By: Sophia Stroud | October 27, 2022
The 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis this year coincides with a world again in a moment of impeding nuclear conflict with the perilous escalation of the situation in Ukraine. The Cuban Missile Crisis has been viewed as the defining confrontation of the modern age, the world’s closest brush with nuclear annihilation, until now. But “the war in Ukraine presents perils of at least equal magnitude.” The world is again on the brink of nuclear war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said bluntly “there are ‘similarities’ [of the Ukraine War] to the Cuban crisis,” mainly because Russia was now threatened by Western weapons in Ukraine. But how can we get a deeper understanding besides this surface comparison? Now seems like a good time to analyze, not what the lessons of the Cuban missile crisis are for us now, but what, if anything, have we learned from these lessons that we have supposedly have already identified by now, far past half a century later? Have these lessons really taught us anything or are “the Lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis [Actually] Pretty Useless Right Now“?