After the Cuban Crisis
FROM THE VERY beginning of the crisis over the Soviet missiles in Cuba, the Kennedy administration drew a sharp line between its attitude toward the Castro regime on the one hand, and Khrushchev’s effort to extend the military front lines of the cold war into the Western Hemisphere on the other. If this distinction had been made some time ago, we might have been spared the enormous amount of nonsense uttered on the subject of Cuba in the past few years. The nonsense had consequences which were more than verbal, the major one being the Bay of Pigs invasion-a venture that looks even more irrational today in the aftermath of the missiles crisis than when it was undertaken.
Informed as well as popular opinion both in the United States and, to a surprising degree, abroad supported the President’s stand last October. The only two groups with an interest in blurring the sharpness and specificity of his position have been the pro-Castro left and the frenetic anti-Communist crusaders of the right. The former wish to keep alive the belief that the United States continues to be committed to destroying the Castro regime-because it is Communist, or “socialist,” or even because it liquidated American business interests in Cuba. The Soviet arms shipments can therefore be represented as a legitimate defense of “the revolution,” and the crucial difference their presence in Cuba made to cold war politics can be minimized. The right-wingers, by contrast, identify Castro with the “international Communist conspiracy” and are anxious to strike a blow against him by overthrowing Cuban Communism whether or not there are Soviet missiles on the island.
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