A Realist Analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis

1867 WordsMay 7, 20138 Pages
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is undeniably a major confrontation of the Cold War. Lasting for 13 days it is arguably the pinnacle of the Cold War. This crisis was a decisive factor in the United States’ (US) decision process of whether to engage in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union (USSR). However the essential fault of both state leaders (J. Kennedy and N. Khrushchev) which created the inevitable crisis was miscommunication. Today we recognise actions taken by both states during the crisis as consistent with a realist point of view. Realism holds great emphasise on the obstacles enforced by human nature and the non-attendance of an international government. Creating international politics an area focused on power and state-interest.…show more content…
This realist fundamental greatly aids in the miscommunications of states, as seen with the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis. An anarchic international system also creates a constant security dilemma between states. In the theology of realism, there is no hierarchy above world powers to instil rules and provide state protection. This lack of security provided by an overruling power encourages states to seek security for themselves. States often believe security lies in the accumulation of power, as seen in the Cuban Missile Crisis. This often causes states to compete for power in order to maintain protection. After the destruction of World War I article 1-26 of the Treaty of Versailles outlines the creation of the League of Nations. This was an attempt at creating an international government to which all states would answer to. However it relied on the willingness of world powers to cede a degree of power to the League of Nations, which a realism regime would not allow. The United States submission for protection to the United nations during the Cuban Missile Crisis and their ineffectiveness, further supports the notion of an anarchic international system. After the United Nations failure to protect its members, the United States then created their own security in the form of a naval blockade. A letter sent by Kennedy to Khrushchev, communicated to the USSR to tread carefully.
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