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Cuban Missile Crisis


  • Originally published 10/18/2012

    Noam Chomsky and the Cuban Missile Crisis

    President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in an ExComm meeting during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. Credit: White House.Noam Chomsky’s October 15 TomDispatch article (cross-posted on HNN) on the Cuban missile crisis quotes extensively from my work. Unfortunately, he also distorts the historical record and decontextualizes my conclusions. His insistence that the crisis was actually about U.S. “ownership of the world” tell us little or nothing about how real people behaved in real circumstances in October 1962.Several of Chomsky’s key contentions require additional discussion:

  • Originally published 10/10/2012

    What If Nixon Had Been President During the Cuban Missile Crisis?

    Credit: Flickr/Wikimedia Commons/HNN.Fifty years ago this month, the world got lucky. With a show of force and a secret trade, President John F. Kennedy persuaded Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to dismantle a clandestine nuclear missile base the U.S. had discovered in Cuba without a single shot -- or missile -- being fired.Ever since, scholars, statesmen and academics have plumbed the Cuban Missile Crisis for lessons about leadership, nuclear weapons and international relations, focusing on the possible miscalculations or accidents that could have sparked World War III during those tense thirteen days in 1962.But these what-if scenarios leave out the most revealing counterfactual of all: Would there have been war without Kennedy as president?

  • Originally published 06/13/2012

    Robert Caro and the Mythical Cuban Missile Crisis

    The editor-in-chief of HNN, Rick Shenkman, asked me recently if I would write a critique of the account of the Cuban missile crisis in Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power, Volume 4 of his authoritative biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. Shenkman felt that Caro had utilized “myths that you debunked years ago on HNN” -- and, unfortunately, he was right.

  • Originally published 07/27/2008

    The Reflections of JFK’s Closest Advisor, Ted Sorensen (Interview)

    For the past four decades, Ted Sorensen has led a distinguished career in international law.  Despite his many achievements as an attorney, however, he is best known as the closest advisor to Pres. John F. Kennedy—and is seen by many commentators as the greatest American presidential speechwriter. 

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