James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "Nonproliferation"

TWE Remembers: John Kennedy Prepares to Tell the Nation About Soviet Missiles in Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Six)

by James M. Lindsay
Secretary of State Dean Rusk, President John F. Kennedy, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara meet in the Cabinet Room in January 1961.(Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston) Secretary of State Dean Rusk, President John F. Kennedy, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara meet in the Cabinet Room in January 1961.(Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Sundays are usually the one day of the week that presidents can count on for a break from their frenetic daily schedule. That wasn’t the case for John F. Kennedy on Sunday, October 21, 1962, the sixth day of the Cuban missile crisis. He would spend his day in meetings and conversations, honing what he would tell the nation and the world the next day. Read more »

TWE Remembers: John Kennedy Fakes a Cold (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Five)

by James M. Lindsay
The day book of Evelyn Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy's personal secretary, shows JFK's busy schedule during the Cuban missile crisis. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts) The day book of Evelyn Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy's personal secretary, shows JFK's busy schedule during the Cuban missile crisis. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts)

Have you ever faked an illness to get out of a meeting or to avoid an obligation? President John F. Kennedy can do you one better. He faked a cold on Saturday, October 20, the fifth day of the Cuban missile crisis, so he could cancel a campaign tour in the Midwest and return to the White House to meet with his national security team about the U.S. response to the Soviet missiles in Cuba. Read more »

TWE Remembers: JFK Campaigns While the ExCom Debates Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Four)

by James M. Lindsay
Abraham Lincoln's tomb which President John F. Kennedy visited after speaking at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 19, 1962. (Frank Polich/ courtesy Reuters) Abraham Lincoln's tomb which President John F. Kennedy visited after speaking at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 19, 1962. (Frank Polich/ courtesy Reuters)

Presidents aren’t just government leaders, they are also party leaders. So they frequently leave the White House in the weeks before midterm congressional elections to campaign for their fellow party members. That’s precisely what President John F. Kennedy found himself doing on Friday, October 19, 1962, the fourth day of the Cuban missile crisis. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Andrei Gromyko Lies to John Kennedy (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Three)

by James M. Lindsay
President John F. Kennedy and Soviet minister of foreign affairs Andrei Gromyko meet in the Oval Office on October 18, 1962. Seated from left to right, Soviet deputy minister Vladimir S. Seyemenov, Soviet ambassador to the United States Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Gromyko, and Kennedy. (Robert Knudson White House Photographs, National Archives, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts) President John F. Kennedy and Soviet minister of foreign affairs Andrei Gromyko meet in the Oval Office on October 18, 1962. Seated from left to right, Soviet deputy minister Vladimir S. Seyemenov, Soviet ambassador to the United States Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Gromyko, and Kennedy. (Robert Knudson White House Photographs, National Archives, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts)

Could you sit through a two-hour meeting with a man who was lying to your face without letting on that you knew he was lying? President John F. Kennedy faced just that challenge on Thursday, October 18, 1962, the third day of the Cuban missile crisis, when he met with Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko at the White House. Read more »

TWE Remembers: JFK Solicits Ike’s Advice (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Two)

by James M. Lindsay
A U-2 photograph of Soviet IRBMs in Cuba, October 17, 1962. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC) A U-2 photograph of Soviet IRBMs in Cuba, October 17, 1962. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC)

All presidents switch roles repeatedly over the course of their day. One minute they are running meetings on complex policy choices. At the next minute they are exchanging empty pleasantries with visiting foreign dignitaries, carrying out the ceremonial duties of their office, or whipping up the passions of their fellow partisans as another election approaches. But perhaps no president ran the gamut presidential roles quite the way that President John F. Kennedy did on Wednesday, October 17, 1962. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The United States Discovers Soviet Missiles in Cuba

by James M. Lindsay
A Soviet medium-range ballistic missile on parade in Moscow's Red Square. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC) A Soviet medium-range ballistic missile on parade in Moscow's Red Square. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC)

The phone call came at an inconvenient time for McGeorge Bundy. The forty-three year-old national security adviser was hosting a sendoff dinner for the new U.S. ambassador to France, Charles “Chip” Bohlen. Bundy excused himself and left his guests to take the call. On the other end of the line was Ray Cline, the CIA’s deputy director of intelligence. He was delivering bad news: “Those things we’ve been worrying about,” he told Bundy, “it looks as though we’ve really got something.” It was just after 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October 15, 1962. The Cuban missile crisis had begun. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Maj. Richard Heyser Flies a U-2 Over Cuba

by James M. Lindsay
A CIA chart of "reconnaissance objectives in Cuba," dated October 5, 1962. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC) A CIA chart of "reconnaissance objectives in Cuba," dated October 5, 1962. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC)

The U-2 is a remarkable plane. It can fly at altitudes above 70,000 feet for hours at a time, and it gave the United States an intelligence advantage from the moment it became operational in 1956. (The U-2 is so good that upgraded versions continue flying missions even today.) Most Americans first learned of the spy plane’s existence in May 1960 when the Soviet military shot down Francis Gary Powers, embarrassing the Eisenhower administration and touching off a crisis in U.S.-Soviet relations. But an even bigger crisis between the two superpowers was triggered by a successful U-2 mission: Maj. Richard Heyser’s flight over Cuba on the morning of October 14, 1962. Read more »

Obama Speaks to the UN General Assembly

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly. (Shannon Stapleton/ courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly. (Shannon Stapleton/ courtesy Reuters)

CFR.org just posted a First Take that I did on President Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly this morning.  The speech was fairly predictable, and it was undoubtedly aimed as much at American voters as it was to the delegates in the auditorium. Obama denounced the recent wave of attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities, defended freedom of speech, called for the condemnation of hatred and intolerance directed at any religion, and warned yet again of the dangers that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Andrei Gromyko Tells a Lie at the United Nations

by James M. Lindsay
President John F. Kennedy and Soviet minister of foreign affairs Andrei Gromyko meet in the Oval Office in March 1961. (Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.) President John F. Kennedy and Soviet minister of foreign affairs Andrei Gromyko meet in the Oval Office in March 1961. (Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)

The UN General Assembly convened this week for its 67th session. Heads of state and foreign ministers will be giving speeches galore. Some will be good. Some will be awful. Most will be forgettable. With any luck, none will be as deceitful as the speech that Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko gave fifty years ago today when he told the General Assembly that the Soviet Union’s military assistance to Cuba posed no threat to the United States. Read more »

The World Next Week: UN General Assembly Meets, Aung San Suu Kyi Visits the United States, and Islands Divide China and Japan

by James M. Lindsay
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with President Barack Obama at the United Nations in New York. (UN Photo/Mark Garten/ courtesy Reuters) UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with President Barack Obama at the United Nations in New York. (UN Photo/Mark Garten/ courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly; Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States; and China and Japan’s bickering over some tiny islands. Read more »