JEFF Saved the Day President John F. Kennedy was faced with tough decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many of his advisors advocated a military assault on Cuba. With the power of hindsight, we now know that any type of invasion would have led to Cubans retaliating with ready short range nuclear weapons. The theory of brinkmanship and MAD (mutually assured destruction) did not seem to discourage or dissuade the Cubans, particularly Castro.
Jiff’s decision to merely blockade Cuba and seek diplomatic solutions with the USSR proved successful and minimized risk of danger, thus it was the best choice of action. Something had to be done in this situation, but there was, “no obvious or simple solution,” (35). Throughout the Cold War, there was little risk of unprovoked nuclear attack by the USSR. Fidel Castro, however, did not hold such reservations. The fact that Castro was secretly obtaining nuclear arms was a clear and present danger to democracy.
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President JEFF was right to say, “Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift that NY substantially increased possibility of their use or and sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace,” (151 The United States was only 90 miles from sites were nuclear missiles were to be launched from, giving very little reaction time. The worst option for JEFF to choose would be to do nothing, because in past wars we as a nation have learned that aggressive conduct allowed to continue unchecked leads to war.
JEFF did understand this, and as REF mentioned, “He as convinced from the beginning that he would have to do something” (26). The initially popular choice, an air strike, was too much of an offensive action in this tentative situation. In hindsight, it is evident that if the United States attempted an air strike, Cuba would have retaliated with any ready nuclear missiles. “An air strike could simply not be surgical,” therefore, Cubans would have at least a few nuclear weapons to retaliate with, and it wouldn’t take many to show what a mistake an air strike was (123).
Also, REF points out that an air strike on Cuba was morally wrong, because it would be viewed as another Pearl Harbor, only JEFF would be Togo. The resulting resolution to blockade Cuba was not nearly a perfect choice. Even four days after the United States blockaded Cuba, U-2 spy planes were still observing construction of missile sites. “No evidence indicating that there is any intention to dismantle or discontinue work on these missile sites. On the contrary, the Soviets are rapidly continuing their construction of missile purport and launch facilities and serious attempts are under way to camouflage their efforts,” (156).
The President was running a risk by not immediately removing the offensive weapons from Cuba, and the results could have been disastrous. The blockade, however, was the best choice because it let us remain maximum control of the situation, did not involve any battles, resulted in no nukes being dropped, and the problem was solved diplomatically. Considering JEFF and his Executive Committee only took thirteen days to work the crisis out, they did a admirable job.