Union. And Richard V. Allen, who was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, invited me to join the Committee on the Present Danger. And there we got to know each other.

And then when Allen became National Security Advisor, he asked me to join the staff.
LAMB: What was the Committee on Present Danger, and who sponsored that?
PIPES: Committee on the Present Danger was something formed in `76, about the same time as Team B, by people like Eugene Rostow, Paul Nitze, to alert the American public to the fact that we`re falling behind in our defense posture, that the Soviets are overtaking us. And we raised the alarm about that in the country and with a lot of success.

President Reagan was a member of the committee, not of the board of the Committee on Present Danger, but he was a member of it. And he, I think, was very much influenced by it.
LAMB: Well, we`re going through a period now where people reach back five, six, seven years and find a group of people in the New American Century that were very much in support of going in and getting Saddam Hussein.

Is it a similar thing like the Committee on Present Danger? As President Reagan became president, you moved into the White House to influence him.
PIPES: Well, the Committee on the Present Danger is a more - they don`t have such specific task. It just was saying, look - to the nation - we are falling behind in our defensive posture, and we must do something about it.

And that had big repercussions in the country.
LAMB: Why did you think that?
PIPES: Well, because the evidence was pointing this way. We followed very closely Soviet buildup, particularly in strategic nuclear weapons, their building up of the navy, submarines and so on. And we felt they are racing forward. And this in the face of the assumption of our defense specialists that in a nuclear age, superiority is meaningless.

Obviously, they operate on a different premise. And their premise was that you can fight and win a nuclear war.
LAMB: Now, who would have been on the other side of what your position was, and what would they be called?
PIPES: Eventually everybody was on the other side. The whole Sovietological community and all the defense community.

They were mainly arms controllers, people who believed that the tension can be defused by arms control measures.
LAMB: What`s a Soviet - would you call Sovietologists?
PIPES: Well, a Sovietologist was a neologism then formed, meaning people who were experts on the Soviet Union.
LAMB: But so were you.
PIPES: I don`t like the term. But I was regarded as such, yes.
LAMB: What`s the difference between the revisionists and the traditionalists?
PIPES: Well that applies to historical learning. That has nothing to do with defense postures. I describe this in my book. The difference between people who regarded the Soviet regime as illegitimate, as one that has come to power by coup d'état.

The revisionists follow in rather the Soviet lead. They said, no, this regime came to power empowered by popular support, and is popular and stable.
LAMB: And your position on how the Soviet Union became what it was?
PIPES: It was a coup d'état. It was a power seizure and carried out at night in October 1917.
LAMB: So why do you think that way and so many of the people in academia think the other way?
PIPES: Well, that`s very difficult for me to answer. I think I`m more realistic than they are.

And I think - the reason for revisionism in historiography, Russian historiography, it arose in the 1960s. Has a lot to do with policy.

Because there was an era of détente. And it was - many people regarded our - my view, which was shared by some historians - to be in conflict with détente. I mean, you cannot speak about a country which is your partner, and with which you want to live on good terms, that it came to power by force illegitimately, in a coup d'état.

So the feeling was that we`ve got to be nice to these people and say that they are a popular regime. They came to power because of popular support and enjoy popular support. Now, revisionism was destroyed when the Soviet Union collapsed overnight without any popular resistance.
LAMB: You said, when former Senator Scoop Jackson died, that had a big impact on you. Who was he? And why did it have an impact on you?
PIPES: Well, Scoop Jackson was a leading Democratic senator from the state of Washington. He was a man of great intelligence.

And unlike many other Democrats, he was very critical of the Soviet Union, and had pursued a rather hard line. And he liked some of the things I said and wrote, and he made me consultant to his committee. And I admired him very much.

And when he died, my ties to the Democratic Party were very much loosened.
LAMB: You were a Democrat then?
PIPES: I was. And nominally I still am. I`m still a registered Democrat. I have never changed parties. But I no longer sympathize with the Democratic Party.
LAMB: How do you define your views in politics .
PIPES: Now?
LAMB: Today. Yes.
PIPES: Well, I`m a conservative. I believe in force of tradition. I believe in maintaining institutions intact - of course not rigidly - and changing with time.

But I think when you confront a situation where a tradition or institution is being questioned, you should always ask yourself, will we benefit by changing it?

So I`m a traditionalist that way.
LAMB: Why do you stay a Democrat?
PIPES: I have to tell you frankly. I was going to switch parties when I went to the White House, and I got a telephone call from a journalist who said, we understand that you`re a Democrat. I said, yes, that`s true. I`m a Democrat. I`m a Jackson Democrat.

And when I hung up I said, if I now change parties, it will look like opportunism - I want to make a career in the Republican Party. So I just stayed.
LAMB: And the years that you were in the White House were...
PIPES: `81-`82, the first three years of Reagan.
LAMB: Another name that is prominent today in the news, who worked with Richard - I mean, worked with Scoop Jackson is Richard Perle.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: Explain - I mean, was he a member of the Democratic Party then? And was - do you know him very well?
PIPES: Oh, I know him quite well. I met him just about the time of the - well, actually, no, SALT II Treaty. He invited me. He and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) invited me to testify in SALT II Treaty in the early `70s.

Yes, I know him quite well. He is a neo-conservative, but he`s a Democrat. I don`t think he changed parties.
LAMB: Speaking of SALT II, you had something to do with the name START. What is that, and what did you have to do with it?
PIPES: Well, we were discussing in the NSC abandoning the term SALT - for strategic arms limitation talks - because the president wanted to reduce nuclear weapons. So the question was, what do you come up with?

And nothing seemed to be right, and I come up - this popped up in my head. I said, why don`t we call it START - strategic arms reduction talks? And that was accepted.
LAMB: Want to show you a short video clip from a previous BOOKNOTES a couple of years ago, and see if you recognize the fellow. Let`s roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL PIPES, AUTHOR, "CONSPIRACY" AND SON OF RICHARD
PIPES: My political education was in college. I was in college from 1967 to `71.
LAMB: Harvard? DANIEL
PIPES: Harvard. The years of rage and revolution. And I thought they were mistaken. And taking that position, arguing against the radicals was my political education.

I was all the time wondering why I am in this tiny minority that`s against the revolution.
LAMB: What`s your father`s politics? DANIEL
PIPES: Not too different from mine.
LAMB: How much impact did he have on the way you think? DANIEL
PIPES: Well, again, you know, it`s - no doubt he had impact. But at the same time, there were many other fathers whose politics were similar to mine, and their children were radicals. So I`ll take some credit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: And that man is .
PIPES: My son Daniel, yes, who is a Middle Eastern expert. And he does work on the Middle East now. He`s particularly concerned with the terrorist movement and militant Islam, and, indeed, does some of the same things that I - and says some of the same things - that I said about Communism.
LAMB: So where do you both get your contrariness?
PIPES: Maybe genetic? I don`t know. I feel that I have been vindicated by events. And I think he probably will be vindicated by events, too. I generally agree with him.

I think there are a lot of illusions about militant Islam in this country. A lot of unwarranted feeling of smugness and security.
LAMB: Now, I want to go back, and I want to read a quote here from your book in a minute, but I want to go back to, you were in the White House for a couple of years. You were part of the National Security Council. And you say it`s not like it looks like from the outside.

How did you then, and did you then, influence the president of the United States in any way?
PIPES: I think I did. Ronald Reagan, for all his Anti-communism, was in some ways very naïve about it.

He had this notion that the Soviet leaders are misguided by the philosophy of Marxism, which is wrong. And they have the heart - at heart they have the wellbeing and happiness of their subjects or their citizens. And that if you just sit down with them and explain to them why Marxism is wrong and our philosophy of democracy and free market is right, they would change, and everything would be fine.

And I had to persuade - and I succeeded eventually - that these people do not wish the happiness and wellbeing of their citizens, because the power and the privileges rests on subjugation of these people.

That Russia is ruled by Nomenclatura, by a class of privileged officials, who cannot allow their people the kind of freedoms that we enjoy.

And it took - he`s such a - he was such a kind man, and he just couldn`t understand. It just didn`t go through his head that there were people who don`t wish well their own citizens.

But finally I think he got the message. And towards the very end when I left the White House, I remember him saying in some, on some occasion, no, I no longer believe they have the wellbeing of their citizens at heart. They really are a privileged group, and they think differently from us.
LAMB: You were hired by Richard Allen - Dick Allen - who was there as the National Security Advisor for how long?
PIPES: Not quite a year. Just about a year. He, I think, resigned either December of `81 or January `82.
LAMB: How did he treat you?
PIPES: Well, he treated me well. I owe a great deal to him. We have some problems sometimes.
LAMB: But you do write in here about the fact he didn`t want you to get any credit for anything you wrote.
PIPES: I felt that way, but not only me, but anybody else on the National Security Council. I think he did not forward to the president our memoranda or our opinions, written opinions, in our name. He was all anonymous. That was his policy. It was not the policy of his successor, Judge Clark.
LAMB: Why did he only stay a year?
PIPES: What he - the ostensible reason was, if you remember, there was a scandal. He was very unfairly treated by the administration.

When the administration came in, Mrs. Reagan was interviewed by a Japanese magazine. And when their interview was over, as is their custom, they handed her some money in an envelope, which I think it was $1,000.

And Dick intercepted this money, and give it to the secretary and she put it in the safe.

And then a year later, well, as you know, close to a year later, this was discovered. And it was thought it was a bribe or some money that he concealed.

And he was totally vindicated on this. But the real reason why he was, I think, dismissed, because he was too conservative for the people who were close to the president, which is Mrs. Reagan, and Jim Baker and Mike Deaver.
LAMB: How did you know that?
PIPES: Oh, we could sense it. I mean, I cannot put my finger on that. We knew that - there are many, many symptoms of this. Mrs. Reagan particularly wanted him to become more moderate in his anti-communist stance.
LAMB: Why would she want that? Do you have any idea?
PIPES: Well, I suspect she wanted to make it with the society in Washington, which is essentially run by liberals.
LAMB: Does that kind of thing matter to you?
PIPES: It mattered to me to some extent, yes, because my access to the president was very restricted as a result of that.
LAMB: Why?
PIPES: Well, because these people felt that I was, you know, inciting his Anti-communism.
LAMB: How often did you get to see him one-on-one in the Oval Office?
PIPES: One-on-one, never. I used to see him in groups in the Oval Office or at other locations.
LAMB: You kept a diary.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: When did you start that in your life?
PIPES: Well I didn`t - I had no intention to, but I met, at the beginning of my Washington stay, I ran into Scotty Reston of the "New York Times" at a party.

And he said, now you`ve got to keep a journal. This will be very important. So I listened to him. And most every night I would sit down and write down what happened during the day. And it came to something like six volumes, which I used in writing these memoirs.
LAMB: Now, Scotty Reston would not exactly have been on your side politically, would he have?
PIPES: Well, that was not the point. He just said that, you know, for historical purposes, I should be doing that.
LAMB: Well, the reason I mention it. You were accused of leaking information from…
PIPES: You mean on Team B?
LAMB: ...time to time. Well, along the way. I mean, didn`t they suspect you of leaking when you were on the National Security Council, the people who didn`t like your views?
PIPES: Well, some of them did. But the fact is, I never leaked anything. I consider that to be a form of treason.
LAMB: Again, what are you feeling as a college professor at Harvard, expert on Russian, the society? You`re sitting inside the White House and you`re watching Dick Allen dismissed.

And then who comes in in his place?
PIPES: Well, Judge Clark. William Clark.
LAMB: And you worked for him.
PIPES: I worked for him.
LAMB: How was he to you?
PIPES: I got very well along with him, yes.
LAMB: Was he a conservative?
PIPES: He was quite conservative. But the big thing was that he was very close to the president. He was a very intimate friend of the president.

And secondly, he had no political ambitions of his own. He treated it as a sacrifice. He dreamt of going back to his ranch in California.
LAMB: Did he care whether your name was in a memo or not?
PIPES: No, didn`t care at all.
LAMB: So you`ve already got a change in personality.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: Again, you go back to the name…
PIPES: Yes, right.
LAMB: …by their own personality.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: But go to Al Haig. He`s Secretary of State. How often do you see him in a meeting?
PIPES: I saw him at NSC meetings. Whenever he was present, which was most of the time, I saw him. But I was a silent witness there. I was a note taker or an observer.
LAMB: Let me read what you wrote in your diary on January - early January 1982. This is - you`re near the end of your time.
PIPES: No, no. It`s the middle.
LAMB: In the middle, I`m sorry. "In reflections on my first year in Washington, which I jotted down in my journal on January the 1st, I wrote of Haig as follows. `A tactician with very limited horizons, smart on details. Personality disturbed in some way.`"

What did you mean by that?
PIPES: Well, he was, in some ways, politically paranoid. He thought - I mentioned an example of it.
LAMB: I can read it.
PIPES: Yes, go ahead.
LAMB: "His behavior at NSC meetings alternates between impassioned and often accusatory outbursts and sneering silence. I think he considers himself the only man in the room who understands the issues of foreign policy, and regards the rest - president included - as nincompoops."

How often, by the way, you use that word nincompoop.

"He flatters the president, but Ronald Reagan feels very uncomfortable with him, especially when caught in a crossfire between Haig (sitting on his right) and Weinberger (on his left). It is difficult to see how he can survive the whole presidential term. He has now support in the cabinet."

That was January of 1982. How long did he survive?
PIPES: Another half a year.
LAMB: How did he leave? Under what circumstances?
PIPES: How did he leave?
LAMB: Yes.
PIPES: Well, there were -- I don`t know specific problem. There were many problems, because he handed in his resignation many times, and they were rejected.

But in this case, they came back from France where there was a meeting, an international meeting, at which he apparently behaved very insolently to Mrs. Reagan. And that infuriated everybody on the staff.

And he went once again and gave his letter of resignation to the president, expecting it to be rejected, but the president accepted it and he left.
LAMB: You felt the need in your book to tell us that you were in meetings with Ronald Reagan and you never saw him fall asleep.
PIPES: Never.
LAMB: Why would you need to say that?
PIPES: Because people believed he normally would fall asleep at meetings, he didn`t know what was going on. It`s just absolutely untrue.

He was perfectly alert. He didn`t speak very much, generally, except when he was very impassioned.

When the Polish crisis erupted, you know, and martial law was imposed, he was furious. And he delivered impassioned speeches at the NSC.

But normally he listened and would ask a question, but didn`t say very much. But he certainly was alert.
LAMB: Now, you mentioned the Polish crisis. That obviously was near and dear to your heart. Why?
PIPES: Well, I am born in Poland. I was raised in Poland. And I feel, in some respects, still a Pole.

But this was a very traumatic experience, because the events in Poland and the Solidarity seemed to suggest that Communism can evolve gradually without any - without a war and without a crash. And that was all stopped.

And the Soviets showed that they would not tolerate it. They showed it before in Hungary. They showed it before in Czechoslovakia. But we thought in the case of Poland they would allow it.

And they forced Jaruzelski to impose a very cruel martial law. And that incensed the president, as it incensed me, as well.
LAMB: And what was the timing on this?
PIPES: You mean, when it occurred?
LAMB: Yes.
PIPES: Well, the actual imposition of martial law was December 13, 1981.
LAMB: And you`re at the NSC.
PIPES: Oh, yes.
LAMB: And then, exactly what did you do in this.
PIPES: Well, you see, it just so happened that Allen was on leave of absence. And Clark had not come in yet. So there was no National Security Advisor. So I was in a very powerful position to give advice.

And my main advice was, don`t forget the Poles. Poland had lived under foreign occupation for 125 years and revived. And the Poles are different. And the Poles were once more coming out on top, so support them.

And that was followed to some extent. We gave a lot of assistance to the Poles.
LAMB: What about the sanctions question?
PIPES: Well, the sanctions were also imposed.
LAMB: But how did that work, though? I mean, again, what was your role in that?
PIPES: It was rather funny. I was told to prepare a manual of sanctions. I didn`t have the foggiest notion of how to go about it. So I asked for some advice. And then I started listing things which were import from Poland, or things - (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with the Poles, such as fishing rights, landing rights of the planes and so on, and presented it to Judge Clark, and he presented it to the president. And most of them were actually enforced.
LAMB: So what was the idea behind sanctions? I mean, this is always a big discussion and whether you`re for or against them.
PIPES: Well, to punish the Russians in the first place, because we knew very well that martial law was imposed under Russian pressure. So, the idea was - that was the president`s idea - they will - punishment for it, and punish the Poles as well. And the idea always was, we said to the Poles, if you lift the martial law and start behaving properly, we will lift them and help you.
LAMB: Do you think sanctions work?
PIPES: Well, I was at a conference a few years ago where General Jaruzelski was present. This was a conference in Poland. And he defended himself. It was a very strange conference, because on the one hand, on one side of the table sat Jaruzelski, and the other side sat Marshal Kulikov, the head of the Warsaw Pact, which was supposed to invade Poland. Jaruzelski said, I imposed martial law to save Poland from a Soviet invasion, a Warsaw Pact invasion. Kulikov said, we had no intension of invading. It was a very interesting confrontation. But he also - Jaruzelski also said that the sanctions cost Poland $12 billion, which in Polish terms is an enormous sum of money. It`s hard to say whether they worked. But they were inevitable, because we had no other means of showing our displeasure. I mean, we could not use military power. So, basically, economic means were the only means we had. And I was all in favor of that.
LAMB: So if there wasn’t a National Security Advisor at the time and you were the direct - did you have direct memo access to the president?
PIPES: Oh, yes. At that time I did, during those two months.
LAMB: Who was against sanctions?
PIPES: Commerce was against it.
LAMB: Commerce Department.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: Because of trade.
PIPES: Yes. Treasury. I`m not sure about CIA. I don`t remember. It`s now, this is 20 years. But on the whole, certainly Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, was for it. And Jeane Kirkpatrick was for it. Haig vacillated. One day he was for it, the next day he was against it.
LAMB: You find yourself in - at some time, and you might remember what the date was - at the Bohemian Grove in California, which is an exclusive club, I think, isn`t it, of some kind?
PIPES: Well, it`s an exclusively male club.
LAMB: And why were you there?
PIPES: Well, I was invited by a friend who was a member.
LAMB: And when was this? Was this while you were on the NSC?
PIPES: No, no, no. That was afterwards.
LAMB: Well, the quote I`m going to read is, "`Pipes, I can destroy you. How? By saying that I agree with you.` It was a fine example of his self-deprecatory humor." You`re talking about Henry Kissinger.
PIPES: Right.
LAMB: And what was your relationship with him during all this?
PIPES: Well, at first it was very friendly, because he tried to get into the Reagan administration. But then he didn`t get in, because Reagan did not like him. And he sort of faded away. So I used to meet him occasionally, both here and abroad at various conferences, for example, the Bilderberg conference, I met him. And, you know, we talked and so on. But he was not involved in policy at all.
LAMB: What do you - what`s his position? I mean, do you two agree on the deal with Russia .
PIPES: No, I criticized him, because he was the architect of détente. And I was very critical of détente, because I thought it rested on a very false premise of what the Soviet Union is and where it`s heading.
LAMB: Define what détente was, and who started it?
PIPES: Well, I think it actually was started in Germany by - as Ostpolitik. The notion that if you are friendly to the Russians, if you start engaging in not only arms limitation talks, but in trade, cultural exchange and so on, that country will eventually soften its stance. The premise was that Russians are paranoid, because they`ve been invaded so many times. And they are always insecure. So if you threaten them, they become hard line and dangerous. If you`re nice to them, they`ll become - they`ll reciprocate. And our return policy was based on something rather similar, similar premise. My argument was that historically speaking, first of all, the Russians didn`t -- were not only invaded but also did some invading. You don`t become the greatest, largest country in the world by being invaded. They did a lot of invading and conquering. And secondly, that historically speaking, Russians were always most aggressive when they felt most secure. The only time when they really placating potential enemies was during the pact with the Nazi Germany, because they were mortally afraid of Hitler. So between `39 and `41, they were appeasing him in every possible way. So I thought that was based on a very false premise. I was a -- and our opponents said, no, if you want to be harsh on the Russians, they will reciprocate in kind, and you are going to get another Stalin. In fact, they were totally wrong, because we got Gorbachev.
LAMB: You say in your book, and you can correct me on this, but you say every time you went to the Soviet Union, you couldn`t wait to get out of the country.
PIPES: Well, that was not only my feeling; almost every westerner felt that way.
LAMB: Why?
PIPES: First of all, the atmosphere of fear, the atmosphere of spying, particularly if you spoke Russian, as I did. My telephones were tapped. In the early years, particularly, I was always followed. Everywhere I went. And that was just very, very unpleasant. We were not used to that.
LAMB: How often have you been there? And when was the first time you went there?
PIPES: I went there in `57 the first time, which was four years after Stalin`s death. Then in `59, `60. `62, I lectured at the University of Leningrad. And I went there every few years, and there was a long hiatus I did not go, because I worked for the government. Then I started going back. And now, I am very welcome there.
LAMB: So when you go there now, do you feel the same way, you can`t wait to get out?
PIPES: Oh, no, no, no. Now it`s totally different. Now, you know, the atmosphere, first, there is no spying, no tapping of telephones. No fear. I lecture freely, I write freely. And in fact, in some circles, I am regarded as kind of hero. I just read this Russian magazine, called "Zvezda" yesterday, I got this number, and they referred to me as somebody who made a major contribution to the destruction of the Soviet system, for which we will always be grateful to it. Well, that`s a big change.
LAMB: When -- how many books have you written in your life?
PIPES: I think 21.
LAMB: And how many of them on Russia?
PIPES: Well, virtually all, except for this book, and a textbook of Western European civilization, they are all on Russia.
LAMB: And how much impact did you have during the time when the Communists were in control in Russia, how much did they read what you said and how often were you able to tell them exactly in person what you thought was the truth?
PIPES: Well, in person, this was not really possible in Soviet days, that is, you couldn`t, because that just endangered the people you talked to. But my books were read. In fact, some of them were translated by the government. Particularly my -- when I entered the government, they started translating my writings, so they could know what my views were, and I know, I heard from some Russians that I became some enemy number one. And that was especially true after I contributed to the president`s speech, the so-called Westminster speech, which he delivered in `82 in London, where he said Marx was right when he said that when the political system and the economic and social system are out of step, the country is in a revolutionary situation. But that applies to Soviet Union, not to us. And when they read that, they knew that I contributed to that, they climbed up the wall, because it`s the first time that an American president criticized the system. Traditionally our presidents criticized Soviet behavior, and our policy was, we don`t really care what your system is. You have whatever you like. If that`s what you like, OK. But don`t become aggressive. And we acted on the kind of premise of behaviorist psychology, that if you slap them long enough and often enough for their misbehavior, they will start behaving. And my argument was, no, that`s not so.
LAMB: You tell a story about what you did when Brezhnev died.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: What was it?
PIPES: Do you mean when I went to the ...
LAMB: Yes, the embassy.
PIPES: I went to the embassy? Well, yes, I went to the embassy, to - - because the president was going to come there the next day, so I went to the security people to look at, and Dobrynin, who was the ambassador, took me to the room where there was a book of condolences and thrust a pen in my hand. And I should -- no, no, no. I think it`s fine, I`m -- no, no, you must. So I scribbled something so nobody could recognize my signature in the future, accuse me of hypocrisy.
LAMB: Why is that?
PIPES: I felt no sorrow about Brezhnev`s death.
LAMB: But how did the president handle his public words?
PIPES: He handled it very well. I was asked to write what he was supposed to put in that book, and I just couldn`t do it, because you know, if you don`t believe something, you can`t write properly. And he handled it very well. He`s crossed out what I wrote and wrote his own condolences, which had to do mainly with the family and so on. It was very, very well, tactfully put.
LAMB: So, why did you leave the White House?
PIPES: I had to if I wanted to keep my Harvard chair. Harvard only gives you two years, leave of absence. No matter how high you are.
LAMB: Didn`t Henry Kissinger get longer than that?
PIPES: Well, he did, but he gave up his Harvard chair.
LAMB: So, would you have stayed longer if you didn`t have to?
PIPES: I would not.
LAMB: Why not?
PIPES: I sort of had enough. And I found myself tremendously constrained by working in the large organization and not being myself. When I`m at Harvard, a professor, I am a master of myself. I can teach when I want, I can teach what I want. Nobody questions what I say. I hold my office hours when I want. I`m a totally free person. And here, in the government, as in any large organization, you are terribly constrained. And I found this difficult.
LAMB: Will you paint a picture again, going back to the atmosphere, then, of being in the Old Executive Office Building, having your own office. Did it matter where your office was located?
PIPES: Well, it did, yes. You have to -- the prime -- prime real estate was an office that looked on the White House, then next one was Pennsylvania Avenue. Then on the street. The worst was in a courtyard. Nobody wanted that. But if you had one on the White House and a balcony, that was prime real estate. I had a view of the White House, but no balcony. Still, this is very, very good real estate.
LAMB: Did you find yourself maneuvering, trying to get in to see the president?
PIPES: I couldn`t do it.
LAMB: Trying to get credit for what you were writing?
PIPES: I couldn`t do it, no.
LAMB: You could not do it.
PIPES: I was told by -- I think I described an incident where a friend of mine with longer experience in Washington, asked me to see the national security adviser, I think it was Clark, and I called the secretary, and she said, well, he is busy right now, but I`d write it down. And then she called again. I called her again, and she said he`s busy. And my friend called, well, did you just see him? I said, no. I called the secretary twice, and she said he is busy. He said, we don`t do it that way. Just go down and put your foot in the door, and get in. Look, I cannot do it. I`m just not used to it.
LAMB: So what did it feel like when two years were up and you were back at Harvard?
PIPES: Well, on one hand, it was a huge sigh of relief, that I was a free man again. And I go back to scholarship. On the other hand, I thought great gratitude to Allen and Clark that they kept me there. I learned a lot about politics, and it affected very much the way I wrote my history.
LAMB: OK, what did you learn?
PIPES: Well, again, I go back to the issue of personalities. I was writing a history of Russian revolution before I went there, and I finished it later on. And there was an episode in Russian history when Nicholas II, the last czar, dismissed his minister, Sergey Vitte, prime minister, very loyal, very capable minister. And I could not understand why. And contemporaries said that he did it because he couldn`t bear his manners, he was crude, he was towered over him, he was a very tall man, towered over him, he was very crude, and he had reputation of -- he married a lady who wasn`t quite socially acceptable. He chewed gum, it was said. I said, that could not be. And then I saw, yes. When I saw Reagan and Haig, I said, yes, these things do happen. Personalities play a role. And I also realized how often decisions are made just ad hoc, you know, we`ll invade, we`ll not invade. It`s sometimes as simple as that.
LAMB: A small story you tell about George Schulz, when he was the new secretary of state, and you were in the room and you were sitting there, and what did he do to you?
PIPES: Well, he was uncomfortable, because he didn`t know me. And I was taking notes, and I just do this automatically. He had a conversation with the president. And he said, this is very sensitive. If it leaked out, it will be very unpleasant. And he then stared at me, said that you are taking notes, makes me very uncomfortable. And Clark said, well, we`ve met Mr. Pipes on the council for many years, and he is very reliable. But he was very hostile to me.
LAMB: What did you think of him?
PIPES: Well, I think he was far more stable personality than was Haig, but he also performed the role of a secretary of state, which was to try to bring the president away from his Anti-communist stand towards a more accommodating role. And he tried and succeeded in the end. But of course, what really made the difference was the advent of Gorbachev. The president would -- did not soften his stance, even though he was under pressure from Schulz towards the Soviet Union, until Gorbachev came in. And then he met Gorbachev in Geneva. I was there, but not as a government official, but rather with -- I think, either CBS or NBC. And there they warmed towards each other, then gradually, as Reagan saw Gorbachev as a genuine human being and a liberal, he changed his policy.
LAMB: You mentioned something earlier, it kind of flew by, but it`s in your book also, but anybody -- we get a lot of calls on our call-in show, hearing it will say, a-ha, and that`s -- you went to a Bilderberg meeting.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: And there are three or four things that people think are a part of conspiracy -- Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderbergers.
PIPES: Well, that`s nonsense.
LAMB: Why is it nonsense?
PIPES: Well, because I attended -- I am a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. I attended two Bilderberg meetings. The Council on Foreign Relations is scholarly institute, and you know, it has a reputation of being very liberal, but I am -- here I am, I am a conservative, and I lecture to it, and I wrote for "The Foreign Affairs," its official organ, and so on. And secondly, Bilderberg -- well, those are very exclusive meetings, they take place once a year in different locations. Some 100 people attend. And again, I attended these two meetings, and I have lectures, people speaking about this, and people speaking about that. And nobody tried to make policy, and nobody conspired about anything.
LAMB: When people say that everybody is all part of the same group, they all get together, have these meetings, make money off the system, you know, it`s all part of being in the upper group?
PIPES: Kissinger and David Rockefeller run this. And I surely don`t share their political views. And yet I was there. So was Jeane Kirkpatrick.
LAMB: There are a couple of names I want to ask you about, way off the subject. Nietzsche is one of them, and Montaigne is another. They played a role in your life.
PIPES: Well, Friedrich Nietzsche played a role in my youth, because he encouraged my rebelliousness. You know, all teenagers are rebellious, I was rebellious. And he said, be yourself, rebel, and I liked that. But then as I grew older, I found him unbearable. I found him just so irresponsible in what he said, and so dramatic in many ways, that he -- I never read him after I left Poland. Montaigne is somebody for older age. I tried Montaigne at the age of 13, I couldn`t like it. Now I adore him.
LAMB: Why?
PIPES: He is a very wise man, extremely wise man.
LAMB: When did he live?
PIPES: Early 16th century. And his essays are one of the greatest books ever written, but I don`t advise any of your listeners to read it before 50, because it`s a counsel of moderation, he is a moderate man, and a man who has no illusions about life and what you can achieve. Be yourself, he tells you. But not in the way Nietzsche did, be yourself but be moderate, don`t aspire to too much. And he says in one of his essays, he said, you know, no matter how high you climb, even if on a throne, you ultimately sit on your own rump. You know, it`s this kind of thing. I love it.
LAMB: There is one example in the book where he talks about what you should do later in life about studying and reading, and, you know, he says, give it up.
PIPES: This, I did not follow.
LAMB: Why would he say that?
PIPES: I don`t know. This is a peculiarity. He was a skeptic in general about life. And he felt, of course, what`s old age then and what`s old age now, difference. He probably wrote this when he was in his 50s. He was considered old, and relaxed, enjoy life. I tried not to study and not to write, and I went out of my mind.
LAMB: Are you still going to do more?
PIPES: Oh, I am doing a big book now, I`m doing "A History of Russian Thought."
LAMB: And you are 80?
PIPES: I`m 80, yes.
LAMB: And you are a professor emeritus at Harvard. Do you teach at all anymore?
PIPES: No. I lecture around the country and in Europe, but I do not teach any more.
LAMB: So when did you leave Poland and why?
PIPES: Well, I left Poland at the age of 16 when the Germans invaded in September of 1939. My father knew what was -- what to expect under the German occupation, and miraculously procured bogus South American passports. We left Poland, on the first train, that left -- the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) German troop train, and we made our way through Germany. We spent two days in Germany, and then went to Italy. And from there, made our way to America eventually.
LAMB: Where did you end up in America?
PIPES: When?
LAMB: Where?
PIPES: My parents ended up in this small town, in upstate New York, it was Elmira, New York, where my father opened a small chocolate factory. He had manufactured chocolates in Poland. And I went to college in Ohio.
LAMB: Where?
PIPES: Muskingum College.
LAMB: Muskingum College.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: In what city?
PIPES: Not city, village. New Concord.
LAMB: And why there?
PIPES: Because it gave me fellowship, they gave me chance to earn money. My father could only give me $200. And I got a fellowship from them, and I had a chance to work for 35 cents an hour. And the only famous graduate is John Glenn. We were there at the same time.
LAMB: And how long did you stay?
PIPES: There I stayed until my junior year. In the junior year, I tried to volunteer for the armed services, but they wouldn`t take me, because I was a foreign citizen. And then eventually they drafted me. And I had a choice not to go into the service, in which case I would never become an American citizen, or to enroll. And I did enter the service. And I was -- because I spoke three languages, they sent me to Learn a fourth, namely Russian, and they sent me to Cornell. And that determined my whole life, because I became a Russian expert due to this education.
LAMB: What tripped it for them to think that you should learn Russian?
PIPES: Well, we had air bases in the Ukraine, for shuttle bombing. Our bombers stationed in England and Italy could not reach East Germany or Poland, and bomb. They had to refuel. So the Russians agreed to give us bases in the Ukraine, where these planes landed, refueled, reloaded on bombs and came back and bombed on the way back. So they needed American officers who could converse with them. But then by the time I graduated Cornell from this Russian course, the tide of war had turned and Stalin didn`t want any Russian speaking Americans. So I never went there.
LAMB: So when the war was over, where did you go?
PIPES: I went to Harvard. Graduate school in Harvard. To work for a Ph.D.
LAMB: And did you get your undergraduate degree at Cornell?
PIPES: At Cornell.
LAMB: And when did you meet Irene?
PIPES: At Cornell. I was in the Army. And she is also from Poland. We, in fact, lived as children four blocks away, and our parents knew each other.
LAMB: Did you know her then in Poland?
PIPES: We figured we attended some birthday parties as children.
LAMB: And so, who hooked you up together at Cornell?
PIPES: It was actually my professor of Russian, one of my professors of Russian, who brought a recording of a very pleasant female voice reading Polish poetry, and I became interested and one thing lead to another.
LAMB: What year did you marry?
PIPES: We married in `46.
LAMB: And how many children do you have?
PIPES: We have two sons.
LAMB: We met Daniel earlier.
PIPES: And the other is Steven, he is a hotel manager in New York City.
LAMB: And why professor of Russian history for the rest of your life? What was it about that that really grabbed you?
PIPES: Well, it was a very open field, you know. When I began my graduate work, I wasn`t so determined on studying Russia, but I got hooked on it, because for 30 some years, basically all history of writing about Russia was controlled by the Communist Party, which was, you know, highly biased. Almost all the professors of Russian history in this country were foreigners, many of them Russian émigrés. So there was a tremendous opportunity for us. And by the time I got my doctorate, it was an absolutely open field. You could write on any subject you wanted on Russia. Today, this is no longer true. And it was very exciting. I mean, if you were in English history, there is not very much you could have done. But Russian history was just absolutely an open book.
LAMB: In 1960, you had a dinner of some kind for George Cannon, Isaiah Berlin, Arthur Schlesinger, I may have missed one, and yourself.
PIPES: Yeah.
LAMB: Who was -- was there a fourth?
PIPES: Well, it was Cannon, Schlesinger, Edmund Wilson.
LAMB: Edmund Wilson.
PIPES: Yeah.
LAMB: And you have pictures in your book of Isaiah Berlin. Let`s just talk about these characters. You had some strong things to say about each one of them. What about -- who was George Cannon and what did you think of him?
PIPES: Well, George Cannon was America`s leading expert on the Soviet Union, particularly in the -- during the early stages of the Cold War. He wrote a famous article in "Foreign Affairs," signed Mr. X., in which he explained what the Soviet Union was after. He shuttered some of the delusions, which were created during the war, particularly during the relationship between President Roosevelt and Stalin. He had a tremendous influence on our policy. The whole policy of containment basically goes back to him. I admired him tremendously for that. He later on somehow changed his mind. He had an unfortunate experience in the foreign service. He was more or less bumped out of it by John Foster Dulles. And he became rather embittered about American foreign policy, and I ....
LAMB: Is he still alive?
PIPES: Sorry?
LAMB: He is still alive?
PIPES: Oh, he is alive, he`s in his 90s. But he doesn`t write anymore.
LAMB: You say he got a bit egocentric?
PIPES: Well, yeah. I think he was -- when he had great ambitions, he wanted to be at least secretary of state. And he didn`t make it because of personal clashes. And I was rather disappointed in his later career. And, for example, I testified with him jointly about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1970 in Congress, and he defended the Soviet invasion as being a defensive move. He became very apologetic for the Soviet Union.
LAMB: Where was this dinner?
PIPES: In my house.
LAMB: Where?
PIPES: In Belmont at the time. We lived in Belmont.
LAMB: Belmont, Massachusetts?
PIPES: Yeah.
LAMB: Home of the John Birch Society?
PIPES: Yes, it was.
LAMB: Years ago.
PIPES: Yeah.
LAMB: Go back to then Isaiah Berlin. Who was he? And why is he...
PIPES: Well, he was a very good friend of mine. He was a native of Russia, naturalized Englishman, a philosopher, very prominent intellectual. He wasn`t a specialist on Russia, but he knew a great deal about Russia. He was essentially a philosopher. And we became very friendly, he had a great influence on me.
LAMB: Why?
PIPES: Because of his enormous range, intellectual range, you know. In American intellectual circles, academic circles, you are supposed to specialize and not range very widely. You`re not supposed to talk about things not in field of your specialty. And he encouraged me with his own broad range to speak out and to write on subjects which are not in field of my specialty. So I recently published a book on property, history of property, which, I, you know, was not my field. I did it because I felt my studies in Russia -- Russian history persuaded me that property is essential to freedom. And I wrote that book -- I don`t know, I might have written it even without his influence. But he was very influential.
LAMB: But you make a point, in your book about the importance of understanding property. What is the value of understanding property to the whole world politics?
PIPES: Historically speaking, you can have political freedom and human rights only in societies in which society, not the government, controls the bulk of the wealth. Because -- the more wealth the government controls, the more cavalier it can be of human rights, and the Soviet Union was a perfect example, controlled all the productive wealth. And our experience shows, English experience to begin with, and then American experience, that if society controls the wealth and government is dependent on society for money, then our rights are guaranteed.
LAMB: Edmund Wilson, who was he?
PIPES: Well, he was America`s leading literary critic.
LAMB: What was he like?
PIPES: He was known as Bunny. He was a brilliant man. I loved him. He was -- he had been in the `30s very naive about the Soviet Union. He wrote some very pro-Soviet books. And he after admitted to me that he`d made a mistake. But he was a great literary critic. And the man whom I admired particularly for the fact that even when I knew him, he was already in his 70s. He was like a young man, continuously willing to learn. He started learning Hungarian, a very difficult language, at that age. And I think I may have it from him, under his influence, because even though I`m 80, I`m still willing to learn new things.
LAMB: I don`t know if I can find it, but there was a quote in here of what you -- he -- he had a routine that people were coming after him. How would he prevent people from getting to him?
PIPES: Well, people, of course, would come to him to recommend their books, review their books, because a good review from Edmund Wilson could make a book. He was a book reviewer for "The New Yorker." So he -- they would send him manuscripts and so on, and he had a red post card, well, he gave me copy of it, where he had all kinds of places to check off. Mr. Wilson regrets he does not give interviews, he does not review unsolicited manuscripts, he does not attend teas and literary teas and so on and so forth. Scare people.
LAMB: And Arthur Schlesinger was your last guest at this dinner.
PIPES: Yes.
LAMB: And, by the way, what was your reason for trying to get all of these people together?
PIPES: My reason was I thought I`d get four first-rate minds together at dinner in our house and I would just sit back and enjoy brilliant conversation. Well, as I wrote in the book, it didn`t turn out that way, because they all were used to being prima donnas, center of attention. And the conversation did not flow at all. I was really disappointed.
LAMB: I keep trying to find a quote, I can`t. But it`s -- it was an interesting quote about how they`re all such individuals that they all wanted to do all of the talking?
PIPES: Yes, well, and if they were sitting in the presence of other similar stars they just couldn`t get themselves to talk. So I -- it was not a memorable evening.
LAMB: It was memorable -- you remembered to write about it.
PIPES: Yes, well. Because I was so disappointed in it.
LAMB: How do you ...
PIPES: Individually with each of these men I had wonderful conversations.
LAMB: How do you approach writing? What`s your style?
PIPES: Well, normally -- this is the exception, I mean this is the book where I write from memory or from my diaries -- but when I write scholarly books, if I have an interest in the subject I begin to read primary and secondary sources, I make notes, and any thoughts that come to my mind I write down. And I do short drafts, because I find it -- if too much time elapses from the time I read something, then the impression is gone. And then when the time comes to write, I weave all these things together.
LAMB: Are you still keeping a diary?
PIPES: No, I don`t keep a diary.
LAMB: This book is published by Yale Press.
PIPES: Yeah.
LAMB: How often does Yale Press publish a Harvard professor?
PIPES: Well, in my case that`s the third time. Because it`s my third book published by them.
LAMB: What`s your best-selling book of all time, out of over 20 books?
PIPES: I think probably "Russia Under the Old Regime," which I published 30 years ago, Weidenfeld and Nicholson in England and Scribner`s here, there are many prints, goes through numerous, numerous editions at Penguin books now. Because it`s a survey in Russian history, and it`s used in courses, and so that was it. So that`s probably my bestseller.
LAMB: How many of your books are still in print?
PIPES: I can`t say. But I think almost all the important books, the major books are in print, except some special monographs, such as on the Russian labor movement, on a Russian historian Karamzin, these are out of print. But the others are almost all in print.
LAMB: You say, "I was always more interested in wisdom than knowledge." What does that mean?
PIPES: Well, I mean, I`m not interested in knowledge that doesn`t teach you anything about life, you know. Some people are. They just want to know. I want to know -- I want to understand life. I understand how to behave, how to act. What is wisdom? And that comes across from study, but a lot of study are irrelevant to it. So I don`t study things which are irrelevant, and I always want to get at the heart of the thing that would teach me wisdom.
LAMB: You say people did not make history, they make a living.
PIPES: Yes. That`s right.
LAMB: What do you mean by that?
PIPES: Well, I mean that, you know, there`s a school of historians who believes that history is made from below, is made by the masses. And I know it both from personal experience watching the war in Europe and from studying history that most people have to, even in the western circumstances, they have to go back to making a living, feeding their family, doing the laundry, and doing all these things. And they cannot engage in politics. They can do it for 24 hours, go on the barricades, but politics from day to day has to be done by professionals. So I oppose the "history from below" school, because I think history in general, but particularly history in non-democratic societies is made from above.
LAMB: You say you used to read the Sinclair Lewis novels. What years did you do that and why?
PIPES: Well, this is a rather amusing circumstance. It was during the war when I was in the Air Force. And one day I went in town with the - - my colleague`s pass, and I was stopped by MPs. And they asked for my serial number, and I didn`t remember it, because I never tried to memorize it. So they sent me back to the place where -- we lived in hotels, and this was the Air Force in St. Petersburg, Florida. And I was put on KP, kitchen – night KP for a whole week? And I got to talking to the cook, and when he found out that I was Polish, he said, forget about it. So I absented myself and I went to the U.S. library, got a stack of Sinclair Lewis novels and I holed myself up in the bathroom, in our bathroom in our suit, and there I went through all the novels of Lewis.
LAMB: Again, vixi means...
PIPES: I have lived.
LAMB: And here is the cover of the book, our guest has been Richard Pipes, professor emeritus at Harvard, "Memoirs of a Non-Belonger." Thank you very much for joining us.


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