War is not pleasant, not neat, and not resolved quickly. It’s not television. No fast conclusions. No one leaves military cemeteries once interred. But wars can be avoided.
On the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s murder, it makes some sense to remember the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. A young president stared down the Russians, they blinked, and the Cold War continued until the old Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight in 1989. But there was no nuclear war, no use of weapons of mass destruction, and no mutually assured destruction.
There were certainly proxy wars, skirmishes, and the tragedy of Vietnam which will likely forever impact our national military thinking. But again, no nuclear war between the superpowers broke out and thus hundreds of millions of human beings of all races shapes sizes and hopes lived.
Fifty years after Kennedy we have a young president, an about to be nuclear capable Iran, and a wariness of wars as we watch our young people return from Afghanistan and Iraq limbless, and tortured by the sleeplessness that only combat creates.
The young president of this generation, Barack Obama and his secretary of state seek to end the conflict with Iran by lifting sanctions against that oil producing nation in return for an agreement that says Iran can continue its nuclear program, but promises no aggressive weaponry.
Nikita Krushchev, the Russian Soviet leader of 1962, said he would bury us. The Iranian religious leaders have promised destruction of the United States and its allies.
To that nation’s dominant religious leaders, America is the great Satan. If history teaches anyone anything it is that you must not only watch your opponent’s hand, you must pay attention to what they say. Because they mean it. And they believe that we mean it when we say just tell us you’re not making bombs. They know we are fools.
What can we do? Remember the young president who died so sadly so young and so terribly 50 years ago.
We can ask our national leadership to do what he did back then to avoid a war by being strong in word and deed, by telling the truth. Kennedy did just that.
Maybe Obama will learn to do it soon. Before it is too late for all of us. The Iranians mean what they say. And they are doing exactly what they want to do.
Hank Sheinkopf is an early creator of integrated strategic campaigns using all forms of media and has won national and international awards for his radio and TV productions. He is a veteran of more than 700 political, public policy, and public relations campaigns around the world. Read more reports from Hank Sheinkopf — Click Here Now.
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