Cuban missile crisis.

Cuban missile crisis.

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Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban missile crisis is well a documented event that brought the United States and the Soviet Union to a near nuclear war in 1962. This was after the Soviet Union deployed ballistic missiles in Cuba, and President John F. Kennedy was not comfortable with the deployment of missiles in Cuba. Kennedy’s administration was not satisfied with the leadership of Fidel Castro in Cuba, and there had been several attempts to intimidate his leadership. Castro confided in Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev that he needed an assistant to tame the United States invasion in his territory. Khrushchev agreed to deploy ballistic missiles to be installed in Cuba, 90 miles from the United States border, which was not taken lightly by Kennedy’s administration.

Deployment of missiles to Cuba sparked a crisis that nearly brought America and the Soviet Union into war. However, analytic research by various scholars indicates that the presence of missiles in Cuba was not a threat to the security of the United States. As Schwarz argues, America had an overwhelming nuclear power compared to the Soviet Union, and the presence of missiles in Cuba could have been thwarted in case a war broke out (2013). Equally, the secretary of defense in the United States in 1962, Robert McNamara is quoted saying that "a missile is a missile it makes no great difference whether you are killed by a missile from the Soviet Union or

Cuba." From the secretaries sentiments, it is clear security of the United States citizens was not a national interest, at least, based on the events that led to the Cuban crisis. Despite the insignificance of deployment of ballistic missiles in Cuba, Kennedy’s administration pushed for their removal. Looking at these events, it is clear that Kennedy’s continuous provocation of Cuba and his involvement in the removal of the missiles that had already been installed was a purely political move. Indeed, McNamara is quoted saying, "I’ll be quite frank. I don’t think there is a military problem here … This is a domestic, political problem." It is important to note that the United States was going into an election that particular year and Kennedy’s failure to remove the missiles from Cuba would have affected his political ambitions. Schwarz further notes that "Indeed, Washington’s self-regard for its credibility was almost certainly the main reason it risked nuclear war over a negligible threat to national security" (2013). looking at the overall circumstances surrounding the Cuban missile crisis, it is clear that the nation’s interest was to assert its authority and communicate to the world that America was indeed a powerful country. They dictated how other countries should undertake their affairs.

Several factors influence the foreign policies of different countries. More often, external factors, including political structures, international laws, alliances, and military strength. The relationship between the United States and Cuba was not good. Indeed, Fidel Castro had complaint that president John F. Kennedy wanted to assassinate him and that his administration was using some other unorthodox means to remove him and his administration from power. At one point, Kennedy’s administration unsuccessfully tried attacking Cuba, which informed Castro to seek assistance from the Soviet Union. The United States had potent weapons, and the Soviet Union and Cuba knew this. Looking at how Kennedy’s administration approached the foreign policy, it is clear that the primary source was from president John F. Kennedy and his administration.

Kennedy’s administration learned about the presence of missiles in Cuba on 12th October 1962, and it took them close to two weeks to solve the incidence. Kennedy’s approach to foreign policies was central to his administration, and he did not care to consult international partners like the United Nations in such a weighty matter. Instead, Kennedy went ahead and issued a threat in a public forum warning that the United States would attack Cuba if ballistic missiles that were being installed were not removed (Lebow et al. 1995). It is important to note that the presence of ballistic missiles in Cuba was not a threat to the security of the United States. However, Kennedy wanted to communicate with the United States’ friends and enemies that the country was still the most powerful nation in the world. Another interesting bit about the Cuban missile crisis is the involvement of Nikita Khrushchev in the negotiations that led to the removal of ballistic missiles in Cuba. It is, however, interesting to note that until recently, nobody knew that there was a secret arrangement for the United States to equally remove their Jupiter Missiles in Turkey, although, with a condition that it remains a secret. The events that led to the removal of missiles from Cuba indicate that although Kennedy’s administration played a more significant role by issuing threats to attack Cuba, it turns out the Soviet’s input also played a part. The principal source of the United States foreign policies was Kennedy’s administration, but equally, the international environment played a significant role (Lebow et al. 1995).

The responsibility of any government across the globe is to protect its people’s interests, and that includes their security. In the United States, for example, the government invests a lot of money in security more than any other nation in the world, to protects the security of the American people. Equally, other countries invest heavily in military weapons in their quest to protect their territory and avert any invasion from enemy countries. During the Cuban missiles crisis, Fidel Castro knew that he did not have the capacity to fight with the United States, and he had to seek assistance from Soviet Union. It is a common practice for countries to enter into security treaties with other friendly nations that have the military capability to protect them in an event where their enemies attack them. Nikita Khrushchev felt obligated to help Cuba from the United States invasion by mounting missiles in Cuba. However, looking at the United States military capacity in 1962, it had the power to destroy Cuba even with the missiles installed in the country. Kennedy’s insistence that they had to remove the missiles was basically because of political reasons and not necessarily the security of the American people (Gavin 2012).

Therefore, this intimates that the presence of nuclear weapons in 1962 was not relevant, and the Cuban missiles crisis was the United States’ creation to assert their authority in global politics. Indeed, Kennedy knew that the presence of missiles in Cuba was irrelevant, and they could not deter them from attacking Cuba if they wanted. Still, he continuously pushed for their removal, nonetheless. Observes of global politics posits that it is through such events that the United States has managed to assert its authority as a global leader. They argue that the presence of missiles was not relevant. Kennedy and his administration would have pursued a more diplomatic way by engaging Cuba and the Soviet Union in a dialogue to resolve the matter. It is even ironic that Kennedy’s administration that was always advocated for peace in other regions across the globe were threatening to attack a small country that could not match its military capability (Gavin 2012).


Gavin, F. J. (2012). Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis. The National Interest Online, 26, 11-36.

Lebow, R. N., & Stein, J. G. (1995). We all lost the Cold War (Vol. 55). Princeton University Press.

Schwarz, B. (2013). The real Cuban missile crisis: everything you think you know about those 13 days is wrong. The Atlantic.