|President JFK & The NSC|
Its pretty clear that President Kennedy’s generals didn’t respect him as Commander-in-Chief at least not at first. President Kennedy, was a liberal internationalist and Cold Warrior, but in the liberal sense. That you need to be strong at home, as well as abroad. That liberal democracy and liberty, are things worth fighting for. But that America, can’t do everything by ourselves and can’t police the world by ourselves. That there’s a limit to even what American power can do, even military power. And that we have to use all of our resources as a country. Military, economic, our people, our freedom, our media and show people who live in authoritarian states, what American freedom is like. And what they’re missing living under an iron curtain. Which is called diplomatic as well as political power. Which is what liberal internationalism, liberal foreign policy and liberal cold warriors were about.
President Kennedy’s generals, his Joint Chiefs, would probably be called Neoconservatives today. Even though they were working for a Liberal Democratic President, in a Liberal Democratic administration and a Liberal Democratic National Security Council. They believed, you judge strength, by how tough you talk, how much you spend on your military and what you say you’re going to do. They were always a military first and perhaps only group. Who believed diplomatic and economic power were signs of weakness. Does any of this sound like a previous administration? And I could also add shoot first and ask questions later. Does that sound like the Iraq War of 2003? And that was never Jack Kennedy, who hated communism and authoritarianism as much as anyone as a Liberal Democrat. But was much smarter and realistic about how he approached it.
President Jack Kennedy, against his generals in 1961 and 62, sounds to me like John Kerry, vs. Dick Cheney today. The liberal negotiator and freedom fighter, vs the tough talker. Who believes that authoritarianism in other countries should be wiped out, period. “Do that first and figure and then figure out what comes later, if you can. But it eliminating the authoritarian regime which is what is important.” And its a good thing that someone as cool and smart as Jack Kennedy, who also happened to be a Liberal Democrat, was President during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because it was his approach which is what ended it. Had the Neoconservatives been in charge back then, maybe we end up going to war with Russia in the 1960s.