October Surprise! Most Of What You Read About the Cuban Missile Crisis is Wrong.
Foreign Policy Stopped at the Water's Edge
Sixty one years ago this week, the Cuban missile crisis, so we are regularly told, brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon, a global holocaust from which we were saved only by the unblinking resolve of President John F. Kennedy, as well as an extraordinary stroke of luck. The outcome was a triumph for American diplomacy, because, in the words of then Secretary of State, “the other side blinked.”
But the official story is fundamentally wrong, because it neglects the most important factor affecting the crisis and its outcome. As is almost invariably the case in issues of foreign policy, the decision-makers, Kennedy and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, were guided by domestic political concerns.
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