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The U.S. Decision to Blockade Cuba Essay


Introduction

A lot of questions were raised about the interests of the United States in initiating a blockade off the coast of Cuba in 1962 and the subsequent events that took place between two countries. Even though they called “quarantine” to make it sound polite, it was still a blockade and an act of war. According to Boothe (1962), when Castro took power in 1959, 80% of Cuba’s trading was with the United States of America. As time went by, the relationship became stormy and the Cuban president Fidel Castro started to view the Soviet Union as a better partner than the US (Bodden 2007, p. 311). Meantime, the U.S. had planted some missiles 150 miles from Russia to Turkey as a precautionary measure. The Soviet Union responded by holding talks with Fidel Castro who gave them consent to set up a Russian missile base in Cuba. When asked by the Americans about the new development, the Soviet Union and Cuba defended themselves by saying that buying missiles from the Soviet Union was for defensive purposes. When truth came out, instead of attacking either country, President Kennedy ordered a blockade.

Importance of the study

This study will examine the national interests forcing the president of the US to order the blockade. The study will also highlight the reasons that forced the president to choose a blockade instead of attacking Cuba or Russia. Cuba is within a striking distance from the United States and the U.S. had other missiles up in Turkey (Carter, 2003). The decision, therefore, raises some questions about the issues President Kennedy considered in order to reach that decision, how important the national interests were, or what other factors influenced President Kennedy to choose a military blockade over an invasion and to totally avoid any form of armed conflict (Kennedy, 2011, p. 216).

Justification of the Blockade

This study aims at answering some of the questions raised above. For instance, if President Kennedy had attacked any of the two nations, a nuclear war would have been inevitable. Both countries had armed themselves with nuclear weapons after the World War II and as such any wrong step by the Americans could have ignited a Third World War. According to Whiteclay (1999), the two parties reached an agreement over the matter, but the United States silently went further and did what was not in the agreement, namely, the withdrawal of its weapons from Turkey. This meant a myriad of reasons could have compelled them to undertake the move. The paper, therefore, will take a critical look at the effects of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States that still exist in modern times, though at a lower level than it was in the 1960s (Frankel, M 2004).

A Realist Analysis

Data for this paper will be collected using more qualitative methods than quantitative methods. Qualitative methods include observations, group discussions and analyzing documents and materials (Schlesinger 2005, p. 62). In this case, data will be collected through analysis of various documents that outline the events during that period. Information about these events is well highlighted in many books, newspapers and journals from different authors, therefore, implying that secondary data will be collected apart from primary data (Collins 2007, p. 305). The Cuban missile crisis is historical in nature that is why historical research will be employed since it is the best one to highlight historical matters. Some effects of this stormy relationship are still evident in the modern world (Dobbs, 2008, p. 148). The historical research best analyzes the past events in relation to the current situation. The collected data will be coded and analyzed thematically as required by the qualitative research adopted in the study (Allison & Zelikow 1999).

List of References

Allison, G & Zelikow, P 1999, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bodden, V 2007, The cold war, The Creative Company, Mankato, Minnesota.

Boothe, C 1962, ‘Cuba: Let’s Have the Whole Truth’, Life, vol. 53, pp. 53

Carter, E 2003, The Cuban Missile Crisis, Heinemann Library, London.

Collins, A 2007, Contemporary Security Studies, Oxford University Press, New York.

Dobbs, M 2008, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, Knopf, New York.

Frankel, M 2004, High Noon in the Cold war, Ballantine Books, New York.

Kennedy, F 2011, Thirteen days : A memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, W.W.Norton, Longman, New York.

Schlesinger, A 2005, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, Black Dog and Leventhal, New York.

Whiteclay, J 1999, American Military History, Oxford University Press, New York.

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