No doubt about it

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At the height of the Cold War, President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met in person for the first time, in Geneva, Switzerland.

They discussed the arms race and international diplomatic relations. The meetings ran long, which was a good sign. At one point, they took a private walk, accompanied only by their interpreters.

During that interlude, Reagan asked Gorbachev a question that was only revealed many years later, by Gorbachev himself. Here’s how Gorbachev described it:

President Reagan suddenly said to me, 'What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?'

"I said, 'No doubt about it.'"

"He said, 'We too.' So that's interesting.”

The summit was in 1985. Gorbachev told the story in 2009. Coverage at the time included wry observations that President Reagan had been a science fiction fan with a vivid imagination.

But what if there were something more to it?

What if there were another reason that this idea was on Regan’s mind?

Next month, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies are set to release an unclassified report summarizing nearly 100 years of U.S. intelligence on UFOs (or as the government calls them, UAPs, short for unidentified aerial phenomena).

It’s the result of a tiny provision tucked into the gargantuan $2.3 trillion appropriations bill that President Trump signed last year. The looming deadline is why you might have seen a lot of media recently talking about UFOs.

For example, here’s Trump’s former director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, explaining on Fox News what he expects the report to contain:

“We are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for or are traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”

And, President Obama was on The Late Late Show recently:

"What is true, and I'm actually being serious here, is that there are, there's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are. We can't explain how they moved, their trajectory.

They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so, you know, I think that people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what that is."

For more details, 60 Minutes ran a segment with former U.S. Navy fighter pilots describing some of these encounters over the years. Examples:

  • Lt. Ryan Graves, who said he and his colleagues saw objects they couldn’t identify. “Every day. Every day for at least a couple years.”

  • Lt. Cdr. Alex Dietrich, who said she and the backseat officer in her F/A-18F fighter jet witnessed some kind of UFO (or UAF) off the coast of San Diego in 2004.

  • Commander David Fravor, on the same mission with Dietrich, who described chasing after the UFO — shaped like a piece of candy, and much faster and more maneuverable than his jet. It ultimately vanished into thin air when he got too close. (“I’ll be honest. I’m not a UFO guy,” Fravor said. “[But] there’s definitely something.”)

It’s worth emphasizing that UFO or UAF doesn’t necessarily mean aliens; it could mean undisclosed U.S. military technology, or (less reassuringly) Russian, Chinese, or other foreign military technology.

But, if it turns out that there is good data suggesting visits from an extra-terrestrial society are a possibility, it will be a paradigm-shifting, mind-blowing new bit of information.

So, I wonder what Reagan was being briefed on back in 1985, and if there’s anything that crept into his mind at that moment with Gorbachev.

Not necessarily that the United States might be attacked by other civilizations in space, but even just the accumulation of evidence that they might exist.

“No doubt about it.” I just hope they come in peace.


Post-script. Long time, O.G. subscribers of Understandably might remember I wrote a while back about how after the fall of communism, Gorbachev was broke — so broke that he gave speeches and interviews to almost anyone who wanted to hear from him (for a fee), and even filmed a commercial for Pizza Hut.

Imagine: But for that financial need and effort, which I assume led him to participate in this lengthy interview to begin with (reported here, for example, in the Christian Science Monitor), we might never have heard this story!

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Thanks for reading. Photo credit: U.S. Government. That’s actually Reagan and Gorbachev at another summit, in Iceland, but you probably wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t say so. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here

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