As the administration and the congress sit arguing about their latest manufactured fiscal crisis it is interesting to look back on some earlier manufactured international crises. The two that are inextricably linked in common cause with common players are the Berlin crisis of 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Both involved soviet gambits to threaten the west with the possibility of nuclear annihilation if the did not yield to petulant soviet adventurism. In neither case did the soviets have anything approaching the capability of backing their bluffs – and the American administration knew it – but in both cases it was advantageous from a policy point of view to pretend the soviets were serious adversaries.
By doing so in Berlin the Americans solidified the soviet position behind the iron curtain and doomed another generation in eastern Europe to live under soviet occupation. In Cuba the Americans abandoned forever the practical application of the Monroe doctrine and consigned that nation to imprisonment with Castro as the warden. The further adventures of communism into Nicaragua, Chile and Venezuela are the direct result of the failures of American policy and just as Castro and Chavez thumb their noses at the United States today Mexico continues a drift to the left that began with Cardenas and may see them become our greatest security risk yet.
It would take 20 years from these first two crises for the United States to elect a president who took seriously his oath to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States. In spite of the howling on the left that Ronald Reagan was a war monger there were no great incursions during his administration. Nicaragua was won back through free elections. Chile, having rid itself of Allende, became the model of prosperity in the southern hemisphere. Gorbachev, having nearly been replaced by a coup, was finally brought to heel by someone who knew how to play high stakes poker and effectively ended the cold war.
The symbol of it all – the Berlin Wall whose erection was started in August 1961 – was torn down by the people it was meant to imprison in 1989. Its absence is a greater monument to Ronald Reagan than and statue his predecessors – or successors – have had erected to themselves.
October fury Peter A. Huchthausen United States. Navy History Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley & Sons, c 2002 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. v, 281 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 271-274) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Drama on the high seas as the world holds its breath It was the most spectacular display of brinkmanship in the Cold War era. In October 1962, President Kennedy risked inciting a nuclear war to prevent the Soviet Union from establishing missile bases in Cuba. The risk, however, was far greater than Kennedy realized.
October Fury uncovers startling new information about the Cuban missile crisis and the potentially calamitous confrontation between U.S. Navy destroyers and Soviet submarines in the Atlantic. Peter Huchthausen, who served as a junior ensign aboard one of the destroyers, reveals that a single shot fired by any U.S. warship could have led to an immediate nuclear response from the Soviet submarines.
This riveting account re-creates those desperate days of confrontation from both the American and Russian points of view and discloses detailed information about Soviet operational plans and the secret orders given to submarine commanders. It provides an engrossing, behind-the-scenes look at the technical and tactical functions of two great navies along with stunning portraits of the officers and sailors on both sides who were determined to do their duty even in the most extreme circumstances.