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Cuban Missile Crisis Analysis

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Cuban Missile Crisis Analysis

The 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

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