Those who claim that Kennedy acted rashly tend to focus upon the fact that Kennedy acted in a very public way. They claim that resolution only came about because of Soviet moderation rather than any American action. They argue that Kennedy’ s actions were driven by personal political considerations in order to improve his and his party’ s standing before the important Congressional elections. Steel asks whether America came close to atomic destruction in order to prop up the flagging Kennedy administration. . His argument seems to be based in part upon Kennedy’ s foreign affairs record up until that point.
When he was still in the early months of his presidency in June 1961, Soviet leader Khrushchev announced that he would soon sign a peace treaty with East Germany, thus widening Communist influence and power in Europe. In August of that year the building of the Berlin Wall began, and also the Soviet Union announced publicly that they would once more be testing nuclear weapons. Such incidents worked to lower Kennedy’ s standing on the world stage. The Soviet premier had repeatedly promised that he would not provide Castro with offensive weapons.
America's top political analysts had believed the Russian’ s words, according to Professor May, but now that promise had been broken. The response, however, was a negative one. Krushchev declared that such a blockade was illegal and the Soviet Union would not observe it. He also demanded the removal of American missiles from Turkey (Not too far from Soviet borders) as well as insisting that America must not invade Cuba. Kennedy had in fact chosen a milder course of action than the majority of his advisers were recommending at the time.
Kennedy had acted as modern governments usually do in that the information was not made instantly public, but time was allowed for careful consideration and analysis of the situation. He hadn’ t acted totally independently but had quickly established the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, which included the young Robert Kennedy, which was able to come up with alternate opinions and possible options.
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