The Realist Perspective of the Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Cuban Missile Crisis lasted two weeks in the midst of the Cold War, and brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever before. In October of 1962 multiple nuclear missiles of the Soviet Union’ s were discovered in Cuba, a mere 90 miles south of the United States. Given the communist ties between Cuba and the USSR, this poised a considerable threat to our national security. Throughout the 14 days the two leaders, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev struggled to clearly understand each others‘ genuine intentions. Actions taken by each state during this crisis demonstrates the realist point of view, in a variety of ways. The fundamentals of Realism will be explored and explained along with actions taken during this crisis from a realist point of view.
The Cuban Missile Crisis exhibits the struggle for power between the two dominant powers of the time. The realist theory believes that world politics is a repetitive struggle for power and or influence. Power, in politics is largely perceived as influence and military capability. Power in mass amounts are located in objects such as nuclear missiles that have an immense influence on others. (Schmidt, 2007; Sterling-Folker & Shinko, 2007). This is clearly depicted through the actions taken by both leaders, as the simple placement of a missile had such a tremendous effect.
One of Realist theory fundamental pillars is that states are sovereign, and because there is no higher authority to answer to, the cycle for power is never-ending. This could explain why a conflict of this magnitude would occur only 15 years after World War 2. Fidel Castro declared in 1961 to be a Communist until his death, the very next month the US withdrew diplomatic recognition of the Cuban government ...

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