The Cuban Missile Crisis Essay
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was also called the Caribbean Crisis by the Russians and October Crisis by the Cubans. This was a military confrontation between the Cuba, Soviet Union and the United States of America during the period of Cold War. This was the period in 1962 when John F. Kennedy was the president of America and General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev was of Russian while Fidel Castro was the leader of Cuba. (Sheldon, 2005) America CIA trained Cuban exiles who were against Castro ideologies. These trained Cubans were then taken to Cuba and landed at the Bay of Pigs.
The Cuban military was stronger than this invasion and they defeated them. After this the Cuban authority declared the country as a socialist republic and with the help of Soviet Union they began to modernize Cuba’s military. Since there was enemity between the Soviet Union and the United States, Kennedy was happy with this. He started covert operations which were known to have the Operation Mongoose against Cuban but were not successful. Early 1962, United States started economic embargo against Cuba; not supplying oil to Cuban and Not purchasing sugar from Cuba.
In mid 1962 , military action was decided and Kennedy was presented with a pre-invasion bombing. Spy planes from United States were also common in the Cuba air and military harassment from Guantanamo Naval Base. (Ronald, 1982) In this period United States had a large amount of nuclear weapons compared to Soviet Union. This lead to the Russians developing missiles while U. S. shifted from aeroplanes to missiles. If Cuba was to have nuclear missiles then it was a danger to the U. S. This lead to the United States transferring some Jupiter IRBMs to Izmir in Turkey which was 16 minutes away from USSR.
These missiles were pointed at USSR’s cities leading to Khrushchev Cuban missile deployment. This deployment included surface to air missiles, surface to surface cruise missile and nuclear missiles but this was under Soviet control. When CIA was suspicious, the United States administration and U. S intelligence thought that its was spurious. Kennedy’s administration decided to attack Cuba. They thought of many alternatives and they decided that naval blockade was the best option. About 180 U. S. Navy ship were prepared for the blockade.
This didn’t go well with Khrushchev which he said was illegal and he ordered his ships to by- pass the quarantine. Within this period 19 ships from Soviet Union was headed to Cuba, after the quarantine took effect 16 of these ships reversed its course while two; Gagarin and Komiles were escorted by submarine positioned between the two ships. The other, Bucharest, continued towards the U. S. lines. Prepositions were made for the withdrawal from Turkey by George Ball to the U. S. Ambassadors in Turkey and NATO.
The Bucharest tanker didn’t have any military weapons and it was allowed to pass. During this period the U. S realized that activities were still going on in the Cuban bases making the U. S. administration to load nuclear weapons onto aircraft. Castro wanted to attack U. S. and ordered the anti-aircraft weapons in Cuba to fire on any U. S. aircraft. After this the U. S. asked the Soviets to stop any developments at site for negotiations. This was after one U. S. plane was shot down. A compromise was reached and the war was prevented.
Failures of Intelligence in Cuba Missile crisis We see the failure of the intelligence when McCone had earlier said that there was development of military actions in Cuba but then his top analyst did not agree or believe. He also said that the surface to air missile were to discourage the U. S. flying the U-2s over Cuba. This also did not compel the analyst to think otherwise even after the flooded information from refugee and agent reports which the CIA viewed with skepticism. This was due to the belief that all the surface to air missiles were for defensive purposes.
The delay between the CIA and air force on who was to fly over western Cuba was also perceived as CIA’s poor corporation. Also we see that President Kennedy was not happy because it took a lot of time to detect the Soviet plan. There was also the presence of frequent Russian Cuban flights and many ships. This shows that the Americans were not doubtful on the plans of the Soviets. They didn’t believe after they were told by McCone bout the idea that there was something that was fishy, here the intelligence agency used theories instead of the actual collection of data and scrutinizing them.
Successfulness of Intelligence in Cuba Missile Crisis. The relationship between the Kennedy’s administration and US intelligence was constructive and successful. Here we see that there were two important issues, i. e. detecting events before they unfolded and preventing policy intelligence consensus. Even though there was no real basis of the America Soviet confrontation in Cuba these didn’t prevent the intelligence from detecting the missiles. The intelligence community and the policy makers didn’t have to disagree in terms of political, personal or bureaucratic beliefs but they worked together.
This came as a result of Bay of Pigs fiasco, McCone’s decision to risk ridicule from political and bureaucratic fray contributed to the success of the intelligence. Sound analytical work by the intelligence on the small incoming information led to the success of its operation. This shows that a torrent of information mattered a lot. The Kennedy’s administration decision to blockade the Cuban waters was among the best decisions that he made. This blockade made the transportation of more missiles and construction materials to Cuba to stop. The idea of building the bases in Cuban soil was as a result of;
i)Khrushchev saw Kennedy as a weak president during the meeting in Vienna after failing to reach any consensus. ii) America had more nuclear weapons than Soviet. iii) The Turkey warheads that were pointed to Soviet. The United States with the help of the intelligence were able to broke an agreement. This prevented a major skirmish. Vietnam War The Vietnam war took place from 1965 to 1975 and it was also refereed to as Second Indochina War and in Vietnam it was called the American war. It was fought by United States and Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Republic of Vietnam which was South Vietnam supported the United States. In 1964 the destroyer USS Maddox was patrolling the crew heard thumping noise which made the president to ask for power to attack Vietnam. After the death of a dozen American soldiers the United States decided to retaliate using air strikes. This air attack was known as Operation Rolling Thunder which was meant to booster the South Vietnamese morale. Rolling thunder came to an end after millions of sorties were flown and more than a half million bombs had been dropped.
The airbase and other facilities were then manned by United States Marines after its was established that it was risky to give the control to the South Vietnamese. By then the president of Vietnam was Thieu and the Vice President was Ky, more American solders were deployed into South Vietnam with some taking charge of the base. August 1965, Operation Star lite was the first major operation which was undertaken by the Americans destroying NLF stronghold. The Operation Silver Bayonet was the major war that both sides participated with the North Vietnamese having major casualties.
Americans then added their troops from 120,000 to 400,000 to enable them defeat both the North Vietnamese and the NLF. The Americans idea was to disable the logistical system from Cambodia and Laos but this came with many kinds of restrictions such as preventing a confrontation which may have led to superpower confrontation. This led to the decisions from Westmoreland that a large force could grind the enemy down and make them to surrender. Then there was a confrontation between Marine Corps Commander Gen. Walt and Westmoreland’s about the attacking method. Gen. Walt believed that security of the villages was important.
Westmoreland believed that the PAVN should be pushed away from the villages and attacked in the country side. At the end of the day MACV won and Westmorelands method of search and destroy was applied. The attack started which led to the retreat of PAVN/NLF, but the terrain and climate was not favorite for the Americans. At the border a war named as Tet Offensive where the Americans based at A village called Khe Sanh. This point was used for surveillance and logistics. Here a large destruction took place by the US Marine destroying everywhere with bombs from their war planes to defend this village.
This saw the retreat of the PAVN. This offensive left a lot of questions on the minds of many American citizens after they had been told that the war was about to be won. This led to the Defeat of US president Johnson by Senator McCarthy in the Hampshire Primary. Vietnamization was the name given to the Nixon Doctrine that South Vietnamese army should be well equipped so to be able to defend their own nation. Nixon foreign policy was to make good relations with the Republic of China and Soviet Union. This led to the nuclear reduction by both Soviet Union and U. S. and a dialog with China.
These two countries were supporting North Vietnam. This led to the retreat of US marines and leaving the South to be destroyed by the North. The most dramatic massacre was that of America Division which took place in My Lai village. Here many people were raped, tortured and murdered. Gen. Calley who was the commander of this battalion was charged but later released,he was the only person who was charged. There were also other massacres about seven of them but they were hidden. Intelligence reports such as that of Gulf Of Tonkin which led to the US involvement in the war was false.
The prediction of defeat was not shown to the public and also the US involvement towards the death of Ngo Dinh Diem and the heavy bombing of Laos in 1964 which was not supposed to take place. Failures of intelligence in Vietnam War The poor prediction, a neglect of important issues and the lack of clear central direction has characterized the United States intelligence. These kinds of failures caused three major intelligence failures which are: The US intelligence has failed to measure the extend of the conflict, which has been seen as larger than what the intelligence has shown.
An example is underestimation of the enemy during Order of Battle, his and infiltration power, the population of civilians he ruled in the South, and his losses. The rise from simple three of the four rain categories of the enemy Order of Battle wore not even looked into until late 1966, over a year and half after the United States military intervention. Then after these was the changing definitions, mistakes during accounting techniques, and to juggle figures. The omission of research in Southern Viet Cong by CIA in terms of manpower until when it was too late.
Also the outcome of the poor judgment of the boon dramatic. The United States troops were set in terms of deployments to Vietnam on the basis of force ratios between Allied and armies which were far out of line with reality. This shows that if the US government had predicted the number of enemy strength, they could have sent more troops or else they could not have participated in the issues. Also, the relative neglect by US intelligence of the well springs of the power of enemy and the communist party which are termed as “infrastructure”.
For example in 1969, the CIA was not aware of the Viet Cong Security Service which was doing intelligence work, which worked more as Soviet KGB . The intelligence members of Viet Cong agents were more in number than that of United States intelligence and also the well knowledge of infrastructure which was a disadvantage to CIA. Deficiencies in US intelligence The director of CIA normally does what he wants because its somehow political position. An example is from the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s when he complained that there were no Vietnam experts to analyze the situation.
There were experts but he refused to heed their propositions that they foresaw. Which led to the failures not understanding the communist and approximating their numbers and also the “order of battle”. The idea of relying on one person like Van Thieu who was corrupt and which led to the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. The Pleiku attacks were a convenient trigger for intended escalation and it was composed by the Americans. Even though the CIA analyst were not happy on some things they were forced to join the team. This led to issuing of wrong information. Most of these were lies that were orchestrated by the politicians and the generals.
Manipulation of public opinions and politics ensured that wars were justified. This led to order of battle controversy, the Tet defeat and doctoring of information in favor of Lyndon Johnson re-election. When information began to come in about the Soviet plan of arming Cuba it was taken lightly. It was just with a shear of chance that the intelligence went through its records and plans that were able to receive more information from pictures. Here we see that were it not for the help of the Director McCone the plan of installing nuclear weapons in Cuba could have been possible.
This shows that there are few people or analyst who can analyze the situation and give a soundful decision about the issue. In the text we find out that McCone had already communicated the information to his analyst but no one acted to this information. This shows that there is no given order as of how instructions can be acted upon. Intelligence was used to support policy During the period of Cold War, properly utilized and focused intelligence should have given directions to the United States to minimize military outlays by reducing unnecessary and right budget.
If it was used properly, the US intelligence should have helped focus the defense resources on programs which were most likely to change the mind of an adversary and also if necessary to win a conflict. While a large amount intelligence budget was apparently used this way, it is apparently obvious that the current United States political leaders are also interested in building a worldwide American empire. This empire is based upon a large and strong military advancement used to influence day to day activities around the world.
Americans protected themselves from the Soviet Union and China during the Cold War but these resulted into payments of extremely large value and extraneous value for that kind of protection. Before the confrontation in Vietnam, there was no need for war. United States looked for excuses to facilitate war plans. The intelligence was used to create illusion that Vietnam had attacked United States boat that was in Vietnam waters. This to the Vietnamese army had a right to check but it was later acclaimed that it was them, Vietnam, who had attacked the US ship.
This resulted to a war that had not been planned. As the war was on it was seen by the intelligence body that there was no need for attacking in a certain way but it was refuted by the generals which resulted to the death of several soldiers. The lying that war was about to come to an end also changed the minds of American citizen but it was a ploy for political interest. The election of President Nixon was through such ploy. Reference Kennedy, R. F. (1971). Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. P 10 – 36 Cuban Missile Crisis available from, https://www.
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