Lessons in Video

July 12, 2012
“Foreign Affairs Focus On Nuclear Issues: The Cuban Missile Crisis With Graham Allison”
Fifty years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Gideon Rose talks to author and Belfer Center Director Graham Allison about the lessons that have been and can be learned from the diplomatic management of the historic confrontation. Can historical analysis yield a wise approach to modern nuclear challenges? How do today’s intellectual discourse and public debate on international affairs compare to decades past?
February 2001
“Ernest May on Lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis”
Ernest May discusses the lessons for policymakers from the Cuban Missile Crisis. Taken from the February 2001 John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, “Thirteen Days and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” with Ernest May, Robert McNamara, Theodore Sorensen, Peter Almond, and Graham Allison.
October 22, 1987
Robert McNamara,“Symposium – 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis”, Harvard Kennedy School
Lesson: Best way to manage a crisis is to avoid it.
October 22, 1987
McGeorge Bundy, “Symposium – 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis”, Harvard Kennedy School
Lesson: Understand what is and what is not of vital interest to your opponent.
October 17, 2007
Theodore Sorensen, “JFK Jr. Forum – Cuban Missile Crisis Anniversary”, Harvard Kennedy School
Lesson: Importance of having a direct line of communication to avoid misunderstandings during crises.
February 20, 2001
Robert McNamara, “Thirteen Days and the Cuban Missile Crisis”, Harvard Kennedy School
Lesson: The President should take time to think through the alternatives: “Don’t decide until you’re ready to decide.”
October 17, 2002
Robert McNamara, “40th Anniversary of The Cuban Missile Crisis”, Harvard Kennedy School
Lesson: There was a failure on both sides to place themselves in the position of their adversary and think through their opponent’s possible actions and reactions. In the end, “we lucked out.”
December 1965
Robert Kennedy, “This Hour has Seven Days”, CBC
Lesson: Don’t force your adversary to choose between humiliating retreat or war.
December 17, 1962
John F. Kennedy, Television and Radio Interview: “After Two Years – a Conversation With the President,” National Archive
Lesson: “If we had had to act on Wednesday in the first 24 hours, I don’t think probably we would have chosen as prudently as we finally did.”
June 10, 1963
“John F. Kennedy, American University Commencement Address”
Lesson: “Nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”
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October 19, 2012
“Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis, Then and Now”
Graham Allison, R. Nicholas Burns, and Sergei Khrushchev spoke about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Graham Allison moderated the discussion on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Crisis.