Michael Swanson, an investment adviser turned JFK researcher, called my attention to “Council of War,” a fascinating official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which documents the Pentagon’s resistance to, and resentment of, President Kennedy’s foreign policy, especially on Cuba and Vietnam.
Published by the JCS, the study presents an unvarnished view of an unprecedented mistrust between White House and Pentagon in the year before Kennedy was violently removed from power.
“Read this book and you are reading a real history of the American empire and defense establishment written for future leaders of the Pentagon and armed forces,” writes Swanson, who plans to publish his own study of the Cold War from 1945-1963 in the fall.
He was a fervent Cold Warrior whose most important triumphs came in the name of peace. He avoided nuclear holocaust during the Cuban missile crisis and negotiated a partial nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union. He took office with a muscular promise that the United States would “pay any price, bear any burden” in the battle for freedom. But five months before his death, he became a prophet of what would be called detente, describing peace as “the necessary, rational end of rational men.”
President Obama speaks at American University, August 5, 2015
In a “blunt” speech at American University, President Obama “aggressively” defended the international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program by invoking the daring diplomacy of President John F. Kennedy.
The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 marked a turning point for President John F. Kennedy. His bold but deft diplomacy spared the world a war that might have gone nuclear. Peace proved popular and JFK’s approval ratings soared. Here’s how it started.
As the United States lurched towards war over Soviet missiles in Cuba in October 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy refused the suggestion that she leave her husband in the White House and move to a safer location.
A newly declassified Pentagon study, published today by the non-profit National Security Archive, sheds new light on the thinking of U.S. military leaders at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
As President Kennedy searched for a solution that did not involve a war that might have gone nuclear, the Pentagon was itching to escalate.
On the Monday following the tragic and astonishing events in Dallas, President Kennedy’s body was laid to rest in Arlington cemetery. A host of foreign dignitaries took part, including British Prime Minister Home, French President Charles de Gaulle, and many others.
Meanwhile the federal government’s response to the assassination was taking shape. Read more
In a smart piece for the Washington Post, Michael Dobbs notes the similarities between President Obama’s predicament in Syria and President Kennedy’s dilemma during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.
While there are many differences, one basic dynamic is the same: how does the president of the United States resist pressures for a war of choice (not necessity) created by the articulation of red lines.