Deborah Leff, Director of the John F. Kennedy Library, points to a map of Cuba annotated by former U.S. president Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, July 13, 2005. 
Brian Snyder / Reuters

DIPLOMACY, NOT DERRING-DO
James A. Nathan

Graham Allison ("The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50," July/August 2012) seems to believe that U.S. President John F. Kennedy's handling of the Cuban missile crisis was an unalloyed success. He also contends that the Kennedy administration's response to the crisis forms a template for the kind of steadfast resolve that U.S. policymakers should adopt today, specifically with regard to Iran and North Korea. But the Cuban missile crisis was hardly a triumph of presidential fortitude. At the core of Kennedy's strategy was a deal: the United States pledged to remove its missiles from

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe