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Talk at the BrinkDeliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis$
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David R. Gibson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151311

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151311.001.0001

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The Blockade

The Blockade

(p.109) Chapter 5 The Blockade
Talk at the Brink

David R. Gibson

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines talk about how to enforce the blockade, in terms of which ships to stop and which to allow through. Because the blockade was, from the start, ill suited for the purpose of forcing the Soviets to withdraw their missiles, storytelling about the consequences of stopping various ships rarely connected those actions to the larger objective. Furthermore, stories about the future were largely supplanted by elaborate justifications for not acting, one peculiarity of which was that the ExComm sometimes seemed to lose sight of whom it primarily had to convince. Moreover, the ExComm did not so much decide not to intercept the Bucharest, a tanker which was Kennedy's best chance to set an early example, as it failed to decide anything at all, but this indecision was transformed into a decision by the course of events.

Keywords:   ExComm, Executive Committee of the National Security Council, blockade, Cuban missile crisis, John F. Kennedy

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