Sad and Luminous Days by James G. Blight download in ePub, pdf, iPad
The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dangerous moment in modern history and resulted in a changed worldview for the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba. Both countries ignored Cuba during the crisis, and Castro's suspicion that the Soviets were treating Cuba as a bargaining chip were confirmed early in during his trip to the Soviet Union. For them, it was not the threat of force that ended the crisis. This challenging account of the missile crisis and its aftermath casts fascinating light on Fidel Castro and his Cuba. He learned inadvertently then about the secret agreement between Kennedy and Khrushchev to exchange U.
Cuba viewed the crisis from the vantage point of a small power, for whom an invasion by conventional means would be as threatening as a nuclear confrontation would be to a superpower. Therefore, I strongly believe that the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a very high risk of a potential nuclear catastrophe. It had been transformed into a strategic U.
The Soviet Union's acquiescence suggested that it would not come to Cuba's assistance were the United States to attack the island. We know we all make mistakes. In contrast to the Americans, the Soviets did not leave this episode with a belief that crises could be managed. Sad and Luminous Days will provide an important counterpoint to the stream of simplistic books about the missile crisis that are sure to appear.
This wonderful book amply demonstrates, however, that this view of empathy is false and derives from a fundamental misunderstanding of what empathy actually entails. The most frequently chanted lesson of the missile crisis is derived from the traditional U. The Kennedy-Khrushchev agreement seemed to place Cuba in a perilous situation.
Drawing on newly declassified documents from the U. Instead, the traditional view of what is needed in a crisis-toughness and inflexibility-seemingly has guided U.
Though some in the Kremlin may have derived a lesson similar to U. Sad and Luminous Days demonstrates why the two authors are pioneers in writing Cold War history with newly declassified documents and sets the standard for the rest of us. This splendid book shows starkly the deep differences between Cuba and the Soviet Union during the half-dozen years that followed the missile crisis. They did not fear only for their immediate safety and were not worried merely about losing a battle in Cuba.
They would result in the destruction of entire nations. But in Sad and Luminous Days, we learn the many ways the Cubans and Russians misunderstood each other, and how those misunderstandings made the crisis as dangerous as it was.
Cuban leaders accurately perceived that the United States was trying to overthrow their government. Leaders in the United States and the Soviet Union experienced the second kind of fear during the missile crisis, which in fact was what enabled them to reach a peaceful solution. Blight is professor of international relations at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies and is the author or coauthor of more than a dozen books on U. This thoughtful and learned book is also a great read.
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