(This November 24 story corrects to remove New York-based from description of Beirut Institute in fourth paragraph.)
Vanishing current account surplus may help Xi peel support away from Trump
THE FIRST ACCUSATION, which is the source of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, was in 2012 under U.S. President Barack Obama, and it alleged that Sergei Magnitsky had been a whistleblower in Russia who was a lawyer who uncovered corruption in Russia’s Government and was imprisoned for that and beaten to death there for that.
Magnitsky was, in fact, no whistleblower, and no lawyer, but the accountant of American billionaire Bill Browder, who had been charged by the Russian Government (and who then fled Russia) as having tax-defrauded the Russian Government of $230 million. And, Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care of his pancreatitis by the medical personnel there, not (as Browder alleged) to any “beating.”
THE SECOND ACCUSATION, in 2014, is that “Russia stole Crimea.” This charge is the source of additional (and more severe) sanctions against Russis, and also of NATO’s massing of troops and weapons on and near Russia’s border, which are massed there allegedly to ‘protect’ European nations against ‘Russian aggression’ (such as ‘seizing Crimea’). It’s all founded on basic lies regarding Crimea and Ukraine. A fuller presentation of that case is here. But what constitutes the most remarkable evidence of all in this entire matter are two crucial phone-conversations. The first is the 27 January 2014 phone-conversation whereby the chief agent, Victoria Nuland, whom Obama had assigned to organize the coup to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych, gave the order as to whom Yanukovych’s replacement would be. This call is grossly misrepresented if not entirely ignored by the U.S. regime’s ‘journalists’ and ‘historians’. Nuland famously said there “Fuck the EU” (for the EU’s wanting a more moderate and less-nazi alternative to be selected). That much of the call was reported in the Western press (though with virtually no context as to what it meant and why she had said it), but the rest — the historically crucial part of it — wasn’t. This historically mega-important phone-call, which was posted to the internet a week later, on February 4th — three weeks before the man whom she named there received (just as she had instructed) the appointment to lead the post-coup Ukraine — isn’t even being denied by Washington. Instead, it’s either ignored by them, or else totally misrepresented, in the ‘historical’ accounts by the agents of the U.S. regime.
Especially remarkable about this phone-conversation, to select Ukraine’s new leader, is that it wasn’t between Ukrainians, but was instead between two Americans, selecting the person who would soon be appointed by the U.S. regime to rule Ukrainians; it actually obliterated Ukrainian national sovereignty. Nuland told Pyatt not to appoint the moderate Vitally Klitschko, the EU’s favorite, to become Ukraine’s new leader, but instead to appoint the rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Here, then, is the most crucial part of this historically crucial phone-conversation, the instruction she gave there that set “the New Cold War” — the movement toward World War III — overtly into motion (after its covert start on the night of 24 February 1990):
Nuland: … Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience the governing experience; he’s the… what he needs is Klitsch [the leading moderate] and Tiahnybok [an admirer of Hitler] on the outside; he [Yats] needs to be talking to them four times a week you know. I just think Klitch going in, he’s going to be, at that level, working for Yatsenyuk; it’s just not going to work.
Pyatt: Yeah [you’re right], no [I was wrong to think that Klitschko should become the new ruler], I think that’s right. Ok. Good.
Then, she referred, in the call, to her agent (just like she was Obama’s agent), Jeff Feltman, who had been assigned to persuade the U.N.’s Ban ki-Moon and his envoy handling Ukraine — who was Holland’s former Ambassador to Ukraine, the anti-Russian and pro-American Robert Serry — to go along with the U.S., in this context:
I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry; did I write you that this morning?
Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.
Nuland: Ok. He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.
Feltman chose Serry to become officially appointed on 5 March 2014 by Ban ki-Moon to “mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” (Whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ever knew that the U.N.’s ‘mediator’ had been chosen by Obama’s people, is unknown; presumably, he knew of the Nuland-Pyatt phone-conversation; but certainly Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, wasn’t comfortable about Serry’s representing the U.N. on this matter; and Crimeans also were outright hostile toward Serry.)
In other words: this was a set-up deal, set up in Washington, to create — and with the U.N.’s acceptance — a rabidly anti-Russian government, right on Russia’s doorstep, in adjoining Ukraine. Would the U.N. have accepted Russia’s replacing Mexico’s Government in a bloody coup and installing a rabidly anti-U.S. regime there? Did the U.S. in 1962 accept Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, which is 100 miles away from the U.S.? Of course not. Why should Russia do that, in 2014 — or ever?
Then, in a phone-call on February 26th, occurred the second important item of evidence. The foreign-affairs chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, was confidentially informed by her investigator, Urmas Paet, that the new Government in Ukraine was not actually the result of what the democratically elected Government had done, but was instead a coup by “the new coalition” government that had just succeeded at overthrowing the elected Government. This is from the transcript:
What was quite disturbing, the same oligarch [Poroshenko — and so when he then became Ukraine’s President three months later, he already knew this] told that well, all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, [this will shock Ashton, who thought that Yanukovych had masterminded the killings] that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides [so, Poroshenko himself knows that his regime is based on a false-flag U.S.-controlled coup d’etat against his predecessor, Yanukovych — and he even said as much]
Well, that’s yes, …
So that and then she [Dr. Olga Bolgomets] also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can, you know, say that it’s the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition that they don’t want to investigate, what exactly happened; so that now there is stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.
Notice here that Paet had tactfully avoided saying that Ashton’s assumption that it had been Yanukovych was false; instead, he totally ignored her having suggested that, and he here simply said that the evidence went totally in the opposite direction, the direction that Poroshenko himself knew to be true, that the guilty party was “the new coalition,” which Paet said nothing about, and Ashton asked him no questions about it or about what country had actually organized it. Ashton responded:
I think that we do want to investigate.
That sentiment on her part lasted, however, only about one second.
I mean I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh?
Ashton here seemed to have felt outright embarrassed, and she thus ended in a “Gosh” that was almost inaudible, as if a question, and then she immediately proceeded simply to ignore this crucial matter entirely. All of the evidence suggests that she was exceedingly reluctant to believe that in the overthrow, the bad guys had actually been on the anti-Yanukovych side. The overthrow of Yanukovych has since been called “the most blatant coup in history”.
On the day when the coup peaked, 20 February 2014, there was an event which turned the residents of Crimea even more against the overthrow-Yanukovych demonstrators than Crimeans already were (and Crimea had voted over 75% for Yanukovych, so they were strongly against this overthrow): it was “The Anti-Crimean Pogrom that Sparked Crimea’s Breakaway”.
Almost immediately after Yatsenyuk became the leader of Ukraine, he sacked the existing three Deputy Defense Ministers, on March 5th, and replaced them with three rabidly anti-Russian neo-Nazis, who were committed to his bombing-policy, to eliminate enough Yanukovych-voters so that the new Government, in future elections, would be able to be a continuation of Yatsenyuk’s instead of a restoration of the one that had preceded Yatsenyuk’s. The person who was made the Minister of Defense, Mikhail Koval, announced his intention to ethnically cleanse from southeastern Ukraine the “subhumans” who voted for Yanukovych, who will “be resettled in other regions,” meaning either Russia (if Russia accepts these Ukrainian refugees) or else concentration-camps inside Ukraine (and then perhaps death). “There will be a thorough filtration of people.” (That English translation has since been taken down; so, instead, try this and this.) Their property will be confiscated, and “Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine.” That’s the euphemism for the ethnic cleansing, and mass-theft, which followed. And here is more of that, and more, and more, of this U.S.-imposed nazism. In other words, Obama’s rulers of Ukraine were rewarding ethnic-cleansing, and were offering their soldiers the opportunity to grab legally the property of their victims.
On 15 November 2017, two of the foreign mercenaries who had served as snipers in the Ukrainian coup confessed on Italian television and described how they had come to be hired for the job, by Mikheil Saakashvili (who is a U.S. Deep State asset).
The result of the U.S. regime’s takeover of Ukraine’s Government is this. And a generation of young Ukrainians are now being taught nazism, right on the border of Russia — Russia being the one country that in World War II had done the most to conquer the Nazis. The U.S. Government has flipped to pro-nazi. And time after time after time, the U.S. leads the three-or-fewer nations that vote at the U.N. against condemning nazism. That’s right: America, which under President FDR had fought against the Nazis and the other fascist regimes, now was and is itself the world’s leading racist-fascist, or ideologically nazi (but this time mainly against Russians, instead of mainly against Jews), regime, itself. (In fact, today’s America is allied with the ideologically racist-fascist, or nazi, anti-Palestinian, Israeli regime. And, it’s allied also with the nazi — but anti-Shiite — Saud regime, which was founded in 1744 on the basis of hating Shiites.)
Ukraine’s economy was destroyed by the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime. Until around 2013, Ukraine’s economy was fairly stable, but then the coup-operation, which had begun in Washington in 2011, for regime-change in both Ukraine and Syria, culminated successfully in Ukraine in February 2014. Ukraine’s national debt then nearly quadrupled, between 2013 and 2017, while Ukraine’s GDP simultaneously declined 39%:
Ukraine: National debt from 2012 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Ukraine: GDP from 2012 to 2017
Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic. The opposition to this operation was democratic. That’s not to say the crowd who had campaigned at the Maidan Square against Ukraine’s endemic corruption were anti-democratic, but that their leaders were — and so Ukraine is even more corrupt now than it was under Yanukovych. Four days before the Nuland-anointed Yatsenyuk left Ukraine’s Government, he tweeted on 10 April 2016, “I thank the colleagues who’ve acted honestly and selflessly. The last 2 Govs [his and Poroshenkos] were unique. They were the first manifestations of New Ukraine.” Look at the heap of contempt which his former followersheaped there upon that tweet. The pro-U.S.-regime site Euractive noted on that same day, that “his party’s approval rating has slumped to just two percent” and blamed it not on his ethnic-cleansing campaign and his sinking his country into hock to foreign investors in order to fund that war against the regions that had voted 90% for Yanukovych, but instead mainly “because of the painful transition away from a state-sustained economy” — not enough privatization, not enough graft for insider-investors to have been able to suck Ukrainians even drier than they’ve done.
All indications are that, right after the February 2014 coup, over 90% of Crimeans wanted to become Russians again, and that over 90% are happy today to be Russians again (which Crimea had been until 1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine). But the U.S. regime and its allies demand that Crimeans be taken over by the nazi racist anti-Russian and anti-Crimean regime the U.S. installed in Ukraine. The right of self-determination of peoples is honored (at least verbally) in The West for Spain’s Catalonians and for UK’s Scotts, but not at all for Crimeans, whom The West is instead determined to, essentially, destroy, by diktat (which is what the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime wants to do to Crimeans).
THE THIRD ACCUSATION is that Russia’s Government, if not Putin himself, surreptitiously disclosed through “hacks” supplied to Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton’s and her campaign’s emails, and that Russia otherwise also campaigned, via Facebook ads, to make Donald Trump win against Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks said that the emails actually arrived via leaks not hacks, and that the leaks were from inside the Democratic Party, not from anyone outside the United States. Regarding the Facebook ads, the New York Times on 20 September 2018, bannered a 9,700-word article, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far”, and buried 92% of the way through it, as merely a clause in a sentence, the crucial fact that “no public evidence has emerged showing that his [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia in the election interference or accepted Russian money.” This startlingly anomalous declaration by their reporters was publicly noted to be anomalous, on the very same day as the article was published, when the “Moon of Alabama” blogger headlined “NYT Admits That Its ‘Mountain of Evidence’ For Russian Collusion Is Smaller Than A Molehill”. Then, on October 1st appeared, from the “Alternative Insight” blogger, “The New York Times Plots the 2016 Election”, opening:
The article starts with
“ON AN OCTOBER AFTERNOON BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background…”
The paragraph ends with
“In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared.”
Note that before any facts are presented, the reader is confronted with a conclusion “Moscow had worked to assist” in Trump’s victory.
“Police never identified who had hung the banners, but there were clues. The earliest promoters of the images on Twitter were American-sounding accounts, including @LeroyLovesUSA, later exposed as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters.”
Although described “as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters,” the banners had nothing to do with the election, and the second banner was unfurled after the election. Why conclude they are Russian fakes? Could not these individuals be operating similar to many persons who have Facebook accounts, hiding their real names when commenting on controversial issues?
These lines are followed by leaps into fantasy.
“The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”
How do a few unknown persons, supposedly living in St. Petersburg, suddenly morph into “The Kremlin?” How could, “The banners be intended as visual victory laps?” How is this, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history?” A succeeding paragraph proves the article is a bundle of unproven statements. Before presenting any facts, and using conjecture, other conclusions are impressed into the readers’ minds.
“But to travel back to 2016 and trace the major plotlines of the Russian attack is to underscore what we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”
What are “the major plotlines,” of what “Russian attack,” that makes it certain that “The Russians carried out a landmark (ED: Why landmark?) intervention?”
Where has there been any evidence of “Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin?”
And, then, on November 2nd, appeared, from Gareth Porter, at Consortium News, a total mathematical disproof of the Times’s central allegation — of “The Times‘ claim last month that Russian Facebook posts reached nearly as many Americans as actually voted in the 2016 election.” He headlined “33 Trillion More Reasons Why The New York Times Gets it Wrong on Russia-gate” and displayed the mathematical impossibility of what the Facebook-ads hypothesis (which was accepted unquestioningly by the Times) asserts. He also exposed that the Facebook-ads hypothesis is based on misrepresenting what Facebook had actually asserted:
The newspaper said: “Even by the vertiginous standards of social media, the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone.” The paper argued that 126 million was “not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential election.” …
The newspaper failed to tell their readers that Facebook account holders in the United States had been “served” 33 trillion Facebook posts during that same period — 413 million times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russian company.
What Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2017 is a far cry from what the Times claims. “Our best estimate is that approximately 126,000 million people may have been served one of these [private Russian company, Internet Research Agency, ‘IRA’-generated] stories at some time during the two year period,” Stretch said.
Stretch was expressing a theoretical possibility rather than an established fact. He said an estimated 126 million Facebook members might have gotten at least one story from the IRA –- not over the ten week election period, but over 194 weeks during the two years 2015 through 2017—including a full year after the election.
That means only an estimated 29 million FB users may have gotten at least one story in their feed in two years. The 126 million figure is based only on an assumption that they shared it with others, according to Stretch.
Facebook didn’t even claim most of those 80,000 IRA posts were election–related. It offered no data on what proportion of the feeds to those 29 million people were.
In addition, Facebook’s Vice President for News Feed, Adam Moseri, acknowledged in 2016 that FB subscribers actually read only about 10 percent of the stories Facebook puts in their News Feed every day. The means that very few of the IRA stories that actually make it into a subscriber’s news feed on any given day are actually read.
And now, according to the further research, the odds that Americans saw any of these IRA ads—let alone were influenced by them—are even more astronomical. In his Oct. 2017 testimony, Stretch said that from 2015 to 2017, “Americans using Facebook were exposed to, or ‘served,’ a total of over 33 trillion stories in their News Feeds.”
To put the 33 trillion figure over two years in perspective, the 80,000 Russian-origin Facebook posts represented just .0000000024 of total Facebook content in that time.
Shane and Mazzetti did not report the 33 trillion number even though The New York Times’ own coverage of that 2017 Stretch testimony explicitly stated, “Facebook cautioned that the Russia-linked posts represented a minuscule amount of content compared with the billions of posts that flow through users’ News Feeds everyday.”
The Times‘ touting of the bogus 126 million out 137 million voters, while not reporting the 33 trillion figure, should vie in the annals of journalism as one of the most spectacularly misleading uses of statistics of all time.
The U.S. Government routinely interferes in elections all over the world, but builds mountains out of molehills of ‘evidence’ to charge that Russia’s Government is the global threat to democracy, and especially to America’s (fake) ‘democracy’. And that’s lie #3.
And, of course, the U.S. regime also had lied its way into invading Iraq in 2003, and lies today to allege that “Iran is the top state-sponsor of terrorism” and so much else; so that anyone who still trusts what the U.S. regime says, would have to be a fool. The New York Times (which participated so prominently in stenographically spreading the U.S. regime’s lies about Iraq in 2002 and 2003) is, no less now than it was then, an ongoing insult to the intelligence of its subscribers, but this time spreading lies especially against Russia. The newspaper’s subscribers didn’t cancel their subscriptions in revolt; that newspaper remains very successful, as if routinely lying to ‘justify’ invasion is okay.
The U.S. public believe the same ‘news’-media which had lied America into earlier invasions and mass-murders — wars and coups. it’s all of the U.S. major ‘news’-media, and most even of the ‘alternative’ ones (but certainly not the one you’re reading here). That’s why, when Trump’s U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, on 5 April 2018, addressed students at Duke University, and said (at 46:50 in the video) “Russia’s never going to be our friend,” she wasn’t booed by anybody. And she continued, “You haven’t seen the end of what this administration will do to Russia.” In other words: she preached that hostility toward “Russia” is ‘good’. The students and the faculty seemed totally supportive of her nationalistic holier-than-thou lying pontifications. All of the questions, which were asked of her, presumed to be true all of the lies that she had stated against Russia, and against Bashar al-Assad and so much else. She easily fooled these people, because all of the major media already had fooled them, just like had been done about Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Fools never really learn, because they always already ‘know’ (the lies).
* * *
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works team has officially started making the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) plane, which could take to the skies in the next several years.
The defense company is building the QueSST for NASA’s Low-Boom Flight Demonstration program. The space agency has just confirmed in a press release its continued support of the plane, regarding funding, and established a timeline for the first flight in 2021.
“This aircraft has the potential to transform aviation in the United States and around the world by making faster-than-sound air travel overland possible for everyone,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“We can’t wait to see this bird fly!”
The QueSST’s long, slender design will allow it to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump.
Lockheed said the plane would fly at an altitude of 55,000 feet and reach speeds of 940 mph.
The supersonic aircraft will be flown above several US cities to measure the public’s reaction of the noise – data that will then help government regulators establish new rules for commercial supersonic air travel over land.
“This is a monumental milestone for the project,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics. “I’m extremely proud of the team for its hard work getting to this point, and we all look forward to watching this aircraft take shape and then take flight.”
Skunk Works and NASA have collaborated for many years on finding the perfect design for commercial supersonic aircraft. Along with noise constraints, supersonic planes have been prohibitive to fly over the US.
British Airways and Air France supersonic Concorde planes flew from New York to London in under 3.5 hours. The Concorde stopped flying in 2003 following a fatal crash in Paris.
The QueSST is currently being manufactured at the Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California, and in the next several years, could be ready to revolutionize commercial flight.
We know about Dallas, but JFK was almost assassinated during the Cuban missile crisis…
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, shattered the American psyche.
This traumatic event has been repeatedly revisited and commemorated, but little attention has been paid to how close Kennedy came to being killed slightly more than a year before his death in Dallas. Had the president been assassinated at this time, it probably would have led to a catastrophic war between the United States and the Soviet Union that would have totally changed the face of history.
While paying a visit to the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, in Springfield, Ill., at the height of the Cuban missile crisis on Oct. 19, 1962, a gunman had Kennedy in his telescopic sight as he was riding in a slow-moving open limousine. The scenario was eerily similar to what occurred in Dallas the following year, but for whatever reason, the Springfield gunman held his fire, sparing the nation and the world a potential assassination.
Kennedy was in Springfield to campaign for Democrats running for House and Senate seats in the 1962 midterm elections. Before delivering a public speech at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the president paid a private visit to Lincoln’s tomb. On his way to the tomb, an “employee of the Illinois Department of Public Safety” noticed two men along the president’s motorcade route with a rifle.
According to the Secret Service report, the alert public safety official “saw a rifle barrel with telescopic sight protruding from a second-story window. The local police took into custody and delivered to Special Agents of the Secret Service” two men who were brothers-in-law.
The Secret Service noted that “a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and a full box of .22 long rifle ammunition was seized.”
The men admitted “pointing the gun out the window on the parade route. However, they claimed that they had merely been testing the power of the telescopic sight to determine if it would be worthwhile to remove it in order to get a better look at the President when the motorcade returned.
As there was no evidence to the contrary, and neither man had any previous record, prosecution was declined.”
These two men had a loaded rifle pointed at the president during his motorcade route, but decided not to pull the trigger. Secret Service stepped in to apprehend the men before the president’s limousine passed the men for a second time. For a brief moment, however, the president’s life hung in the balance based on the decision of a 20-year-old not to pull the trigger.
There is no evidence to suggest a connection between these two men and the Soviet Union. But at the time, any violence waged against Kennedy probably would have set off war. After all, this near miss in Springfield occurred three days after Kennedy was informed by the Central Intelligence Agency that the Soviet Union was constructing nuclear missile sites in Cuba. The Kennedy administration had been denying rumors of any such construction for months, and the president was shaken by such a bold and deceptive move by the Kremlin.
What followed was the famous “13 days” of secret deliberations on the part of Kennedy and a small circle of advisers known as the “ExComm,” (Executive Committee of the National Security Council), and equally secretive exchanges with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev conducted by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and a KGB operative. These exchanges helped avert a war, one that would have had catastrophic results.
In fact, the most critical period of the Cuban missile crisis turned out to be the 72 hours after Kennedy’s near-assassination in Illinois. It was the international crisis, not the gunman, that made Kennedy cut short his campaign trip to Illinois to return to Washington and deliberate on a response to the Cuban missile crisis. The president feared that the crisis could spiral into a nuclear conflict, the “final failure,” as he put it, and resisted the advice of those urging a preemptive strike on the missile sites. In the end, Kennedy rejected entreaties to bomb or invade Cuba.
If Kennedy had been killed or wounded in Springfield, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and a core of advisers already leaning toward some type of airstrike or invasion of Cuba probably would have approved such an attack. An assassination attempt on a U.S. president amid an “eyeball to eyeball” confrontation with the Soviet Union would have led many officials to suspect Kremlin involvement. The Soviets had already been caught lying over the missiles in Cuba, and any Soviet denials regarding the attempted assassination of Kennedy would have been seen in the same light.
Kennedy’s removal from this decision-making process, either because of death or a serious gunshot wound, would have altered the course of history. An enraged public and a core group of advisers predisposed to think the worst of Soviet intentions would have exerted enormous pressure upon Johnson to respond with force.
Generations of scholars and practitioners learned much about conflict resolution from studying Kennedy’s management of the Cuban missile crisis. Sadly, as the events of Nov. 22, 1963, revealed, nothing was learned by government security officials in the aftermath of the near miss on the road to Lincoln’s tomb. Had they grasped the red flags from the close call, such as the risk of open limousines and the need to protect against shootings, they might have saved Americans from the searing trauma ahead.