Comment on these two post as if you were me with a 100 words each, DO NOT COMPARE THE POSTS, and put 3 references for each post, and please seperate the references.
Critical thinking is an essential skill that intelligence analysts must possess. The meaning of critical thinking is often misconstrued, for example, solving a problem is not critical thinking because the focus of the issue is the answer, not the method of thinking that was involved in coming to the answer (Moore, 2007). The ability to think critically can be substantially inhibited, as was the case during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Of particular importance during the Crisis was how the preconceptions and mindsets of both the United States and the Soviet Union allowed the incident to escalate to the brink of nuclear war. According to Richard Heuer in his publication, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis a mindset is a lens in which one views the world. Mindsets are formed and maintained by expectations, and while they are not always negative they can have a substantial impact on the analysts’ capability to think critically (Heuer, 1999). During the Cuban Missile Crisis there were certain expectations each side had about the other and it is fair to say that both the United States and the Soviet Union underestimated each other.
A major mindset that the United States and President Kennedy had was that the Soviet Union would never place missiles outside the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, the reasoning was that never before had the Soviets placed missiles outside these boundaries, so therefore they never would (Ansher, 2009). In this instance inductive reasoning was used, as the United States went from the specific to the general, since the Soviets had never placed missiles outside the USSR and Warsaw Pact before, they wouldn’t put missiles in Cuba. Inductive reasoning is a major inhibitor to critical thinking and leads to assumptions being made (Moore, 2007). On the Soviet side, Khrushchev had the mindset that by the time President Kennedy found out about the missiles that he wouldn’t do anything about it. Khrushchev didn’t believe the United States would have a hostile reaction, and he certainly didn’t expect military action to be taken. The Soviet leader based this mindset over the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Khrushchev perceived Kennedy and the United States as weak, and therefore felt that placing missiles on Cuba wouldn’t generate a response (Ansher, 2009). Both Kennedy and Khrushchev severely misinterpreted what the other party was thinking and capable of doing, and both relied on past experiences and pre-established perceptions.
Another major mistake made by the United States that should be noted is their over-reliance on Signals Intelligence. An inductive reasoning mistake was made when the US didn’t fully utilize human intelligence because in the past human intelligence was unreliable, “so therefore all human intelligence is unreliable.” A successful analyst must utilize all platforms of intelligence and not rely too heavily on one method (Ansher, 2009). While a full-fledged conventional or nuclear war was avoided in this case it is important to learn from the mistakes of past analysts to avoid a war in the future.
Ansher, K. M. (2009). Mindsets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Strategic Studies Institute .
Heuer, R. J. (1999). Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Center for the Study of Intelligence.
Moore, D. T. (2007). Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis. Washington DC: National Defense Intelligence College.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a crucial point in the history of the United States and the world. Many people did not realize, and still do not realize, what was at stake during those two or so weeks and how rapidly the Cuban Missile Crisis evolved almost ending in nuclear warfare. Life as we know it may not exist today had communication between President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev not succeeded in the end.
At that time in history, Communism was a major fear that the American population dealt with daily. The Soviet Union was viewed as an evil machine spreading communism around the globe, and Khrushchev was the leader. In the reading Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kenneth Absher writes, “Khrushchev also had an ideological mind-set that believed history was on the side of socialism and communism, and that capitalism and constitutional democracy were weak and would ultimately be defeated by communism and the Soviet Union (Absher, pg. 1). Following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Khrushchev both thought that Kennedy was weak and Khrushchev wanted to help communist Cuba. Khrushchev was able to secretly send materials and offensive missiles in Cuba. However, “Khrushchev’s conviction that the West, in general, and the young U.S. President, in particular, were weak and indecisive led him to discount how far the U.S. leadership would go to stop a new and dangerous threat to its security” (Absher, pg. 86).
Kennedy’s intel initially failed him about the Soviet’s ability and intentions to send missiles into Cuba. Once he was informed, he needed to act quickly, knowing the national security risks of missiles in Cuba and what that could eventually lead to. Kennedy was the President of the United States and needed to look strong and act decisively. He was under massive pressure from his military leaders to either invade Cuba, or bomb the missile sites being constructed. However, he did not want an invasion of Cuba that would lead to nuclear war, and he also did not want to push Khrushchev into a corner where he would do something dangerous. In the book Thirteen Days, Robert F. Kennedy writes, “What guided his deliberations was an effort not to disgrace Khrushchev, not to humiliate the Soviet Union, not to have them feel they would have to escalate their response because their national security or national interests so committed them” (Kennedy, pg. 95). President Kennedy was a smart man, and after a blockade was conducted around Cuba, was able to negotiate with Khrushchev about taking missiles out of Cuba and the U.S. then taking missiles out of Turkey.
Both leaders knew that nuclear was would not be good for anyone in either country. I believe that both were similar in this aspect and had a respect for each other that could spark a negotiation and solution for this crisis. Luckily these men were able to realize the gravity of the situation and reach a peaceful solution.
Absher, K. M. (september 2009). Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 1-88.
Kennedy, R. F., & Schlesinger, A. M. (1999). Thirteen days: a memoir of the Cuban missile crisis. New York: W.W. Norton.
HLS 6030 DF2 Comments
HLS 6030 DF2 Comments
Jessica Walsh Post
Critical thinking is indeed a vital problem-solving tool, and it is because the leaders of the USA and the Soviet Union at the time were able to employ such thinking that nuclear war was avoided. I strongly agree with the fact that mindsets can be an impediment to critical thinking (Absher, 2009). Th