The Heyday of the New Strategy: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Confirmation of Coercive Diplomacy

  • James A. Nathan


The Cuban missile crisis has been of special interest to those growing numbers of civilians who have a professional interest in the use and management of military power. The successful and determinedly civilian orchestration of the great panoply of persuasion that was brought to bear on the Soviets in the Caribbean seemed to herald an era wherein vastly expanded power, blessedly, had become a relevant, useful, and rational instrument of American policy. The triumphant and apparently lopsided position of the United States in the aftermath of the Cuban crisis reinforced the venerable American hope that a stable international order could be sustained if it were underwritten by America’s readiness to employ effective force. What was novel in contemporary “crisis management,” political science Robert Tucker observed a few years later, was “the intensity of the aspiration to exercise a far greater measure of control…. A growing confidence in the ability… to manage crises [was] accompanied by a growing confidence that force [might] be employed in a regulated manner.”1


Foreign Policy National Security Nuclear Weapon International Security Cuban Missile Crisis 
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© James A. Nathan 1992

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  • James A. Nathan

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