In October 1962, the United States came perilously close to an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. I recently watched the movie “Thirteen Days” which chronicled the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It reminded me of current events and even future events that can affect the very lives of every person in this country and every person on this planet. Personality, temperament, ideology, and guts all play a part in who should be the President as shown during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
John F. Kennedy was up against his own military advisers and cabinet who were literally looking for a reason to go to war. Many of them were trying to save face after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion that occurred several months prior. Our military leaders were trigger happy and it took all of the diplomacy that John Kennedy and his inner circle (Bobby Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, and Kenneth O’Donnell) could muster to control those who were gunning for war. JFK’s inner circle was hand picked by Kennedy for a reason and he proved that he was a good judge of character.
I had a major revelation about our current day situation while I was watching this movie. What would happen today if a major world event put the U.S. on the brink of a World War? Better yet, compare the differences between what would happen if it were John McCain or Barack Obama at the helm.
Barack Obama is extremely thorough and doesn’t make a move without going through an intense thought process. He is not a hot-head, does not make quick decisions, and has a pure belief in diplomacy. If Barack Obama were President in 1962, I firmly and categorically believe that he would have made the same or similar decision as John Kennedy, even though the people around him who were not part of his trusted inner circle were making the case for war. I also believe that Barack Obama would behave similarly if a crisis like that happened today. He has the right temperament; he won’t fly off the handle, or let his ego or his anger affect his decisions.
John McCain is a hot head, makes quick decisions, and wants to get to the finish line fast, at all costs. John McCain has a big ego and believes in war. He says war is a last resort, but I think John McCain’s decisions would be based more on his pride than on what is right. And as for diplomacy, have you seen John McCain in an interview or on a stage. Whether it is one-on-one or in front of a crowd, John McCain is uncomfortable, squirmy, shifty-eyed, and jittery. When talking temperament, I don’t think I could trust John McCain to have the self-discipline and humility it takes to be diplomatic. In his own words he has a temper and is famous for that temper in Washington D.C. In the end it was diplomacy that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the time America didn’t know all the details and it appeared that it was just America’s pure might that ended it, but that wasn’t really the case.
Watching “Thirteen Days” scared me. I did not realize how close we came to a disastrous outcome. And I could not help but put our candidates in the position of John F. Kennedy during that time and wonder what it would have been like. Please watch this movie and ask yourself the same questions. If you do I think you may come to some of the same conclusions that I did.
We need a steady hand, and a calm head, in the oval office. Some say that Barack Obama is just a good speaker, but in reality people communicate with words, whether it be face to face, on paper, on in a crowd. And if you use the crisis in 1962 as an example, in the end it was advice from Kennedy and his confidantes and the right choice of words exchanged between Adlai Stevenson and Soviet representative, Valerian Zorin, in front of the United Nations, that ended this conflict without a bullet,or a bomb.