The Cuban Missile Crisis Fifty Years On
By Bertrand Russell
The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, more than any previous crisis, made the ordinary citizen suddenly aware of the ever-present danger of nuclear annihilation, and no sooner had the fright passed than it was renewed on the borders of India and China. Bertrand Russell shared these feelings, both the fright and the anger, but decided he must go on to turn concern into action. This book tells what he did in those frightening weeks, why he did it, and of the curious reception his activities had.
He asked Khrushchev not to challenge the US blockade of Cuba and Khrushchev acted as Russell had suggested that he should. This was exactly the action that the West had hoped for, but most people in the West still blamed Russell as too pro-communist because it was not by force that the result had been achieved. The same occurred in the Sino-Indian crisis. So the book contains a message of hope. Two precedents have been set for dignified and voluntary compromise in order to avoid nuclear war, and moreover the suggestions of a respected individual outside the battle were heeded. If we want a parallel we must look back to the thirteenth century, when Frederic II was quarrelling with the Pope and was ex-communicated. While ex-communicated he went on a crusade, but instead of fighting the Saracens, he negotiated with them. He secured far more than more warlike crusaders had ever been able to obtain, but he remained in bad odour with the Pope because it was wicked to negotiate with the Saracens. The analogy is very close.
David Sinclair – Tribune, May 2012