The Cold War that Kennedy fought

White House ar­chives re­but re­vi­sion­ist his­to­ri­ans

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By L. Todd Wood

Af­ter pe­rus­ing the ma­jor­ity the Kennedy Pres­i­den­tial Daily Briefs, al­most 2,500 doc­u­ments, the over­whelm­ing im­pres­sion I gath­ered from this ex­er­cise is that the Soviet Union re­ally was try­ing to take over the world. This con­clu­sion may come as an un­wel­come sur­prise to the le­gion of left­ist pro­fes­sors in Amer­ica’s col­leges and univer­si­ties who have been teach­ing naive col­lege stu­dents that it was Amer­ica’s im­pe­rial am­bi­tions that caused the Cold War. The Kennedy doc­u­ments clearly de­bunk this nar­ra­tive.

The fol­low­ing are ex­cerpts from a short pe­riod of time in 1961 taken from Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s Daily In­tel­li­gence Brief­ings. • June 17, 1961: Jet fight­ers con­firmed in Cuba. • June 26, 1961: Sovi­ets and Chi­nese com­pete for sup­port of Ja­panese Com­mu­nist Party.

• June 28, 1961: Moscow con­sol­i­dates vic­tory over [Bei­jing] in In­dian Com­mu­nist Party.

• July 5, 1961: An im­pend­ing in­flux of Soviet air­craft and tech­ni­cians has been re­ported. Their as­sign­ment would in­clude set­ting up a cen­tral main­te­nance base for Sovi­et­built air­craft supplied to Ghana, Guinea and Mali.

• July 6, 1961: Burma has de­cided to ac­cept Soviet mil­i­tary air­craft.

• Laos: There are no de­vel­op­ments in­dica­tive of a change of Com­mu­nist ob­jec­tives or tac­tics with re­spect to Laos. The abil­ity of the Royal Lao­tian gov­ern­ment to main­tain its co­he­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­sist con­tin­ues to be eroded. • July 12, 1961: Sovi­ets pres­sure move on Ber­lin. • July 21, 1961: In­done­sian Air Force crews will be­gin tran­si­tion train­ing next week in TU-16 medium jet bombers re­cently ac­quired from the USSR.

• July 26, 1961: Congo — The pres­ence of a Soviet del­e­ga­tion in Stan­leyville and the ris­ing po­lit­i­cal for­tune of Gizenga in the par­lia­men­tary de­bates at Lo­va­nium in­di­cate that op­por­tu­ni­ties may de­velop for a re­sump­tion of bloc [com­mu­nist] pen­e­tra­tion into the Congo.

This is just a small smat­ter­ing of thou­sands of brief­ings, which are chock-full of con­cern for the Soviet Union’s ag­gres­sive global mil­i­ta­riza­tion and ide­o­log­i­cal agenda. Com­mu­nist China seems to have been fo­cused on in­ter­nal threats and its ter­ri­to­rial con­flict with In­dia, although it was cer­tainly spread­ing in­flu­ence and power through­out South­east Asia.

Another in­ter­est­ing side note is the ap­par­ent con­cern that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev held for the fail­ure of the USSR to pro­vide enough con­sumer goods to sat­isfy the Soviet peo­ple. He even flirted with sim­ple mar­ket-ori­ented re­forms and a re­fo­cus away from mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­tures to­ward the man­u­fac­ture of con­sumer items. This ap­pears to be one of the main rea­sons Khrushchev was de­nounced and re­moved from power:

• Oct. 16, 1964: In ret­ro­spect, it ap­pears con­ceiv­able that the seeds for the change were sown in late Septem­ber dur­ing the Krem­lin meet­ing on a new long-term eco­nomic plan. Khrushchev’s strong ar­gu­ment in fa­vor of ac­cel­er­ated pro­duc­tion of con­sumer goods may have pre­cip­i­tated a re­ac­tion against him.

I would hope that these newly clas­si­fied doc­u­ments would be stud­ied by fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans as to the im­por­tance of stand­ing up to threats against the home­land and po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies that are in di­rect con­flict with our own be­liefs and way of life. You don’t have to look very far to find ex­am­ples of these types of threats pro­lif­er­at­ing in our world to­day. One could be for­given for wish­ing that the old na­tional se­cu­rity Democrats were still vi­able to­day and could join in a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort to de­feat Is­lamic ex­trem­ism and other ag­gres­sors the way Kennedy did 50 years ago. But alas, the jury is still out on this ques­tion. L. Todd Wood is a spe­cial oper­a­tions he­li­copter pi­lot who flew sup­port for SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and oth­ers. A for­eign cor­re­spon­dent for News­max TV and a con­trib­u­tor to Fox Busi­ness, he is the au­thor of “Cur­rency” (Ice­Box Pub­lish­ing, 2011).

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