CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS WAS NOT A TRIUMPH OF U.S. BRINKSMANSHIP
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, articles are appearing in newspapers & online attacking the traditional or conventional view of the event.
In today’s & following posts, JFK+50 will review several of these articles & give our take on this revisionism.
In today’s KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL, Sunday, October 14, 2012, an article titled “Cuban missile crisis misconceptions endure” by Peter Orsi of Associated Press appears.
There are 3 misconceptions which Mr. Orsi identifies*:
1. The crisis was a triumph of U.S. brinksmanship.
2. Washington won, Moscow lost.
3. The crisis lasted just 13 days.
*There are 2 other misconceptions identified in the online version:
4. It was a high-seas showdown
5. It was an intelligence coup for the CIA
JFK+50 will discuss today the 1st misconception.
THE CRISIS WAS A TRIUMPH OF BRINKSMANSHIP
Brinksmanship is a term coined by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to describe the policy of the administration of President Eisenhower of pushing the threat of the use of nuclear weapons to the limit.
Orsi’s argument is that the Kennedy administration, in reality, used “backdoor diplomacy,” rather than brinksmanship to resolve the crisis.
We do not discount the argument that backdoor diplomacy, unknown to the public at the time, played an important role in the resolution of this crisis, but JFK+50 does believe the classification of JFK’s policy as being one of brinksmanship, in & of itself, is inaccurate as applied to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
To support this, we will take a look at JFK’s speech of October 22, 1962. He said:
“Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation (in Cuba)…to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.
This secret, swift, (&) extraordinary buildup…is a deliberately provocative & unjustifiable change in the status quo.
Our policy has been one of patience & restraint…but now…action is required.
We will not…unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war…but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.”
These words clearly show that JFK is taking action in response to the Soviet threat to the United States & the Western Hemisphere.
And the action he announces is one of “restraint.”
JFK made the decision, after consultation with the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EXCOMM), to set up a military blockade or quarantine around the island of Cuba.
While this blockade would provide the US the opportunity to block further shipments of nuclear weapons to Cuba, it would also give the Soviets time to reconsider their position.
The decision to set up a quarantine of Cuba then, in our opinion, cannot be classified as one of brinksmanship.
The use of the term, in this case, gives the impression that JFK was backing Mr. Khrushchev into a corner with threats of nuclear attack rather than giving him time & space to resolve the crisis.
PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR MORE POSTS ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS