Directions & Question
Write a Presidential Decision Memorandum for the President (format at link). Imagine you are writing just after the Cuban Missile Crisis has concluded. The President wants options for how to deal with nuclear deterrence given the frightening experience we have all just been through. The Joint Chiefs believe the crisis has demonstrated that U.S. strategic nuclear superiority combined with local conventional superiority in the Western Hemisphere has been proven to be a decisive advantage and must be maintained without limitation at all costs. The UN Ambassador believes that the human race just barely survived a brush with extinction and that you should seek an agreement for global nuclear disarmament. The Defense Secretary is sympathetic to the concerns of the UN Ambassador, but believes we need to find a middle ground in which we control nuclear arms and find a way to avoid another US-Soviet crisis.
Write a memorandum that outlines the pros and cons of each option. Keep it fair and balanced. You may recommend an approach, but you do not have to.
Your paper should be 3-5 single spaced pages. It should footnote references to support your argument. You should rely on assigned readings and minimize outside research.
Use template attached
Required Reading(s) and Video(s)
- Schelling, Thomas J., Arms and Influence. Chapter 5: pp 190 – 215, Chapter 6: pp 216 – 248.
- ABC News, 30th Anniversary Special on Cuban Missile Crisis
- BBC News on Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Cuba
- Ginsburg, Jennifer, “Apocalypse Averted: Lessons from the Man Who Saved the World,” Arms Control Association
- Arms Control Association, “The Cuban Missle Crisis; Revisited on the Anniversay”
- Manchanda, Arnave, “When Truth is Stranger than Fiction: The Able Archer Incident,” Cold War History, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2009, pp. 111 – 133.