Military Review

The myth that distorted US foreign policy for half a century ("Foreign Policy", USA)

John Kennedy’s actions in the time of the Caribbean Crisis

Skillful actions of US President John F. Kennedy during the Caribbean crisis, which flared up exactly 50 years ago, have been elevated to the rank of the central myth of the Cold War. It is being built on the thesis that Kennedy, thanks to the military superiority of the United States and his steel will, forced the Soviet Prime Minister Khrushchev to capitulate and remove the missiles secretly stationed there from Cuba. As Secretary of State Dean Rusk said pathetically, America and the Soviets "looked into each other's eyes," and the Soviets "blinked first." According to the myth, Khrushchev lost everything, and Kennedy did not give up anything. Thus, the end of the crisis was the undivided triumph of America and the unconditional defeat of the USSR.

Naturally, the Kennedy victory in the battle of the Cold War, ambiguous both in its course and in its results, became a guide for American foreign policy. She deified military power and willpower, without putting diplomacy of mutual concessions into anything. She set the standard of rigidity and risky confrontation with villains, which was simply impossible to comply with - if only because this victory was not.

Of course, Americans have long been inherent in the rejection of compromises with the devils, but they have been compromising every now and then. President Harry Truman even suggested that Communist Moscow participate in the Marshall Plan. His secretary of state, Dean Acheson, later asserted that it was possible to deal with the Communists only by creating “positions of power” for themselves. And it was more or less the case until the Caribbean crisis, when Kennedy hypertrophied the force factor, and his successors were forced to resist even more compromise with these devils.

The perception of the Caribbean crisis - that Kennedy achieved success without retreating a single inch - was strengthened in political thinking and debate, both public and private. It manifests itself today, half a century later, in anxiety over concessions to Iran over its nuclear weapons or the Taliban in the context of their role in Afghanistan. American leaders do not like to compromise, and this is largely due to the reinforced misunderstanding of those 13 days in October 1962 of the year.

In fact, the crisis did not end in a fiasco of Soviet diplomacy, but in mutual concessions. The Soviets withdrew their missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise by the United States not to invade Fidel Castro Island and remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. For reasons that seem obvious, the Kennedy clan has been keeping the Jupiter agreement a secret for almost twenty years and even then presented it as something unimportant. Scholars such as Graham Allison of Harvard University have been telling the truth for years, but their efforts rarely influenced public debates or meetings at the White House on decisive opposition to America’s enemies.

From the very beginning, the Kennedy people did everything possible to conceal the concession on the Jupiter. It began at a meeting of the brother of the President, Attorney General Robert Kennedy on October 27 with the USSR Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, at which the plan "Jupiter" in exchange for Soviet missiles was presented. He told Dobrynin: we will remove “Jupiter”, but this is not part of the deal and is not subject to disclosure. The Soviets removed their missiles, the United States removed the Jupiters, and the secret was kept 16 for years, until a short paragraph appeared in Arthur Schlesinger’s book that few people paid attention to.

Four years later, Kennedy's top advisers published an article in Time on the 20 anniversary of the crisis, which recognized the point of agreement concerning Jupiter. However, they did it in such a way as to diminish its importance, saying that Kennedy had already decided to remove the Jupiters from Turkey. Then, completely contradicting themselves, they recognized that the secrecy that surrounded that part of the deal that concerned “Jupiter” was so important that any leak “would have a devastating effect on the security of the United States and its allies.”

These Kennedy advisers were so faithful to their myth of triumph that most of them continued to spread it, although they themselves had long acted contrary to him. Most of them began to oppose the war in Vietnam, which Kennedy would have continued to lead, if not for the attempt. All of them began to be skeptical about the value of military power and military confrontation and became prominent supporters of the diplomatic compromise.

However, it was only in 1988 that one of them clearly and clearly recognized that for several decades he was hypocritical and the price of this hypocrisy was high. In his book Danger and Survival, Kennedy’s national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, lamented: “This kind of secrecy had its costs. Keeping guarantees for Jupiter in secret, we disoriented our colleagues, compatriots, successors and other allies, "forcing them to come to the erroneous conclusion that" that Saturday it was enough to maintain firmness. " 26 years passed, but it remained in force.

It is amazing that the Russians did not reveal the truth much earlier. Arranged at a good time after the withdrawal of "Jupiter" leak could give Moscow two things. First of all, история the exchange of concessions would call into question the version of the complete defeat of the Russians. It doesn’t matter that Kennedy was already planning to disable the Jupiters and replace them with submarines with Polaris missiles on board.

Secondly, it would cause considerable turmoil in NATO, where it would be perceived as a betrayal of Turkey. Robert Kennedy even told Dobrynin that these fears were for him the main reason why the deal should remain a mystery. Dobrynin telegraphed Bobby’s words to Moscow: “If such a decision were announced now, it would seriously split NATO.” After the withdrawal of "Jupiter" Moscow could deliver such a blow. We can assume that the Soviets would be delighted with this opportunity.

Dobrynin fully realized how this myth negates the readiness of the United States to compromise. He told me about this at the end of 1970, when I worked at the State Department. However, he did not publicly announce this until the publication of his memoirs in 1995. “If Khrushchev had arranged [the leak], the resolution of the crisis would not necessarily be perceived as such an inglorious retreat.”

Why then didn’t the Soviets leak? It is likely - and even most likely it was so - that Khrushchev and his politburo never considered the possibility of a leak, because they could not know how the crisis would be presented afterwards - how weak they would look. On the day when the crisis reached a crescendo, even before he learned that Kennedy would offer to bring out the “Jupiter”, Khrushchev was ready to give up. He told colleagues that the Soviet Union "came face to face with the danger of war and a nuclear catastrophe that could destroy the human race." He did not think about "Jupiter"; he wanted to finish this story as soon as possible and sought to convince his colleagues that the promises of the United States not to invade would be enough to protect the power and prestige of the Soviet Union.

To test this conjecture, I contacted three of the living people who are most likely to know the truth: Sergei Khrushchev (Nikita’s son), Anatoly Gromyko (Andrei’s son, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union during the Caribbean crisis) and Alexander (Sasha ") The Immortals (who at the time of the crisis was an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and later - the Minister). Everyone supported this theory, although they admitted that they did not know what exactly Khrushchev had on his mind. The Soviet leaders, they said, truly feared the US invasion of Cuba. None of them were embarrassed by my argument that at the time of the crisis the likelihood of such an invasion was zero. After the fiasco of operations in the Bay of Pigs in US political circles, this idea would have caused laughter. None of them admitted that information leakage was necessary to save the reputation of the Soviet Union. However, later on in the course of the conversation, each of them nevertheless admitted that if the exchange were known, it would have benefited the image of the Soviet Union.

While at 1989 in Moscow at a conference on the crisis, speechwriter and confidant Kennedy Ted Sorensen (Ted Sorensen) praised Thirteen Days as a precise chronicle of events. He was interrupted by Dobrynin, who said that the book does not mention “Jupiter”, to which Sorensen declared that Dobrynin was right, but at the time the deal was still “secret”. “So I decided to remove it from the text,” he said.

And the reporters covering the event decided not to record this exchange with remarks. The theme of "Jupiter" rarely surfaced in extensive foreign policy discussions in subsequent years. Moreover, the compromise is mentioned so rarely that the journalist Fred Kaplan (Fred Kaplan) was forced to interpret this point in his recent review of the latest book by Robert Caro about President Lyndon Johnson. Caro, with all his care, relied on sources praising Kennedy’s determination, and did not mention Jupiter.

For politicians, the idea of ​​a compromise, as a rule, does not delight - especially when it comes to US foreign policy. The myth of the Caribbean crisis has strengthened arrogance. Myth, not reality, became the yardstick of negotiating with opponents. Everyone was afraid of becoming a new Adlai Stevenson, whom Kennedy, their advisers, and their enemies had discredited for openly proposing a deal with Jupiter.

It cannot be said that Washingtonians vied to declare their desire to act according to the myth of a missile crisis, but it was an important part of the city’s life from the beginning of 1960 to 1990, as evidenced by both newspaper articles and conversations with friends. Few people wanted to be substituted, offering even soft compromises with opponents. When we (I then worked at the Pentagon) after the Tet offensive of 1968, on behalf of President Johnson, compiled a famous analysis of US policy in Vietnam “from A to Z”, we were not even allowed to consider possible options for a compromise with Hanoi. And there is no doubt that, at last, only such an avid cold blood drinker as Richard Nixon could leave Vietnam.

In order to offer compromises on negotiations on arms control with Moscow, it took uncommon courage. Even treaties on the trivial reduction of nuclear forces on both sides caused fierce battles in Congress. It is open today to admit that Iran can, under strict control, enrich uranium to militarily insignificant 5 percent — political suicide, although such enrichment is permitted by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And, although the Barack Obama team is negotiating with the Taliban movement, its demands are so absolute - the Taliban must lay down their arms and adopt the Kabul constitution - that no serious exchange of concessions is possible. If all this were serious, the White House should at least entice the Taliban with the prospect of the division of power.

For too long, US foreign policy has focused on threats and confrontation and minimized the role of compromise. Yes, a compromise is not always a decision, and sometimes a completely wrong decision. But politicians of all stripes should be able to openly and without fear explore the possibility of compromise, comparing it with alternatives. Compromises are unsuccessful, and in such cases, presidents can increase their threats or even use force. But they need to remember that even the adamant Kennedy found a compromise solution to the Caribbean crisis - and the compromise bore fruit.

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  1. bairat
    bairat 13 October 2012 07: 15
    I once read that at the very height of the crisis, when Amer’s planes were flying literally over the heads of the island’s defenders, and instructions were sent from Moscow not to shoot and not give in to provocations, the Soviet captain freaked out one plane and that’s all, American planes were no longer seen there. Really no?
    1. omsbon
      omsbon 13 October 2012 07: 57
      True, shot down, much has been written about this.
      Our diplomacy has always been excessively decent. We "do not finish off the wounded, do not kick the fallen", etc. In the West, there is another criterion, from the victory you need to extract the maximum benefit and benefit for yourself, while spitting on everything and everyone.
      1. ughhh
        ughhh 13 October 2012 12: 06
        Because they think in numbers. Mind, no.
      2. alexng
        alexng 13 October 2012 12: 14
        Well, the article once again proves that the well-being of the United States is built on a lie, and only in a lie does this "well-being" exist.
      3. Dasha
        Dasha 14 October 2012 01: 59
        Tell this to the Cossacks who (including children, wives, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers) were issued to UK Stalin at the request of "excessively decent", after the Second World War and who rotted in the gulag.
      4. alfa-typ
        alfa-typ 16 October 2012 17: 40
        Quote: omsbon

        Our diplomacy has always been excessively decent. We "do not finish off the wounded, do not kick the fallen", etc. In the west, there is another criterion, from the victory you need to extract the maximum benefit and benefit for yourself, while spitting on everything and everyone.

        That is why the West must respond with the same coin. The enemy must be beaten so that he does not rise, whether it is a hot war or a cold one. We are with excess decency we risk the future of our children and the fatherland!
    2. alfa-typ
      alfa-typ 15 October 2012 23: 25
      Quote: bairat
      It is amazing that the Russians did not reveal the truth much earlier. Arranged at a good time after the withdrawal of the Jupiters, the leak could have given Moscow two things. First, the story of the exchange of concessions would call into question the version of the complete defeat of the Russians. It doesn’t matter that Kennedy was already about to disable the Jupiters and replace them with submarines with Polaris missiles on board.

      Secondly, it would cause considerable turmoil in NATO, where it would be perceived as a betrayal of Turkey. Robert Kennedy even told Dobrynin that these fears were for him the main reason why the deal should remain a mystery. Dobrynin telegraphed Bobby’s words to Moscow: “If such a decision were announced now, it would seriously split NATO.” After the withdrawal of "Jupiter" Moscow could deliver such a blow. We can assume that the Soviets would be delighted with this opportunity.

      Yes, it is really amazing, instead of fighting the West in the information war and delivering sensitive blows to it, the leaders of the USSR played dignity and tried to build personal friendly relations with the American presidents. Also, sorry for the expression, the bastard Gorbachev was counting on personal friendship with Bush and Kol, I did not understand that there is no friendship in politics but only national interests. And he did not calculate that in the west the leaders change every four / eight years and Russophobia remains.
      Now, from those simulated friendships and promises of eternal friendship and non-expansion of NATO, there is no trace left.
      I live in Germany and every day I observe in the local media and politicians' expressions contempt and almost undisguised hatred of Russia.
      During the times of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, Russians in the West, although they did not like, were respected and feared, now only contempt and hatred remained.
  2. crazyrom
    crazyrom 13 October 2012 07: 44
    It is not surprising that this myth about Kennedy was invented, propaganda with us was bad, Stalin was doused with dirt above the roof and everyone believed it, but what about Kennedy was surprised. Nothing, slowly myths disappear, we learn all the truth.
    1. arkady149
      arkady149 14 October 2012 12: 48
      Quote: crazyrom
      . Nothing, slowly myths disappear, we learn the whole truth
      But unfortunately then, when either later something changes, or we become indifferent to it.
  3. Normal
    Normal 13 October 2012 08: 08
    To begin with, the amers themselves are devils and we are far from them in this respect.
    Why is it not surprising that we are losing precisely in the field of propaganda. And we are losing chronically. Americans, Europeans, Japanese and Chechens.
    What prevented our politicians from demanding, in response to the classification of the Jupiter withdrawal, to classify the withdrawal of our missiles from Cuba? Amer would not agree? Why did we agree and give them a powerful propaganda trump card?
    It is characteristic that the article cites such people as Sergei Khrushchev (now a US citizen), “Sasha” Bessmertnykh (Gorbachev’s foreign minister) and Anatoly Gromyko as “witnesses”. All these people are US agents and agents of influence. Naturally, they will support the point of view favorable to amers.
    And so, why do we lose the information-ideological war? In my opinion, the reason is as old as the world. Cadres decide everything! And we have nepotism and patronage in everything. As a result, at key posts, the cheeky, mediocre approvers of a known nationality all their talent and merits are the ability to lick on time and the patronage of fellow tribesmen.
    1. bask
      bask 13 October 2012 08: 55
      Yes, everything can’t be reduced by 10k. Only one clarification. Amerovskaya propaganda in Russia is conducted from POT. What cartoons do modern children watch? Are the Russians good, about Cheburashka? There is no 100% Amerovsk brainwashing products since childhood. That's the result!
      1. Normal
        Normal 13 October 2012 09: 13
        Quote: bask
        Amerovskaya propaganda in Russia is conducted WITH POT

        Of course! Only who determines the broadcast policy? All the same agents of influence for which the western way of life is an ideal.
        1. bask
          bask 13 October 2012 13: 10
          Who, keys, from the Pandora’s box in the Russian media? The same as in the USA By nationality. ,, Cosmopolitans and universal people, They don’t need people on earth. NEED CYBORGIES. For work. !!! And they already imagine themselves ,, masters ,,, of the earth.
          1. Fox 070
            Fox 070 13 October 2012 14: 51
            Quote: bask
            .Need CYBORGIES .for work.!

            So THEY are themselves mostly biorobots, which they become after the well-known "religious" procedure carried out in infancy.
            Quote: bask
            And they already imagine themselves ,, masters ,,, of the earth.

            So they think for a long time, not one hundred years, and people all stand on ceremony with them.
            1. Normal
              Normal 13 October 2012 16: 02
              Greetings, Felix.
              Quote: Fox 070
              So THEY themselves for the most part biorobots

              My brother-in-law adheres to the same point of view. Only calls them reptilians.
              Quote: Fox 070
              and people all stand on ceremony with them.

              And how can you get rid of them? So far, all attempts have led to the opposite result. Moreover, knowing many personally, I can say that when they do not have power, they are quite normal people
      2. Bashkaus
        Bashkaus 13 October 2012 16: 03
        That's for sure, I remember was shocked, my psyche simply refused to perceive one film in the early 90s about the valiant crew of B52, which had the honor of opening a war with the USSR. First, they incinerated Murmansk there, and then they flew between the mountains in canyons and shot back from ours dropping nuclear bombs so that they would destroy the destroyers in the explosion.
  4. YARY
    YARY 13 October 2012 08: 10
    Even then, in the backstage conversations of the main cockroaches, it was said that the USSR could demand much more than missiles in Turkey. Yes, and directly to Dobrynin this was expressed "after a fight."
    The leaders had no will! There was no desire to somehow be "with eggs".
    Cowardice-nothing more to say.
    1. Kaa
      Kaa 13 October 2012 13: 57
      Quote: Ardent
      The leaders had no will! There was no desire to somehow be "with eggs".
      Cowardice-nothing more to say.

      Thanks to this "cowardice" we were born with you. Reckless, or rather reckless bravery would have left the survivors
      "with eggs", but somehow shriveled, because it was still a long way to nuclear parity: "At the time of the crisis, the United States possessed the largest nuclear and conventional arsenal and numerous delivery systems. It was based on SM-65 Atlas ICBMs based on in the US Available for 1962 was 144 such ICBMscarrying 1-megaton and 4-megaton W38 warheads. On constant duty was about 129 missiles, of which half were based in sheltered underground mines (the rest in buried reinforced concrete shelters). The time to prepare the missiles for launch ranged from 15 to 30 minutes. Also available 62 ICBMs SM-68 Titan-IArsenal of ICBMs supplemented BRDS PGM-19 Jupiter, with a radius of 2400 km. 30 of these missiles were deployed in northern Italy and 15 in Turkey. Also 60 PGM-17 Thor missiles were deployed in the UK, with similar characteristics.. In addition to ICBMs, the basis of the air force’s offensive power was a huge fleet of strategic bombers - more 800 B-52 and B-36 intercontinental bombers, over 2000 B-47 strategic bombers and about 150 supersonic B-58s. To equip them there was an arsenal of more than 547 supersonic missiles AGM-28 Hound Dog with a radius of up to 1200 km and free-falling nuclear bombs. The positions of the US Air Force in Northern Canada and Greenland made it possible to carry out trans-polar attacks against the deep rear of the USSR with minimal Soviet opposition. Navy had 8 SSBNs with Polaris missiles with a radius of 2000 km and 11 attack aircraft carriers, including the nuclear Enterprise, capable of carrying strategic nuclear bombers A-3. Also available SSGN with Regulus missiles.
      The nuclear arsenal of the USSR was much more modest than the American. It was based on R-7 missiles, intercontinental, but very imperfect, with a long preparation time and low reliability. There was everything 4 starting devices in Plesetsk, suitable for combat launch. Also entered service about 25 R-16 missiles, more combat-ready. In fact, they formed the basis of the strategic strike forces of the USSR. In Eastern Europe there were also about 40 R-21 missiles and 20 medium-range R-12 missiles aimed at industrial centers and ports in the UK and FranceThe strategic air forces of the USSR were much weaker than the US air forces. Their basis was about 100 intercontinental bombers 3M and M-4, about 1000 strategic (??????) bombersTu-16. In service there were cruise missiles with a radius of up to 700 km. The USSR Navy included a Project 658 SSBN, armed with missiles with a radius of 650 km from surface launch and SSB project 611 and project 629, total about 25... These submarines were less sophisticated than their American counterparts, were quite noisy and had a surface missile launch, which exposed them to unmasking. "Http://
      But Pliev’s order to launch combat-ready missiles would be executed, no one doubts, that’s just what would happen later ...
      1. YARY
        YARY 14 October 2012 14: 44
        All these data are somewhat inaccurate. Although not a few, however.
        Lovely man read Darwin. Any community, like a species, is doomed to extinction if it makes concessions as often as leaders did since Khrushchev.
      2. tommytros
        tommytros 14 October 2012 23: 34
        complete crap, the source is lying
  5. nycsson
    nycsson 13 October 2012 10: 16
  6. Lakkuchu
    Lakkuchu 13 October 2012 10: 45
    Khrushchev and his entourage didn’t have a spirit, but this is not a shoe for you to beat on the UN rostrum.
    1. wolk71
      wolk71 13 October 2012 11: 53
      About Khrushchev, I don’t remember which of the leaders said that he was an enemy of socialism, and in many of his actions it came out that way.
    2. Fox 070
      Fox 070 13 October 2012 14: 53
      Quote: Lakkuchu
      it’s not for you to hit the UN rostrum with your boot.

      Was there a boot?
      1. Ruslan67
        Ruslan67 13 October 2012 18: 18
        the shoe was definitely not barefoot, he arrived
  7. Alexei
    Alexei 13 October 2012 18: 26
    Oh, that's how it was there! And I used to think that the "Caribbean crisis" was settled with the efforts of X's people. sad
  8. TAGIR
    TAGIR 14 October 2012 22: 07
    Guys, don't spit in a historic well. Even the communists believed in the expression "fear God", hence the righteousness of the Russian man ...
  9. daatop
    daatop 1 November 2020 14: 49
    Alternative history of the Cuban missile crisis and the Allied Forces "Anadyr"
    Private Caribbean Front Anatoly Dmitriev, 01.11.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX
    Remember the Heroes of the Caribbean Front!