Volume 1, Number 23 -- December 16 , 2008
Miss Porter's School (just a few miles from here) teaches that pearls
are always appropriate. I guess. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
(left, with John Jr.) was Class of '47. Portrait by Richard Avedon.
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Great Address at American University -- Part 2
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Unless you think it's sane to fear communism and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics so much that you do everything you can to start a "preemptive" nuclear war with the USSR. Sure, the Soviets had atomic bombs and the ability to drop them on the USA. But don't you see? We have more atomic bombs than they do! We can win the Cold War! Once and for all! Now is the time! God bless America!
I'm making this up, right? I wish! Seriously, they "reasoned" that the US could destroy nearly all of the USSR's industrial capacity and kill 150 million Soviet citizens at the cost of only 40 million American dead. I'm not sure if they factored the effects of radioactive fallout into their equations. Probably not.
They thought that they could trap or trick the young and inexperienced President into touching off this war, which would begin with the bombing of Cuba and escalate into nuclear war with the Soviet Union. They came extremely close to trapping him during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. The world was saved (I guess) by the Celtic stubbornness of Kennedy--with a surprising and huge amount of help from his nominal enemy and secret pen-pal, Nikita S. Khrushchev.
Had Truman or Clinton or The Little Cowboy been President in 1962, instead of Kennedy, today we'd all be speaking Cockroach.
The truth was much more interesting--and improbable--than this.
Long before the missile crisis, Kennedy had become estranged from his national security state. Now he declared all-out war on them. He announced this "war" to the world in his great commencement address at American University, June 10, 1963.
Here's my version of what happened next. The national security state reminded Kennedy of who's in charge with three assassination attempts in November. The third one worked. The powers-that-be of the Soviet Union removed Khrushchev from his dual office (Premier of USSR and Chairman of the Communist Party of the USSR) in October 1964.
The speech at American University touched on civil rights (hear this week's
excerpt). The next day, Kennedy spoke to the nation on that subject.. Early in
his term, Kennedy was not an especially strong civil rights advocate. Later
he came to realize that disarmament and world peace were impossible
without civil rights. Conversely, Martin Luther King, Jr., came to realize
that civil rights were impossible without disarmament.
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On January 28, 2008, Sen. Edward Kennedy (JFK's brother), Rep. Patrick Kennedy (nephew) and Caroline Kennedy (daughter) formally endorsed Barack Obama to be the Democratic candidate for President. They chose American University as the place to make their announcement. Just coincidence or symbolic statement?