Louis Sell spent 27 years in the U.S. State Department and saw numerous pivotal historic events firsthand. He was in Moscow when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and Sell used that experience to write his latest book, “From Washington to Moscow: U.S. Soviet Relations and the Collapse of the USSR.”

He’s in Louisville to talk about the book, and sat down with me to discuss the USSR’s collapse, how it happened, and the importance of summit meetings. You can listen to our conversation in the media player above.

On the Ronald Reagan-Mikhail Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik:

“The Reykjavik summit was one the most unusual and important summits between two leaders in the Cold War. We remember the end of it where Reagan and Gorbachev parted angrily after Reagan agreed to eliminate all nuclear weapons and Gorbachev made that agreement impossible by adding in there must also be limits on the strategic defense initiative called Star Wars.”

On the Trump-Kim summit:

“I think it’s extremely unclear what was agreed in Singapore. And it’s very clear that the statement that was signed is a list of glittering generalities. Turning those glittering generalities into real decentralization is going to be difficult. I’m frankly worried that this current administration may not be up to the challenge.”

Sell will talk about his book Thursday evening at 7 at the main library in Louisville. Details here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for WFPL News.