Published on October 11th, 2012 | by Jasmin Ramsey1
Applying Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iran
In his debunking of the myths surrounding the Cuban missile crisis, Slate journalist Fred Kaplan derives lessons that can be applied to the ongoing dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. His second and third points, in particular, stand out (emphasis mine):
Second, at some point, one side might clearly have the upper hand, in which case it should seek ways to give the other side a way out. This doesn’t necessarily mean surrendering the interests at stake. The Jupiter missiles that JFK traded weren’t much good anyway. The United States was about to station new Polaris submarines in the Mediterranean; each sub carried 16 nuclear missiles and was less vulnerable to attack. The United States, in other words, gave up nothing in military capability.
Third, there is no contradiction between striking a deal and maintaining vigilance; compromise is not the same as appeasement. According to a cleverly titled new book by David Coleman, The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, disputes continued for months after the Turkish deal was struck, and tensions occasionally flared, over the terms and timing of the withdrawal of Soviet weapons from Cuba. Kennedy held his ground. But neither side stormed off or retriggered the crisis.