A Near Tragedy Of Errors

Alumni of the Cuban missile crisis review their lessons

A quarter-century ago, they played a game of nuclear chicken, bringing the planet terrifyingly close to destruction. Last week in Moscow, many of the same men who were involved in the Cuban missile crisis met to discuss the confrontation. In a form of diplomatic glasnost, senior Americans, Soviets and Cubans for the first time traded candid observations on the drama that had the world holding its breath for 13 perilous days in October 1962.

President John F. Kennedy's Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy were among the Americans present. The Soviets were represented by the likes of...

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