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Process tracing the CMC

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Rowan Kane

on 26 October 2013

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Transcript of Process tracing the CMC

Process Tracing Guideline
The Cuban Missile Crisis
"Thirteen Days" Tuesday, October 16-Sunday October 28, 1962
Why did Khrushchev/Soviets decide to place offensive missiles in Cuba?
Kennedy's options 16-19 October
Kennedy's decision on blockade
WHAT? - Qualitative method for reconstructing causality within a single case.

FOCUS - Not simply going from independent to dependent variable, recognizing that there is an intervening variable.

HOW: - Follows the steps in the causal mechanism, demonstrating that each step is taking place.

CAUSAL MECHANISM - how cause produces effect- evidence leading from independent to dependent variable.
A-> y->x->z-> B

QUALITY of the observations (how they are analyzed) is important, not the number of observations.
Benefits of Process Tracing:
* Traces a long causal chain rather than multiple instances of X leading
to Y. -> Clear causal path (just like in detective work).

*Involves the steps in the causal mechanism, thus demonstrating a precise methodology that individuals can make sense of.

*Multiple types of evidence are employed for the verification of single inference.

* Mechanisms are potentially repeatable and could be relevant in other cases .
B->C Y->Z

* Can be used as an adjunct form of analysis- complement to a formal research design ; a cross-check, to all results gained through formal methods.

Challenging Features of Process Tracing:

*Scientist should explain how each step in the chain is analyzed. Using different types of analysis.

*Needs a lot of time. -> Narrowing, systematization, grouping information.

*Subjective Selection of intervening variables

* Relies on hypothetical assumptions -> Every methodology involves some form of a counter-factual claim.

Oct 14-15: US intelligence finds medium range ballistic missiles after reconnaissance flights over Cuba. The next day, President Kennedy and his advisers are briefed thus beginning the "Thirteen Days" known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Four Hypotheses
Less likely
More likely
Cuban Defense
Cold War Politics
Missile Power
Berlin: "win, trap or trade"
Support for ally against a 'large threatening neighbor'
Deterrence from a(nother) invasion from the US
BUT...if deterrence were real reasoning, then Soviet troops would be a better option
Also, smaller, less detectable tactical nuclear weapons were available but longer range missiles were chosen instead
Finally, discovery of these long range weapons actually put Cuba at greater risk from invasion
Cold War politics were defined by zero-sum politics
Placing of missiles can be seen as a 'probe' to test US resolve in the Western Hemisphere and have repercussions elsewhere
BUT...US had already proven its resolve in Berlin the year before
Size of the deployment was more than probe
Why probe then? Why Cuba?
This was one of Kennedy's first assumptions...that the Soviets felt strategically vulnerable with their prior missile deployments...
With reason...missile gap
BUT...why the urgency rather than wait for development
Is the risk worth the reward?
Use missiles in Cuba to "solve the Berlin problem". If the US...
did nothing: Khrushchev could force the West out of Berlin with Cuban missiles as a deterrence
tried to bargain: it would be Cuba for Berlin, with Berlin being more important
blockaded or attacked Cuba: Soviets could reciprocate
The loss of Berlin would potentially isolate the US from their W. European allies
Mon Oct 22: President John F. Kennedy informed the people of the United States of the Soviet missiles and of the "quarantine" placed around Cuba by the U.S. Navy.
Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Military solution: Airstrike followed by invasion
Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Diplomatic solution: Strong arm Castro into forcing Soviets out
Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense
Political solution: Blockade further missile shipments
McGeorge Bundy, Nat'l Security Advisor
Do nothing, fearing a Soviet response in Berlin
Principle suggestions
Other options
Would remove both missiles and Castro
Official suggestion of the JCS
BUT...would likely cause a Soviet response in Berlin and had potential to escalate into nuclear conflict
Formally established on 22nd of October

Twelve full members in addition to the president-Decision Making Inner Circle

Meetings were secretly recorded
Executive Committee of the National Security Council(ExComm)
This would involve warning Castro that the Soviets were putting his regime in danger "and in the end would sell him out for...Berlin"
BUT...Kennedy dismissed this as a non-option and it was unsupported outside the State Department
As we saw in the Berlin hypothesis previously, this would leave the US in an extremely vulnerable situation and thus was not given much thought
This would deploy the US Navy to stop further shipment of military equipment to Cuba thus stopping the Soviet buildup
HOWEVER... This would do nothing about the missiles already in place in Cuba
Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation
Monday 22 Oct
2. Closer surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup: Have
Armed Forces ready for any eventualities
2. Closer surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup: Have
Armed Forces ready for any eventualities
2. Closer surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup: Have
Armed Forces ready for any eventualities
The end of Confrontation
28, Sunday
Blockade Began...
Withdrawal of the Soviet Union's nuclear missiles from Cuba

Withdrawal of certain US' nuclear missiles from Turkey
Agreement with the Soviet Union that the US would never invade Cuba without direct provocation

Creation of a nuclear hotline between the US and the Soviet Union
Kennedy's use of The Guns of August
19, Friday
21, Sunday
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr

Blockade + negotiation

Blockade + Air Strike
20, Saturday
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
Shifting from military option to Blockade

a strong but limited military action
" To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated...This quarantine will be extended, if needed...
Khrushchev Condemned the United States' "pirate action"
Blockade Challenged
UN Security Council Emergency Meeting
A letter from Khrushchev
"I propose...You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its troops and will not support any other forces which might intend to invade Cuba. Then the necessity of the presence of our military specialists in Cuba will disappear"
2002 March
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
Negotiations intensify
24, Wednesday
25, Thursday
26, Friday
27, Saturday
A U2 spy plane is shot down over Cuba
Kennedy decides this is not a political provocation
Khrushchev offers a new trade, that the missiles on Cuba would be removed in exchange for the removal of the Jupiter missiles from Italy and Turkey
Kennedy's Decision
Earn some time to negotiate
Leave Soviet Union to make a decision
US alert level raised to DEFCON 2
too long, just key words :)
Full transcript