Realist Perpective on the Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Realist Perspective on the
Cuban Missile Crisis

In October of 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union reached a near-nuclear experience when in a short fourteen days; Russia was caught building nuclear missile bases in Cuba. With the Second World War just barely in the past, the United States was still on their toes making sure they were in the clear. When they sent the U-2 spy plane to monitor Cuba they found missile bases that were armed and ready to wipe out the western hemisphere. Considering the military, economy, and diplomacy of the U.S., Kennedy could take no chances. The realist perspective focuses on the conflict and states and the manifestation of power, which while looking at the Cuban Missile Crisis, will give one the best objective looks at the situation.

When considering why the United States felt threatened by Russia’s placement of nuclear missile bases in Cuba one must look into the security dilemma, the actions one country may do to defend itself may threaten another. When Russia set up missile bases in Cuba, it was to defend Russia from the Western Hemisphere, in case the United States decided to attack the S.U. The Russians had considered recent events, World War II and the Cold War nearby, as well as recent U.S. actions, U.S. missiles in Turkey (which the U.S. saw as defense), and needed a way to defend itself. Although Russia saw this as a defensive move, the U.S. looked at it as a threat, a missile that could reach “every major city but Seattle,” because the U.S. doesn’t know Russia’s intentions. Because both Russia and the U.S. were superpowers, both thought the same way; the other’s intentions are offensive and this is because rather than focusing on negotiations (liberal) concerning intentions, they focus on capabilities and their outcomes.

Then to see why the U.S. decided to engage in possible war with Russia rather than align with the Russians is easily seen form the Realist perspective; the states must go against...
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