Cuban Missile Crisis: Jim Blight

Cuban leader Fidel Castro, center, speaks with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, right, as Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa, left, looks on. (Prensa Latina via AP Images)

Cuban leader Fidel Castro, center, speaks with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, right, as Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa, left, looks on. (Prensa Latina via AP Images)

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It was a cool, dry night in Washington DC ... an ordinary autumn evening ...  when US President John Kennedy took to the airwaves for a national televised address.

The Cuban missile crisis was already seven days old by then, but it wasn't until the U.S. President began his speech that the world learned how close it was to nuclear war.

Soviet nuclear weapons were already in Cuba, and more were on the way.

President Kennedy's military advisers were pushing hard for an immediate military strike, He ordered a military blockade of Cuba instead. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said the blockade was illegal and vowed to break it.

The two leaders danced around each other for the next six days, pirouetting between bellicose rhetoric and delicate, even heartfelt, negotiations, while Fidel Castro watched angrily from the wings.

Jim Blight has spent the past 25 years studying the nuances and intimate details of those 13 days, along with the years that led up to them.

He maintains that  the Cuban missile crisis could be instructive for the whoever the next  U.S. President, might be , in dealing with another  potential nuclear threat  this time in Iran.

Jim Blight is the co-author, along his wife and research colleague Janet Lang, of the new book, Armageddon Letters. He is also the Chair of Foreign Policy Development at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a Professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario.

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