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Relentless: JFK On Cuba; Putin On Ukraine by Ray McGovern

Relentless: JFK On Cuba; Putin On Ukraine
On Oct. 6, President Joe Biden warned: “First time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat of the use (of a) nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going … I’m trying to figure out what is Putin’s off ramp?”
Biden did well to cite the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and compare it to the 2022 crisis in Ukraine. The analogy is apt; whether the President understands the important implications is not so clear. Suffice it to say that in each case, one major power saw an existential threat and was willing to risk nuclear war to thwart it.
Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev’s took a gamble 60 years ago when the Soviet Union secretly deployed nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba, catching U.S. Intelligence by surprise. The following paragraph is from One Hell of a Gamble: The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, page 217. (The authors add that the US was “unaware of the Soviet freighter’s cargo.”)
“The first shipment of nuclear warheads, on the Soviet freighter Indigirka, reached Mariel, Cuba on October 4, 1962. On board were 45 one-megaton warheads for the R-12s [MRBMs], twelve 2-kiloton warheads for the Luna [short-range] tactical weapons, six 12-kiloton bombs for the IL-28 bombers and thirty-six 12-kiloton warheads for the cruise missiles [to defend Cuban shores]. In sum, the ship carried the equivalent of roughly 45,500 kilotons of TNT, over twenty times the explosive power that was dropped by Allied bombers on Germany in all of the Second World War.”
On the evening of October 15, the day after a U-2 reconnaissance mission over Cuba, President Kennedy’s national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy was briefed on the findings, including two 70-foot-long MRBMs at San Cristobal. Bundy briefed the President the next morning, and Kennedy convened the first “ExComm” meeting that day.

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