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Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis
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On October 22, 1962, American President John F. Kennedy addressed the world with beginning remarks: 

Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on [Cuba]. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western hemisphere. 
This would mark the climax event in the escalating arms race in the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, known today as the Cuban Missile Crisis

In fact, America had been aware of Soviet Russia’s activities in Cuba for over a month prior to President Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis speech. On September 2nd, 1962, Soviet Russia sent arms to Cuba. In declassified memorandum to the acting director of the CIA, Ray S. Cline writes, “U-2 photography of 29 August confirms extensive Soviet military deliveries to Cuba in recent weeks. Surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites, guided missile boats, and additional land armaments were observed.” (p. 34, CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis)

It has been theorized that Soviet Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev never intended to fire the missiles in Cuba, but rather used their placement there as a deterrence for the nuclear arms that the Americans already had set in place in Italy and Turkey. In having over 100 tactical nuclear weapons deployed to Cuba, Soviet Russia might be in a position to force American weapons from threatening their borders.
Despite the immense pressure from their governments to not do so, both leaders intended on de-escalating the arms race. President Kennedy seemed to preempt Khrushchev with his October public address. America put the onus on Soviet Russia to back down publicly: 

I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace, and to stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination and to join in an historic effort to end the perilous arms race and transform the history of man.

This crisis is a key example of the game theory, the mathematical study of the interaction between rational decision-makers. For further accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis and game theory, check out Cuban Missile Crisis: Applying Strategic Culture to Game Theory by Chelsea E. Carattini and The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Chronology of Events.

By Thad Higa

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