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Free «The Causes, Consequences and Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis» Essay Sample

The history of mankind has known many global crises, armed conflicts and international wars on its path. The international law is a modern framework of the development of current business practices. There is no doubt that international affairs are interconnected and nowadays they are in a great need of the formation of international treaties and conventions. International treaty can be defined as an agreement under the guidelines of the international law, which occurs in the form of a protocol, covenant, or exchange of letters. International business law depends on the formation of new treaties, conventions and any other regulations of international businesses. International organizations are focused on uniformity of their activities and they take great care to abide by the international treaties of the international businesses. In spite of certain structured forms, the rules for treaties’ compilation are the same. Two parties having a common deal should act in compliance with the obligations outlined in the treaties. There are always some unsatisfied with the foreign policy of superpowers in the international arena, and it is not always possible to find a compromise to some acute and difficult for solution problems. Fortunately, the Cuban Missile Crisis, which once became the cornerstone for the most powerful nuclear states’ confrontation, did not turn into the next World War.



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The Cubans call it the October crisis, in the U.S. they call it The Cuban Missile Crisis. In world history and state politics, it is known under the name of the Caribbean crisis.

The root cause of all the postwar conflict “between the USSR and the United States was a "cold war," that started between the West and the East shortly after the Second World War” (Blight and Welch 1990). It is known that, according to historical and reference literature, this term designates the state of military-political confrontation between countries or groups of countries, at whose arms race is used and various measures of economic pressure are applied (the embargo, the economic blockade, etc.) and organization of strategic military bases and staging grounds is performed. The Cold War was actively unleashed in 1949 and was discontinued in the second half of the 80's - early 90's of the XX century. It turned out that the hopes for "Big Three" postwar cooperation were ruined because of the mutual desire of the former anti-fascist coalition to rebuild the world in accordance with their “image and likeness” (Blight and Welch 1990).

Germany partition between the former allies was not conflict-free. On April 4, 1949, the Atlantic Pact signing ceremony took place in Washington. The Soviet Union worked actively on its own power consolidation. In Eastern Europe and China there were pro-communist regimes established. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and military bloc "Warsaw Pact" appeared under the auspices of the Soviet Union. There were too many reasons for the Cold War to start. But the main reason was the mankind, especially the great powers, unwillingness to create a system of international relations based on equality and cooperation. Force still remained the main principle of the world politics organization. The Great powers, primarily the USA and the USSR, could not give up their imperial techniques of national interests’ protection, which were the capture of spheres of influence and unequal treaties imposition. Since there were no historical conditions for other way, the Cold War was inevitable.

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Certainly, that epoch was accompanied with the periods of stabilization, relapse, and "warming". Thus, the 1949-1953 was a period of acute onset, 1953-1957 was the time of Cold War stabilization, the period 1957-1962 entered the history of international relations as a time of conflicts, 1962 -1978 is considered to be a time of “détente” (Marfleet 256-257). It seemed that during the period from 1957 till 1962 the world leaders acted in accordance with the principle of “we need more deep and different conflicts”. Geography of crisis conflicts was Berlin, Cuba, Algeria, Congo, Lebanon and Taiwan. The conflicts of the interblock ground (Berlin and Cuba), were extremely acute. The following facts suggest that both sides - East and West, the USSR and the U.S were responsible for the “Cold War” epoch.

“The source of the Cuban missile crisis was the events of January, 1959, when the guerrilla war on the island of Cuba ended with the fall of pro-American regime” (Blight and Welch 1990). Then the revolutionary-nationalist forces came to power in Cuba. Rebel leader Fidel Castro led a new government. His primary task, according to his assessment, was Cuban independence and social reforms. The implementation of his plans stumbled upon the U.S. repulse, which had its considerable property on the island. Castro implemented the property nationalization and established close relations with the Soviet Union. This caused the resistance movement in Cuba, which relied on the support of the United States and the U.S Cuban community. In 1961, the U.S. organized an armed team intervention to Cuba. On April 1961, with U.S. support, the landing operation was carried out in the Bay of Playa Girón. The landing party consisted of anti-Castro-minded Cuban exiles. Just in a few days, the troopers were crushed. These events accelerated the reforms in Cuba and strengthened its cooperation with the USSR.

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Thus, the radicalization of domestic policy and the USSR rapprochement by the Cuban government, headed by Fidel Castro, instigated American desire to remove disagreeable regime, by means of economic, political and military pressure (the Cuban economy, especially its main industry - sugar, was heavily dependent on U.S. investment and procurement). “The Soviet Union agreed to purchase large amounts of sugar from Cuba and granted Cuba a loan of $ 100 million. In addition, already in the summer of 1960, Moscow made it clear that in the case of military threat, it would consider the possibility of using nuclear weapons to defend the island” (Dobbs 228-234). Obviously, the Soviet leader, NS Khrushchev was engulfed with the idea of having an ally in 90 miles from Moscow’s main ideological enemy and rival such as the United States. He would not hesitate to take a risk of nuclear war for the sake of Fidel Castro regime preserving (Dobbs 228-234).

American President John F. Kennedy, fearing the direct confrontation with the Soviet Union, did not dare to start open intervention; he used the naval blockade of Cuba. Nevertheless, Fidel Castro believed that the threat of invasion still remained. Therefore, in the summer of 1962, a secret agreement on placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba was reached between the leader of Cuba and USSR. Equipment was transported to the island in the holds of merchant fleet ships of the USSR. Khrushchev could not but understand the consequences of this undertaking.

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Soviet military initiatives did not remain unnoticed. U.S. military aircraft tracked the construction of missile silos in Cuba. Photographs were published. The U.S. diplomats at the UN Security Council Meeting regarded them as an evidence of Soviet nuclear weapons placement in close proximity to the U.S. borders. Soviet representatives, contrary to the facts, denied the formidable weapon presence on the island. On October, 22, 1962, the U.S. President John F. Kennedy made an announcement of the utmost importance. He emphasized the necessity of quarantine or a naval blockade establishment and of the U.S. readiness to lead the war with the USSR.

Two superpowers and, eventually, two blocks - NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization - led their forces on alert. The Marine convoy, surrounded by the Soviet submarine, made its way to Cuba; meeting with the U.S. Navy, which blocked Cuba, could become a pretext for war. At any moment the tragic outcome of the incident might happen.

On October 27, Soviet ground-to-air missiles shot down an American reconnaissance plane. The U. S. Military advisers suggested putting an air strike on the island to President John F. Kennedy. The President barely held the line against the military. The Soviet marshals incited Khrushchev to war. On one of those days, Nikita Khrushchev received a letter from Fidel Castro. The Cuban leader in his letter to the Soviet leadership tried to convince them that it was a good time to put an end to imperialism under the pretext of self-defense (Goldman 197).

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Decoupling of the Cuban missile crisis entirely depended on the sanity of two individuals - John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. Chairman Nikita Khrushchev wrote in his letter to the American President on October 27, 1962:

…all countries want to maintain their security. But how are we, the Soviet Union, our Government, to assess your actions which are expressed in the fact that you have surrounded the Soviet Union with military bases; surrounded our allies with military bases; placed military bases literally around our country; and stationed your missile armaments there? This is no secret. Responsible American personages openly declare that it is so. Your missiles are located in Britain, are located in Italy, and are aimed against us. Your missiles are located in Turkey… I think it would be possible to end the controversy quickly and normalize the situation, and then the people could breathe more easily… (Letters between Khrushchev and Kennedy pars. 66).

Due to the personal correspondence of Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy and the establishment of other channels of communication, on October 28, 1962, an agreement on the “withdrawal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba in exchange for a U.S. commitment not to invade the island was reached. United States pledged to remove missile bases in Turkey (as the compensation for the loss of Soviet missile bases in Cuba), lifted the blockade of Cuba and guaranteed non-interference in internal affairs of the island.Thus the most dangerous peak of the crisis period of the Cold War ended” (Goldman 197).

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During the Caribbean crisis, the leaders of both superpowers have shown the ability to compromise. New approaches to solving the problems of world politics appeared. And in spite of the Communist bloc leader Mao Zedong’s assertion that China would survive in the nuclear war and build the world communism, the global science data refute this possibility. Scientists do not see the chance for continuation of life on Earth after a thermonuclear conflict. Millions of people suffered and are suffering from the incurable diseases caused by radiation. Taking this into account and seeking to continue the dialogue between the states, on June 22, 1963 in Geneva, USA and the USSR signed an agreement on establishing a special radio-communication between the Kremlin and the White House. On August 5, 1963 in Moscow, USSR, U.S. and Great Britain signed the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water. This treaty was ratified by over a hundred countries in the world. There was also a Soviet-American agreement on non-placement of any objects carrying “nuclear weapons or other types of mass destruction in outer space” (Goldman 197). Thus, the first round of the so-called détente started.

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Thus, the Cuban Missile Crisis is the event that occurred from 22 till 28 of October 1962. However, the full period of acute confrontation between the superpowers over Cuba lasted from the summer of 1960 till the summer of 1963.

The psychological glow over the crisis, the process of the prevalence of common sense over military ambitions of politicians, a reasonable way out of the heated atmosphere surrounding the island, and finally, the beginning (maybe, still timid one) of the process of détente, had great historical and psychological significance. The signing of treaties was of a great importance; above all, it helped improve the ecological state of the planet. For example, seven years after the Treaty on the completion of nuclear weapon tests in three areas was signed, the content of radioactive isotopes "strontium -90" on the Earth's surface fell in 20 times.

And although the struggle for influence in all regions of the globe between the two superpowers - the USSR and the USA- went on for a long time, the Cuban missile crisis lessons were taken into consideration by both nuclear states, and they no longer drove their opposition to the war line.

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