This coming October marks the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when President John Kennedy was faced with fresh knowledge of missile bases in Cuba. (Yes, I know I’ve now begun consecutive posts with “anniversary” sentences. Don’t ask me.) JFK quickly assembled a panel to meet in secret and decide on appropriate measures. The three basic choices were an airstrike on the weapons base, a full invasion of Cuba, or a naval blockade. After days of debate and internal struggle, Kennedy decided against an attack on Cuba, instead opting for a naval blockade. This was against the overwhelming consensus of his panel which included officials of intelligence, military and finance. Kennedy’s primary concern was that an attack on Cuba would be met with a nuclear response on Berlin, commencing an all-out nuclear war in Western Europe and possibly America. The prez’s decision could not have been more correct, as the blockade prompted talks with Khrushchev that resulted in the removal of weapons from Cuba. In his recently-published, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Chris Matthews explained:
It was later learned that the Soviets had deposited in Cuba a disturbing cache of nuclear weapons in early October, well before the Kennedy administration had the photographic evidence that spurred it into action. There were ninety nuclear warheads in all. Thirty of them possessed sixty-six times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There was an equal number of warheads with the firepower of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, plus an assortment of other, smaller ones.
Matthews, Chris. Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Simon & Schuster, 2011 (p. 317-18).
Matthews then quotes from Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs:
“If a quarter or even a tenth of our missiles survived–even if only one or two big ones were left-we could still hit New York, and there wouldn’t be much of New York left. I don’t mean to say everyone in New York would be killed–not everyone, of course, but an awful lot of people would be wiped out…And it was high time that America learned what it feels like to have her own land and her own people threatened…
The Americans knew that if Russian blood were shed in Cuba, American blood would surely be shed in Germany.”
Kennedy’s foresight, courage and restraint prevented nuclear war and preserved world peace.
So what the hell does this have to do with Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn, you ask? Continue reading