Cuban Missile Crisis Research Paper

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Cuban Missile Crisis: Why we need more balance of power in the world.

Cuban Missile crisis in 1960s may raise a serious political question in retrospect i.e. should America be allowed to exist as the sole superpower and what could be the repercussions of such an existence? Now fifty years or so later, we are in a much better position to answer this question. United States or any other nation for that matter must not work as the sole superpower because it can cause many political upheaval as we recently witnessed. We will discuss the Cuban Missile crisis in detail but first we must establish that American history is fraught with events and wars that were fought on the false belief of America's superiority which made it an imperial power. Examples of these events include the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War and not to mention the current conflict with Iraq. These misadventures highlight a "pattern of racism and imperialism that began with the first Indian war in Virginia in 1622,"

Manifest Destiny and "City on a hill" are concepts that originated from this racist belief.

History is witness to the fact that when America has desired something, no matter how unlawful or unethical its desire was, it has always found a way to justify it. In most cases, this justification is based on the belief that white man is burdened with the job of removing "evil" from the world and usually included some mention of God. It was as if God had ordered white man to remove the others from the planet. As completely unethical, absurd, and faulty these notions might sound; Americans have complacently accepted them and even acted on them. Americans have always suffered from the false assumption that it's their "divine mission" to rule the world and thus the wars and unwanted interference in world affairs.

This syndrome can be traced back to the time of Crusades in 1097 when Merovingian dynasty established its "divine right" to rule.

But it was not just the mob that has bought this notion; many of the American Presidents have included God in their arguments to support a cause. They function with the belief that if God has asked them to do something, they must be carrying out divine orders and that, they believe, should be appreciated. For example in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt tried to encourage people by saying: "We battle for the Lord," he thundered. "We stand at Armageddon."

Similarly during the days of Cold War, Senator Lyndon Johnson was found saying: "We shall, we must, with the guidance of God, embark on this course to redeem humanity and with the righteous strength which centuries of freedom under God have given us, we cannot fail."

American imperialism in the 19th century was based on racism, false sense of superiority and greed and thus "A search for personal and national wealth was put in terms of world progress, under the leadership of a supreme race," observes Reginald Horsman (p. 247) Indian removal was the more blunt form of American imperialism and worked on the idea of ethnic cleansing. Democratic Review editor John L. O'Sullivan first coined the phrase "Manifest Destiny" in 1845. He was an Irish-Catholic who had coined this slogan to explain the emergence of democracy. He was not referring to Anglo-Saxonism or its domination and neither was hinting at that. But unfortunately this slogan was stolen to reflect an intense Anglo-Saxon need for domination and was used by the racist and imperialist powers as a justification for their unethical actions. Manifest Destiny thus became nothing but "a cluster of flimsy rationalizations for naked greed," notes historian George Tindall.

Even in those days, not everyone believed in American imperialism. These people gave birth to Anti-Imperialist League in 1889. These citizens opposed American imperialist initiatives in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

The fact that Cuba has always been a stubborn challenge to the U.S. became evident during the Cuban missile crisis of 1960s. we must mention here that this incident also showed that America could no longer claim sole super power status as Soviet Union was preseting a major threat to its imperialistic domination. That is the reason we need more than one strong forces in the world so we can maintain good balance of power. However with the fall of Soviet Russia, America is only force left in the world that can claim to have all the ingredient needed to become a hyper power someday. We need to better analyze the Cuban missile crisis to see how two major powers of the world stood against each other and came very close to a nuclear war but common sense prevailed and a major disaster was averted. But Cuban crisis gave us many lessons including the lesson on why we need balance of power in the world.

In 1962 the world feared a nuclear holocaust when the United States discovered that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba. Both were great powers and had many global interests. Sometimes these interests clash and can lead onto a full out conflict. Such a conflict was feared by the world and had the two countries clashed, the results would have been disastrous for both. Both were nuclear powers and it leaves little to one's imagination the destruction that could have occurred had both of them used these weapons of mass destruction. At such a point when nations fear a clash they exhaust measures to prevent it from taking place and make sure that all measures are exhausted before opting for a full scale conflict. Both the sides avoided to have a full scale war during the crisis and "everyone is aware that the world did not detonate in nuclear conflagration as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis"

On October 16, 1962, President Kennedy was shown photographs of Cuba taken from a U.S. reconnaissance spy plane. These photographs showed the Soviet troops being busy in building nuclear capable missile sites. The Soviets had installed these missiles only 90 miles away from the coast of the United States. The U.S. armed forces were ready for an invasion and take over of Cuba once they received the approval of President Kennedy. The Soviet Union had given authority to the troops in Cuba to use the nuclear weapons if United States tries to invade Cuban soil. President Kennedy called a high level secret meeting with his advisors and this later came to be knows as the Executive Committee or ExComm. A response was to be devised and this committee had various option which included a full out invasion of Cuba. Another was a bombing strike which was dismissed. Moreover the suggestion of taking this up in the United Nations was also recommended but due to the fact that it would take a lot of time, this proposal was also dropped. "Although United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson proposed international mediation of the crisis, his plans were viewed with contempt by Kennedy."

Not many options were left except for an invasion or using diplomatic means to solve this problem. "When the missile crisis arose, then, his options were limited by his need to appease domestic critics and prove that he was more than a match for the Soviets"

. The members of this committee were "quickly divided into "hawks," who favored early and robust military intervention to solve the problem of the missiles, and "doves," who favored reserving the full use of military force until other tools were applied to the situation"

The first action taken by the Kennedy administration was to quarantine Cuba with the naval fleets to deter the Soviet Union from transporting missiles to Cuba. In the recordings of the Executive Committee meetings it was seen that "General Earle Wheeler, the Army chief of staff, argues that only air strikes, an invasion, and a blockade "will give us increasing assurance that we really have got the offensive capability of the Cuban Soviets cornered"

On 22nd October, Kennedy announced publicly that the U.S. spy plane has captured graphic evidence that Soviet Union was building nuclear capable missile sites in Cuba. He asked the Soviet Union's Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, to remove all such sites and not to keep missiles in Cuba. At this point the tensions increased and many letters were exchanged between the two leaders. "In the exchange of letters between the two superpower leaders, Khrushchev tells Kennedy that he regards the quarantine as "an act of aggression which pushes mankind toward the abyss of a world nuclear missile war"

.The Soviet Union expressed its reason for the build up as purely defensive in nature but the United States wanted Cuba free of any missile sites. The next couple of days were going to decide whether the two nations would go to war or whether all this would be over peacefully. Many diplomatic steps were taken by the Kennedy administration and any military invasion was yet kept as a backup plan and not the…[continue]

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