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Foreign Policy in Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963

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Kasper Rasmussen

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of Foreign Policy in Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963

Foreign Policy in Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963
The Principal Players
Foreign Policy - foundations and crises
1963 - annus mirabilis et horribilis
Limited Test Ban Treaty - first nuclear test ban ever negotiated

US involvement in Vietnam escalates - 16,000 military advisors now in country

Overthrow and death of Ngo Dinh Diem

Assassination of John F. Kennedy
US foreign policy was complex

Focused on crises and not on long-term strategy

From Massive Retaliation to Flexible Response

Change in the Cold War - end of the European phase
Three historiographical schools:

JFK was not a great president!

His foreign policy was complex - hard and soft at the same time

He had a politician's instinct for deal-making and compromise, but also of the need to keep all sides at bay - he was very preoccupied with the media

John F. Kennedy
Dean Rusk
Robert McNamara
Robert F. Kennedy
McGeorge Bundy
Ted Sorensen
Fear of nuclear weapons

Pragmatic idealism

Third World modernization

Political tactics - negotiating from a position of strength

Interplay between foreign and domestic politics
Bay of Pigs
CIA plan from Eisenhower presidency to topple Castro by using exile Cubans to incite popular rebellion
Kennedy approved - wanted Castro removed - believed that Cuban people were not really backing Castro
Landing took place in April of 1961 - CIA and military were sure that JFK would agree to American military support, if needed - he did not - landing failed and exile Cubans were taken prisoners
JFK took responsibility - but blamed CIA and JCS - reputation was badly damaged
Khrushchev re-opened the Berlin Crisis in the spring of 1961 - Vienna summit in June - US deliberations in July - Berlin Wall in August - new Soviet detonations of nuclear weapons in August/September - UN GA in September basically solved the crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
Soviet missiles sent to Cuba spring/summer/fall of 1962 to level the playing field - Kennedy Administration had said it would not allow offensive nuclear weapons on Cuba - discovery in October provoked crisis
13 days of crisis - 16-28 October
Different factions - hawks and doves - advisors changing position
Different solutions: blockade/quarantine - surgical strike - invasion - do nothing

Which courses of action were chosen and how did the crisis progress?

High stakes diplomacy

Full transcript