I’ve been reading about increasing calls for a “creative solution” to the Iran crisis in editorials. Today the USA Today cites the Cuban missile crisis solution as an example. Earlier in the week the Washington Post also cited Kennedy’s actions towards Cuba as the type of “creative” conduct that the U.S. should be engaged in.
The problem is that the Iran crisis is the diametric opposite of the Cuban missile crisis.
With the Cuban crisis, the U.S. was faced with the prospect of dangerous rogue regime acquiring nuclear capabilities. What brought the world to the brink of WWIII was the fact that the missiles were being sent from the Soviets. Stopping a gathering threat had to be weighed against the possibility of the complete annihilation of the U.S. via a Soviet first strike. Consider that for a moment: the U.S. was seriously contemplating taking out the Cuban missiles, even in the face of a nuclear attack.
In order to draw an honest comparison with the Iran crisis, we need to imagine a Cuban missile crisis absent the prospect of the immediate annihilation of the U.S. Imagine Castro, as the leader of a rogue state, was not directly backed by the Soviets, but simply developed the missiles on his own. Is there any doubt the U.S. would have taken out the sites, and/or taken over Cuba entirely? In that scenario there would have been no “crisis” at all.
Here we are, five decades later, and a rogue regime which has repeatedly declared hostile intentions towards the U.S., actively supports terrorism, and has called for the destruction of Israel, is openly pursuing nuclear capabilities. In the 1960’s would this have been a “crisis”?
The paradigm pertaining to the use of the military in the face of gathering threats certainly has changed over the last half century. Are the risks of not taking military action are any different today?