And the themes remained alive and well right through Reagan's vicious terror wars in Central America in the s. The "political subversion" consisted of support for those resisting the murderous assaults of the US and its client regimes, and sometimes — horror of horrors — perhaps even providing arms to the victims. The Monroe Doctrine announced the US intention, then unrealizable, of dominating the western hemisphere. An example of great contemporary import is revealed in Iran scholar Ervand Abrahamian's important recent study of the US-UK coup that overthrew the parliamentary regime of Iran in With scrupulous examination of internal records, he shows convincingly that standard accounts cannot be sustained.
The primary causes were not cold war concerns, nor Iranian irrationality that undermined Washington's "benign intentions", nor even access to oil or profits, but rather the demand for "overall controls" with the broader implications for global dominance, threatened by independent nationalism.
That is what we discover over and over by investigating particular cases. Cuba, too, not surprisingly — though the fanaticism might merit examination in this case. US policy towards Cuba is harshly condemned throughout Latin America, and indeed most of the world, but "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind" is understood to be meaningless rhetoric intoned mindlessly on 4 July. Ever since polls have been taken on the matter, a considerable majority of the US population has favored normalization of relations with Cuba, but that, too, is insignificant.
Dismissal of public opinion is, of course, quite normal. What is interesting in this case is dismissal of powerful sectors of US economic power, which also favor normalization, and are usually highly influential in setting policy: energy, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals and others. That suggests that there is a powerful state interest involved in punishing Cubans, as well as the cultural factors revealed in the hysteria of the Camelot intellectuals.
The missile crisis officially ended on 28 October. The outcome was not obscure. That evening, in a special CBS News broadcast, Charles Collingwood reported that the world had come out "from under the most terrible threat of nuclear holocaust since the second world war", with a "humiliating defeat for Soviet policy".
Dobbs comments that the Russians tried to pretend that the outcome was "yet another triumph for Moscow's peace-loving foreign policy over warmongering imperialists", as "the supremely wise, always reasonable Soviet leadership had saved the world from the threat of nuclear destruction. The crisis, however, was not over. On 8 November, the Pentagon announced that all known Soviet missile bases had been dismantled. And on the same day, Stern reports, "a sabotage team carried out an attack on a Cuban factory," though Kennedy's terror campaign, Operation Mongoose, had been formally curtailed at the peak of the crisis.
The 8 November terror attack lends support to Bundy's observation that the threat to peace was Cuba, not Turkey — where the Russians were not continuing a lethal assault.
Not, however, what Bundy had in mind, or could have understood. More details are added by the highly respected scholar Raymond Garthoff, who also had a great deal of experience within the government, in his careful account of the missile crisis. On 8 November, he writes , "a Cuban covert action sabotage team dispatched from the United States successfully blew up a Cuban industrial facility," killing workers, according to a Cuban government letter to the UN Secretary General. Garthoff comments that "the Soviets could only see [the attack] as an effort to backpedal on what was, for them, the key question remaining: American assurances not to attack Cuba," particularly since the terrorist attack was launched from the US.
These and other "third-party actions" reveal again, he concludes, "that the risk and danger to both sides could have been extreme, and catastrophe not excluded. From the same source we learn further that on 23 August , the president had issued National Security Memorandum No , "a directive to engineer an internal revolt that would be followed by US military intervention", involving "significant US military plans, maneuvers, and movement of forces and equipment" that were surely known to Cuba and Russia.
Also in August, terrorist attacks were intensified, including speedboat strafing attacks on a Cuban seaside hotel "where Soviet military technicians were known to congregate, killing a score of Russians and Cubans"; attacks on British and Cuban cargo ships; contaminating sugar shipments; and other atrocities and sabotage, mostly carried out by Cuban exile organizations permitted to operate freely in Florida.
Shortly after came "the most dangerous moment in human history", not exactly out of the blue. Kennedy officially renewed the terrorist operations after the crisis ebbed. Ten days before his assassination, he approved a CIA plan for "destruction operations" by US proxy forces "against a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities, and underwater demolition of docks and ships".
A plot to assassinate Castro was apparently initiated on the day of the Kennedy assassination. The terrorist campaign was called off in , but "one of Nixon's first acts in office in was to direct the CIA to intensify covert operations against Cuba," Garthoff reports.
In the current issue of Political Science Quarterly , Montague Kern observes that the Cuban missile crisis is one of those "full-bore crises … in which an ideological enemy the Soviet Union is universally perceived to have gone on the attack, leading to a rally-'round-the-flag effect that greatly expands support for a president, increasing his policy options. Kern is, in fact, one of them. Another is Sheldon Stern, who recognizes what has long been known to such deviants. As he writes, we now know that:.
That is far from the truth. The best and the brightest had reacted to the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion with near hysteria, including the president, who solemnly informed the country that:. Only the strong … can possibly survive. And they can only survive, he evidently believed, by massive terror — though that addendum was kept secret, and is still not known to loyalists who perceive the ideological enemy as having "gone on the attack" — the near-universal perception, as Kern observes.
After the Bay of Pigs defeat, historian Piero Gleijeses writes that JFK launched a crushing embargo to punish the Cubans for defeating a US-run invasion, and "asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to lead the top-level interagency group that oversaw Operation Mongoose, a program of paramilitary operations, economic warfare and sabotage he launched in late to visit the 'terrors of the earth' on Fidel Castro and, more prosaically, to topple him.
The phrase "terrors of the earth" is Arthur Schlesinger's, in his quasi-official biography of Robert Kennedy, who was assigned responsibility to conduct the terrorist war, and informed the CIA that the Cuban problem carries "the top priority in the United States Government — all else is secondary — no time, no effort, or manpower is to be spared" in the effort to overthrow the Castro regime. The Mongoose operations were run by Edward Lansdale, who had ample experience in "counterinsurgency" — a standard term for terrorism that we direct.
He provided a timetable leading to "open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime" in October The "final definition" of the program recognized that "final success will require decisive US military intervention," after terrorism and subversion had laid the basis. The implication is that US military intervention would take place in October — when the missile crisis erupted.
The events just reviewed help explain why Cuba and Russia had good reason to take such threats seriously. Years later, Robert McNamara recognized that Cuba was justified in fearing an attack. As for Russia's "desperate effort to give the USSR the appearance of equality", to which Stern refers, recall that Kennedy's very narrow victory in the election relied heavily on a fabricated "missile gap" concocted to terrify the country and to condemn the Eisenhower administration as soft on national security.
There was indeed a "missile gap", but strongly in favor of the US. The first "public, unequivocal administration statement" on the true facts, according to strategic analyst Desmond Ball in his authoritative study of the Kennedy missile program, was in October , when Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric informed the Business Council that "the US would have a larger nuclear delivery system left after a surprise attack than the nuclear force which the Soviet Union could employ in its first strike.
The Russians, of course, were well aware of their relative weakness and vulnerability.
They were also aware of Kennedy's reaction when Khrushchev offered to sharply reduce offensive military capacity and proceeded to do so unilaterally when Kennedy failed to respond: namely, Kennedy undertook a huge armaments program. The two most crucial questions about the missile crisis are how it began, and how it ended.
It began with Kennedy's terrorist attack against Cuba, with a threat of invasion in October It ended with the president's rejection of Russian offers that would seem fair to a rational person, but were unthinkable because they would undermine the fundamental principle that the US has the unilateral right to deploy nuclear missiles anywhere, aimed at China or Russia or anyone else, and right on their borders; and the accompanying principle that Cuba had no right to have missiles for defense against what appeared to be an imminent US invasion.
To establish these principles firmly, it was entirely proper to face a high risk of war of unimaginable destruction, and to reject simple, and admittedly fair, ways to end the threat. Garthoff observes that "in the United States, there was almost universal approbation for President Kennedy's handling of the crisis. The events of October are widely hailed as Kennedy's finest hour.
Graham Allison joins many others in presenting them as "a guide for how to defuse conflicts, manage great-power relationships, and make sound decisions about foreign policy in general". In a very narrow sense, that judgment seems reasonable. The ExComm tapes reveal that the president stood apart from others, sometimes almost all others, in rejecting premature violence. There is, however, a further question: how should JFK's relative moderation in management of the crisis be evaluated against the background of the broader considerations just reviewed?
But that question does not arise in a disciplined intellectual and moral culture, which accepts without question the basic principle that the US effectively owns the world by right, and is, by definition, a force for good despite occasional errors and misunderstandings, so that it is plainly entirely proper for the US to deploy massive offensive force all over the world, while it is an outrage for others allies and clients apart to make even the slightest gesture in that direction, or even to think of deterring the threatened use of violence by the benign global hegemon.
That doctrine is the primary official charge against Iran today: it might pose a deterrent to US and Israeli force. It was a consideration during the missile crisis as well. In internal discussion, the Kennedy brothers expressed their fears that Cuban missiles might deter a US invasion of Venezuela then under consideration.
The principles still contribute to the constant risk of nuclear war. There has been no shortage of severe dangers since the missile crisis.
Introduction The Cuban Missile Crisis was an event occurred in October when Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this. The conclusion of the missile crisis was absolute proof that the USAs The consequences of the Cuban missile crisis signaled the beginning of a period known.
Ten years later, during the Israel-Arab war, Henry Kissinger called a high-level nuclear alert Defcon 3 to warn the Russians to keep hands off while he was secretly authorizing Israel to violate the ceasefire imposed by the US and Russia. When Reagan came into office a few years later, the US launched operations probing Russian defenses and simulating air and naval attacks, while placing Pershing missiles in Germany with a five-minute flight time to Russian targets, providing what the CIA called a "super-sudden first strike" capability.
Naturally, this caused great alarm in Russia, which, unlike the US, has repeatedly been invaded and virtually destroyed. That led to a major war scare in There have been hundreds of cases when human intervention aborted a first strike minutes before launch, after automated systems gave false alarms. We don't have Russian records, but there's no doubt that their systems are far more accident-prone. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan have come close to nuclear war several times, and the sources of the conflict remain. Both have refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty, along with Israel, and have received US support for development of their nuclear weapons programs — until today, in the case of India, now a US ally.
War threats in the Middle East, which might become reality very soon, once again escalate the dangers. In , war was avoided by Khrushchev's willingness to accept Kennedy's hegemonic demands. But we can hardly count on such sanity forever.
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