Good reads: a 'hidden' nuclear crisis, how China sees the US, and 'Chilecon Valley'
This week's long-form good reads may change your perspective on which country is rolling out the welcome mat for foreign entrepreneurs, the 'end' of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and how China views the US.
The world thought that the Cuban missile crisis ended in October 1962 when the United States lifted its quarantine around Cuba and the Soviet Union withdrew its medium-range missiles. However, “the secret crisis still simmered” through November, writes Svetlana Savranskaya in Foreign Policy . Unknown to American intelligence, the Soviets had also delivered almost 100 tactical weapons including 80 nuclear front cruise missiles, 12 nuclear warheads for dual-use Luna short-range rockets, and 6 nuclear bombs for IL-28 bombers.Skip to next paragraph
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“Even with the pullout of the strategic missiles, the tacticals would stay, and Soviet documentation reveals the intention of training the Cubans to use them,” writes Ms. Savranskaya, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive.
Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan was tasked with handling the delicate negotiations with Cuba and an angry Fidel Castro, who found out about the US-Soviet agreement on the radio. Savranskaya includes a transcript from the Nov. 22, 1962, meeting between Mr. Castro and Mr. Mikoyan in which Castro expresses his humiliation: “ ‘What do you think we are? A zero on the left, a dirty rag. We tried to help the Soviet Union to get out of a difficult situation.’
“In desperation, Castro almost begged Mikoyan to leave the tactical warheads in Cuba, especially because the Americans were not aware of them...,” Savranskaya writes. “But Mikoyan rejected Castro’s pleas and cited a (nonexistent) Soviet law proscribing the transfer of nuclear weapons to third countries.
Castro had a suggestion: ‘So you have a law that prohibits transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to other countries? It’s a pity. And when are you going to repeal that law?’ Mikoyan was non-committal: ‘We will see. It is our right [to do so].’”
Understanding China’s perspective
China’s economic, cultural, and security goals do not need to be at odds with those of the West. When US policymakers understand how Beijing policymakers perceive US words and actions, a more polite and positive relationship could result.
In their essay “How China Sees America,” Foreign Affairs writers Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell examine the perspectives of Chinese analysts and political strategists in order to understand how China perceives US actions and promises. The US, according to Beijing, is omnipresent in both its internal and external affairs, bullying it on cultural issues, trade agreements, and security issues. Chinese analysts also see the US through the Marxist political thought, “which posits that capitalist powers seek to exploit the rest of the world,” they write.