Say, How Are Those Obama-JFK Comparisons Looking These Days?
Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:
What explains Obama's robust showing with white liberals?
Some elements of the answer are obvious: his high-toned oratory, his promises of reconciliation in a divisive time, a background in community organizing that suggests both idealism and a talent for problem-solving. But another clue may lie in the presidential bid of a figure Obama's devotees love to invoke: John F. Kennedy.
When answering the charge that the Illinois senator lacks the record of achievement befitting a White House aspirant, Obama's backers often stack him next to JFK. Obama is 44, they note, older than JFK was when he ran. Skeptics derided JFK, as they now do Obama, as callow and ill-versed in substantive issues. And yet Obama, similar to JFK, manages to inspire people with sex appeal, cerebral cool, and a message of generational change.
—"Playing the Tolerance Card: How Obama is like JFK," Slate, then owned by the Washington Post, April 20, 2007.
Six months after becoming president, JFK had his calamitous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna -- a meeting The New York Times described as "one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age." (The Times admitted that a half-century later. At the time, the Newspaper of Record lied about the meeting.)
For two days, Khrushchev batted Kennedy around, leaving the president's own advisers white-faced and shaken. Kennedy's Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze called the meeting "just a disaster."
Khrushchev was delighted to discover that the U.S. president was so "weak." A Russian aide said the American president seemed "very inexperienced, even immature."
Seeing he was dealing with a naif, Khrushchev promptly sent missiles to Cuba. The Kennedy Myth Machine has somehow turned JFK's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a brilliant foreign policy coup. The truth is: (1) Russia would never have dared move missiles to Cuba had Khrushchev not realized that JFK was a nincompoop; and (2) it wasn't a victory.
In exchange for Russia's laughably empty threats about Cuba, JFK removed our missiles from Turkey -- a major retreat. As Khrushchev put it in his memoirs: "It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba -- for a country 12,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable. We ended up getting exactly what we'd wanted all along, security for Fidel Castro's regime and American missiles removed from Turkey."
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So now, another Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president -- and guess who's the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin's amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.
—"Column: From JFK to Obama, Democratic Presidents Have Shown Weakness in Face of Aggression," Ann Coulter, NewsBusters, March 5th, 2014.
Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.
The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis to spy on the United States.
Just 155 miles from the U.S. coast, it was the Soviet Union's largest covert military outpost abroad with up to 3,000 staff.
It was used to listen in to radio signals including those from submarines and ships and satellite communications.
'All I can say is - finally!' one Russian source told Kommersant of the reported reopening.
—"Russia 'to reopen Cold War Cuban listening post used to spy on America,'" the London Daily Mail, today.