Constructing National Interests: The United States and the by Jutta Weldes

By Jutta Weldes

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Extra resources for Constructing National Interests: The United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis (Borderlines series)

Example text

4 Although not extensively discussed in the ExComm meetings, concerns for the physical safety of both the United States and the Western Hemisphere hovered in the background. For the first time since the advent of nuclear weapons, much of the United States was within easy range of Soviet missiles. The medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) already in place in Cuba had a range of approximately 1,200 miles, and the intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) still to be deployed extended that range to about 2,000 miles.

1 Representing Missiles in Cuba “Ever bought a fake picture? . The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt it. ” —George Smiley, in John le Carré, Tinker, Tailo r, So ld ier, Spy THREE REPRESENTATIONS OF THE MISSILES IN CUBA Benedict Anderson has argued that what we know as the apparently self-evident event called the French Revolution is in fact a social construction. After it had occurred, he asserted, the overwhelming and bewildering concatenation of events experienced by its makers and its victims became a “thing”—and with its own name: The French Revolution.

Security imaginary provided, and in large measure still provides, the conceptual and theoretical apparatus through which the Cuban missile crisis was constructed and continues, at least in the United States, generally to be understood. Before I turn to this explanatory task, however, a second and related puzzle remains to be considered. S. 1 For the members of the ExComm, the situation faced by the United States in mid-October 1962 was in its essence quite simple. The Soviet Union had begun secretly to install missiles with offensive nuclear capabilities in Cuba.

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