By the end of the Cold War, the West has gotten to know a voice of sanity from Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, or "Gorby" as West Germans tenderly called. He was a smart politician, a politician indeed rather than a supreme ruler of the second most powerful superpower equipped with the deadliest weapons of mass destruction.
Twenty-five years ago, on 9 November 1989, I was on shift at The World Tonight as a newly-arrived presenter. It was the night the Berlin Wall was breached and history was made. I don't need to try to remember what I felt that night because I kept a recording of the programme. So here's what I said at 10pm on the night the Cold War finally ended.
Geopolitical fall out emanating from the crash of flight MH17 is yet to be fully realised. A definitive truth of the circumstances surrounding what transpired has not been fully consolidated. In such situations the dark arts of assessment and guesswork are at the forefront of all deliberations surrounding the deaths of nearly 300 people.
It sounds like a distant planet in a dystopian sci fi movie, and the place itself doesn't disappoint. Welcome to Transnistria, a tiny strip of land measuring less than 15 miles wide. Long linked to organised crime, the government here doesn't take too kindly to journalists, so for a special report with Channel 4 News, we went in undercover.
True, Putin is no Hitler. But it is a warning from history to those who believe his ambitions will end at Sevastopol. Crimea is a special case, we are told, because of its ethnic Russian population and importance in Russian history. The same arguments were made about the Sudetenland, and its German population, in 1938.
Beneath the pallid smog of billowing smoke that hangs above Independence Square in Kiev, the belligerents of the civil war pause for breath in a conflict that few can be sure will not resume. If it does, the rebels that hide behind their barricades, and the state forces that try to haul them down, may discover that - beneath the burnt-out tyres, barrels, and rubble - the unexpected weight of history lies very much alive and unwell.
One of the many remarkable things revealed by the NSA spying revelations is how remote from the subject of their surveillance spies have become. Programmes with enigmatic names like XKeyscore or PRISM scan mainframe computers in far away bunkers, collecting and sifting through reams of emails and searches, which disconcertingly reveal to faceless bureaucrats our most intimate thoughts and intended actions.