That Khrushchev swept the floor with Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis was a mainstream American view throughout much of the Cold War. Nixon and Goldwater, for instance, represented opposite poles of the Republican establishment of their time.
"We locked Castro's communism into Latin America and threw away the key to its removal," growled Barry Goldwater about the JFK’s Missile Crisis “solution.”
"Kennedy pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory,” complained Richard Nixon. "Then gave the Soviets squatters rights in our backyard."
Generals Curtis Le May and Maxwell Taylor represented opposite poles of the military establishment.
"The biggest defeat in our nation's history!" bellowed Air Force chief Curtis Lemay while whacking his fist on his desk upon learning the details of the deal.
"We missed the big boat," complained Gen. Maxwell Taylor after learning of same.
"We've been had!" yelled then Navy chief George Anderson upon hearing on October 28, 1962, how JFK "solved" the missile crisis. Adm. Anderson was the man in charge of the very "blockade" against Cuba.
"It's a public relations fable that Khrushchev quailed before Kennedy," wrote Alexander Haig. "The legend of the eyeball to eyeball confrontation invented by Kennedy's men paid a handsome political dividend. But the Kennedy-Khrushchev deal was a deplorable error resulting in political havoc and human suffering through the America's."
Even Democratic luminary Dean Acheson despaired: "This nation lacks leadership," he grumbled about the famous “Ex-Comm meetings” so glorified in Thirteen Days. "The meetings were repetitive and without direction. Most members of Kennedy's team had no military or diplomatic experience whatsoever. The sessions were a waste of time."
But not for the Soviets. "We ended up getting exactly what we'd wanted all along," snickered Nikita Khrushchev in his diaries, “security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey and Italy. Until today the U.S. has complied with her promise not to interfere with Castro and not to allow anyone else to interfere with Castro. After Kennedy's death, his successor Lyndon Johnson assured us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba."
In fact Khrushchev prepared to yank the missiles before any “bullying” by Kennedy. “What!” Khrushchev gasped on Oct. 28th 1962, as recalled by his son Sergei. “Is he (Fidel Castro) proposing that we start a nuclear war? That we launch missiles from Cuba?”
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.
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