Dear Readers: We are now entering the time period marking the 50th anniversary of the Missile Crisis. Fellow SLOB and military history expert Barry C. Jacobson will be joining Silvio Canto Jr. and myself on Canto Talk this Thursday (7 pm PST/9 pm CT/10 pm EST) to review the events of this historic superpower confrontation.
For the United States, the crisis began on October 15, 1962 when reconnaissance photographs revealed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. Early the next day, President John Kennedy was informed of the missile installations. Kennedy immediately organized the EX-COMM, a group of his twelve most important advisors to handle the crisis. After seven days of guarded and intense debate within the upper echelons of government, Kennedy concluded to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba. He wished to prevent the arrival of more Soviet offensive weapons on the island. On October 22, Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island. He also proclaimed that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union and demanded that the Soviets remove all of their offensive weapons from Cuba.
During the public phase of the Crisis, tensions began to build on both sides. Kennedy eventually ordered low-level reconnaissance missions once every two hours. On the 25th Kennedy pulled the quarantine line back and raised military readiness to DEFCON 2. Then on the 26th EX-COMM heard from Khrushchev in an impassioned letter. He proposed removing Soviet missiles and personnel if the U.S. would guarantee not to invade Cuba. October 27 was the worst day of the crisis. A U-2 was shot down over Cuba and EX-COMM received a second letter from Khrushchev demanding the removal of U.S. missiles in Turkey in exchange for Soviet missiles in Cuba. Attorney General Robert Kennedy suggested ignoring the second letter and contacted Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to tell him of the U.S. agreement with the first.
Tensions finally began to ease on October 28 when Khrushchev announced that he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers be removed from Cuba, and specifying the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba.
Interestingly, there have been several great pieces about how Islamic extremism has its roots in Soviet ideology. However, there is a BIG DIFFERENCE — the Soviets did not strive for martyrdom while killing the enemy, so tactics like Mutually Assured Destruction worked. With the Islamic fanatic leaders…not so much.
As a side note, as Silvio is an immigrant from Cuba, this anniversary touches him personally. He specifically recommends the following links:
- Babalu Blog – Bombshell (but old news to most Cubans)
Besides the debacle that is now Libya, Hillary Clinton will perhaps be remembered best for the the infamous “reset” diplomacy fiasco: Gaffe Alert: Hillary Clinton’s “Reset” Gift Backfires; Instead of “Resetting” Relations; US To “Overcharge” Russians
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.
She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.
“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.
“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.
Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”
Clinton and Lavrov laughed.
Goggle Translate offered the following translation — perhaps I can now draw some pay from the State Department?
It seems the only one not Laughing is Russian Leader and former KGB head, Vladimir Putin: Vladimir Putin has snubbed both the Prince of Wales and the US vice-president, Joe Biden, by refusing to allow them to attend a parade in Red Square marking the 65th anniversary of the end of the second world war, the Guardian has learned.
Hard to argue the man’s good taste!
And he has been busy promoting his country’s own interests, too!
Russia announces it will withdraw from a post-Cold War deal to dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons when it expires next year. Is this what President Obama meant by a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations?
The so-called Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which had been renewed twice by the U.S. and Russia, was a major post-Cold War success.
It led to the deactivation of more than 7,650 strategic warheads from the old Soviet Union, and seemed to put the former USSR onto a far more peaceful path. It helped seal President Reagan’s hard-won U.S. victory in the Cold War against its former foe.
But after four years of Obama’s weak stewardship of our nation’s national security, the Russians are saying “nyet” to renewing the deal in 2013. It’s easy to see why.
Everywhere they look, they see U.S. weakness and a failure to respond to overt provocations by others.
As Georgians head to the polls Monday, analysts are warning that rising tensions could boil over just as the Russian military is conducting exercises near the de facto border line, a situation the Georgia government is worried Moscow could exploit.
“We hope it will be made clear to Russia that a military invasion into Georgia with the goal of destroying Georgia’s sovereignty, which is still the goal of the Kremlin, will have a huge at minimum political price for Russia in its relationship with Western powers,” Georgia’s National Security Advisor Giga Bokeria told The Cable in a phone interview from Tbilisi.
The European Union’s monitoring mission, which patrols the administrative boundary between Georgia and the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhasia and South Ossetia, noted in its most recent report that while the observers saw no movement of military equipment on the Georgian side that could be perceived as instigating an attack, the Russian forces on the other side of the boundary line are increasing.
“The Mission has raised its concerns about this activity with the relevant Russian command structures,” their report stated.
Ukraine and the Sword of Vladimir: Watching old-school power politics unfold is a fascinating activity, and no better example can be found than those played by Russia and Vladimir Putin. The current maneuvering with respect to Ukraine harkens back to the Cold War days with a decidedly modern twist – i.e. energy supplies, and in particular natural gas.
Below shows is the kind of attitude that is going to inspire Russia to shower us with even more love:
To end this post on an upbeat note, the Goddess is pleased to share a favorite scene from her very favorite James Bond movie: