Foreign Relations: The Backdown

There was danger in standing still or moving forward. I thought it was the wisest policy to risk that which was incident to the latter course.

—James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson (1822)

Last week that perilous choice confronted another, younger President of the U.S. Generations to come may well count John Kennedy's resolve as one of the decisive moments of the 20th century. For Kennedy determined to move forward at whatever risk. And when faced by that determination, the bellicose Premier of the Soviet Union first wavered, then weaseled and finally backed...

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