Cuban Missile Crisis AnalysisThe Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most important events in United States history; it’s even easy to say world history because of what some possible outcomes could have been from it.
The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was a major Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Bay of Pigs Invasion the USSR increased its support of Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime, and in the summer of 1962, Nikita Khrushchev secretly decided to install ballistic missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy and the other leaders of our country were faced with a horrible dilemma where a decision had to be made.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara outlined three possible courses of action for the president: “The political course of action” of openly approaching Castro, Khrushchev, and U.S. allies in a gambit to resolve the crisis diplomatically, an option that McNamara and others considered unlikely to succeed; “a course of action that would involve declaration of open surveillance” coupled with “a blockade against offensive weapons entering Cuba”; and “military action directed against Cuba, starting with an air attack against the missiles” (Chang, 2).When U.
S. reconnaissance flights revealed the clandestine construction of missile launching sites, President Kennedy publicly denounced (Oct. 22, 1962) the Soviet actions. The options of taking military action against Cuba and Russia luckily never took place and President Kennedy chose to impose a naval blockade on Cuba and declared that any missile launched from Cuba would warrant a full-scale retaliatory attack by the United States against the Soviet Union. On Oct. 24, Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba turned back, and when Khrushchev agreed (Oct. 28) to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the missile sites, the crisis ended as suddenly as it had begun.
The United States ended its blockade on Nov. 20, and by the end of the year the missiles and bombers were removed from Cuba. The chosen level of analysis and international relation theory to explain this event are the individual-level of analysis and realism. This level of analysis focuses on the individuals that make decisions, the impact of human nature, the behavior of individuals acting in an organization, and how personality and individual experiences impact foreign policy decisions. This level will show how all of these factors played a great role in the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The criteria that will be used to analyze this event are the Cuban citizens’ participation to rebel against their own in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the toughness of the great leader John F. Kennedy and his Executive Committee of the National Security Council, the decision making in crisis by the U.S. leaders, and the crazy leaders that the United States was up against.Realism can be defined as an image of international relations that can be traced back two thousand years.
Realists tend to hold pessimistic views on the likelihood of the transformation of the current world into a more peaceful one, emphasizing the struggle for power among political units each acting in a rational, unitary manner to advance its interests. Realists also tend to believe in stability, value order, and be conflictual. This criterion will hold strong in defining the United States international relations at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.The first aspect of the individual-level analysis to be discussed is the Cuban rebels participation to train with the C.I.A.
in a plan to attack and liberate Cuba from its communist government, known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”. Even though the attack failed, it still showed the realist point of view by the United States. The attack was in relation to the national interest and security the United States was trying to secure, and also showed the conflictual side of our government.
The United States was against all communist parties in the world, and especially against Cuba since it’s right off the coast of Florida and is more of a threat then the communist countries in Europe and Asia. Therefore we used the Cuban rebels so it would seem as if they were just rebelling against their own country. The rebels agreeing to attack their own country showed that they also had a sense of national interest and valued a balance of power in Cuba.
After this event Khrushchev, the Soviet leader said this: “As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, there should be no mistake about our position: We will render the Cuban people and their government all necessary help to repel an armed attack on Cuba.”(Sierra, 6)The next aspect of the individual-level analysis to be discussed is the great leader John F. Kennedy and his Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm). They showed the great aspects of realism with their decision-making, toughness, and resilience throughout the whole Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy showed his National interest by choosing to take action against the Soviet Union and Cuba for having nuclear weapons in Cuba. There was no prior action taken against the U.
S. by either country, but it was a threat to the country that President Kennedy was not going to let take place. The third aspect of the individual-level of analysis is decision making in crisis. This event involved the toughest decision-making by any President in the United States’ history. President Kennedy and his ExComm discussed several courses of action, everything from doing nothing to invading Cuba. After much debate, a naval blockade of the island emerged as the leading choice. The U.
S. leaders showed many realist qualities throughout this crisis. The decision showed a great poise and a sense of National interest by the U.S. leaders. It also had the zero sum game approach since no matter what option the United States chose to do to handle it, the bottom line would be that President Kennedy would not let up until the nuclear weapons were removed from Cuba. A different approach to this event could have led to a disastrous ending for the United States and a possible breakout of World War III with a nuclear battle.
The final aspect of the individual-level of analysis to be discussed in the Cuban Missile Crisis is the irrational leader involved. The two crazy leaders involved were Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev. Castro had a strong dislike towards the United States because of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the embargo that cut off trade between the U.S. and Cuba and Khrushchev was backing up Cuba since Russia was at war with the United States and they were allies with Cuba.
The crazy part from our perspective of rationality comes in to play when Khrushchev began planning to secretly supply Cuba with missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads to most parts of the United States. Khrushchev and Castro hoped to present the United States with a situation where it would have little choice but to accept the already installed missiles. President Kennedy demanded that Khrushchev withdraw the missiles and said that as a first step he was initiating a naval quarantine zone around Cuba, within which U.S.
naval forces would intercept and inspect ships to determine whether they were carrying weapons. Kennedy warned that if Khrushchev fired missiles from Cuba, the result would be “a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”(Goldman, 4) If it wasn’t for the smart, rational decision making by President Kennedy and his staff the world would have went to World War III and possibly would never have been the same again. This analysis explained the Cuban rebels in the Bay of Pigs invasion, the importance of the great leaders of the United States, the important decision making by the U.
S. leaders, and the crazy leaders of the Soviet Union and Cuba. The Cuban missile crisis was a very dangerous episode, bringing the world’s major military powers to the brink of nuclear war. This event was important to world history and to all the main leaders involved. President Kennedy was assassinated shortly after that, but is still regarded as one of the best Presidents in U.
S. history mainly because of how he dealt with that event. Fidel Castro and the country of Cuba are not recognized by the U.S. to this day and are still banned from trade.
The Soviet Union has collapsed since the Cuban Missile Crisis and is now known as Russia. The Soviet Union is no longer a communist government and now gets along well with the United States. The bottom line is that this one event prevented a possibly world wide tragic nuclear war and has greatly affected the way the world is shaped today.