7:17 AM, Dec 18, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In John Kerry's statement on President Obama's Cuba policy changes, the secretary of state doesn't simply suggest the policies in place for five and a half decades are outdated. He seems to be suggesting they were a failure from the start. And in doing so, he apparently misstates his own age at the time President Kennedy made one of the most well known presidential addresses in our nation's history, and certainly the most notable regarding Cuba.
Kerry's remarks, released by the State Department on Wednesday, begin as follows:
I was a seventeen year old kid watching on a black and white television set when I first heard an American President talk of Cuba as an "imprisoned island.”
For five and a half decades since, our policy toward Cuba has remained virtually frozen, and done little to promote a prosperous, democratic and stable Cuba. Not only has this policy failed to advance America's goals, it has actually isolated the United States instead of isolating Cuba.
Originally, a limited embargo against Cuba was instituted toward the end of the Eisenhower administration. However, John F. Kennedy broke off diplomatic relations with the island nation in 1961; then he issued Proclamation 3447 in February 1962 (authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961), which extended the embargo to all trade with Cuba. However, with minor adjustments now and then, both Republican and Democratic presidents in the interim have kept the embargo in place and have declined to renew diplomatic relations.
Rather than paint Cuba policy and the embargo as having outlived their usefulness, however, Kerry says that the policy "has remained virtually frozen" for "five and a half decades" and has "failed to advance America's goals." He even goes so far as to say that the policy worked in reverse and "actually isolated the United States instead of isolating Cuba." Kerry's remarks closely mirror those of President Obama, who lays out his new approach by making the case that the last half century has witnessed a "Failed Approach," because "today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party."
In recalling the early days of U.S. policy toward Castro's Cuba, however, Kerry seems to confuse the timing of events surrounding the formation of that policy. When Kerry says he "heard an American President talk of Cuba as an 'imprisoned island,'" he's referring to President Kennedy's speech on October 22, 1962 revealing what would come to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the televised address, Kennedy said [emphasis added]:
This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.
Kerry says he was a "seventeen year old kid watching on a black and white television set" as Kennedy addressed the nation. Kerry, however, was born on December 11, 1943, which would have made him eighteen, less than two months shy of his nineteenth birthday. The State Department did not respond to a request for clarification on Kerry's recollection, and as of this writing, the statement on the website remains unchanged.
Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"If today’s extremist rhetoric sounds familiar, that’s because it is eerily, poignantly similar to the vitriol aimed squarely at John F. Kennedy during his presidency. And just like today, Texans were leading what some of them saw as a moral crusade. To find the very roots of the paranoid right of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months before the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry . . .” (Bill Minutaglio, Washington Post, November 21).
Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Washington Post, like many publications, has been observing the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in considerable detail. No, make that lurid detail. No day has gone by in recent weeks without extended lists, recycled photographs, old reminiscences, new theories, and the sort of relentless politico-journalistic navel-gazing that has turned the reading public, in the Internet age, against the mainstream media.
Philip Terzian remembers November 1963Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
Everyone of a certain age, it is said, remembers the moment when they heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. Yet even though I was 13 years old at the time, and recall quite a lot from 1963, I do not remember this, though for a technical reason.
Why prudent politicians embrace the JFK legacy.Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By FRED BARNES
The legacy of President John F. Kennedy is a wondrous thing. Any president compared with Kennedy comes up short, even if his actual accomplishments were greater than JFK’s. Presidents in the modern era can never measure up to JFK in the public’s mind, period. Today, 50 years after JFK’s death, it’s still unwise to tangle with the Kennedy clan. The Kennedys usually win. Kennedy’s legacy also means that referring to him as anything but a liberal is sure to provoke an argument.
2:00 PM, Nov 18, 2013 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
This isn’t going to be a good week for me. Friday will mark the 50th anniversary of the death in Dallas of President John F. Kennedy, and between now and then I expect a complete media blitz—make that a blitzkrieg—of stories, films, docudramas, book reviews, and counterfactual explorations about the event and, by extension, about all that the nation lost with the death of the brilliant but ill-fated president. Dallas policemen, such media duffers as Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer, Lee Harvey Oswald’s dentist, Jack Ruby’s rabbi, everyone still alive who has any memory of or connection with the assassination will be called upon to cough up his driblet of information.
Where was John F. Kennedy on the ideological spectrum?Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By RONALD RADOSH
Reading this provocative and compelling analysis of John F. Kennedy’s political vision, I could not help but think of the reaction Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. had when his colleague John P. Diggins told him he was writing a book favorable to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “Please,” Schlesinger said, “don’t make him look too good.” If Schlesinger were still alive and able to read Stoll’s new account, he would undoubtedly turn purple. One thing is certain: Ira Stoll’s Kennedy is not the same as Arthur Schlesinger’s.
Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
John Forbes Kerry is one of those upper-middle-class East Coast types of estimable lineage and impeccable credentials (St. Paul’s, Yale, U.S. Navy) whose tribal habits were the subject of the late sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (The Protestant -Establishment, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, etc.). Baltzell popularized the term WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)—-although Kerry is Roman Catholic, not Protestant—and explored the historic WASP ascendancy in American business, education, cultural institutions, and government.
10:16 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy is nearly upon us, so one would expect America's public intellectuals to be gearing up to present a series of sober and illuminating reflections about the tragedy's cultural and political legacy.
Of course, that's not going to happen. Any misty-eyed resonance that can be wrung out of JFK's death is already being exploited by our elite media gatekeepers to advance a political agenda.
As my good friend Dante often said…9:00 AM, Sep 10, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Speaking in support of military action against Syria, Alexander Bolton of The Hill reports, Senator Harry Reid brought up the example of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust:
8:10 AM, Dec 20, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It has become increasingly clear that the Obama-era Democrats view every major societal event as a new invitation to spend money, centralize power, or both. The horrendous shootings in Connecticut have the Democrats lobbying not only for new legislation, but new federal legislation — and hence more federal power — rather than entrusting the passage of any such legislation to the states. Meanwhile, the damage from Hurricane Sandy has the Democrats looking to do the only thing that they might enjoy even more than enacting cumbersome legislation — spending borrowed money.<
Sally Bedell Smith and the many forms of monarchy. Oct 8, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 04 • By NOEMIE EMERY
Sally Bedell Smith has a thing for kings. Or, not kings quite so much as powerful people who form courts around themselves as a function of power or wealth.
1:23 PM, Jan 27, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During last night’s debate, Mitt Romney responded to Newt Gingrich’s proposal that America establish a lunar colony by the end of the decade by saying that if someone presented him with that proposal, “I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’” While one might think Romney justified in firing someone who pitched Gingrich’s specific proposal, Romney gave the distinct impression that he also might have fired John F. Kennedy back in 1962.
4:01 PM, May 26, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Writing in USA Today, Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Jim Lovell —the first and last men on the moon, and the commanders of Apollo 11, 17, and 13 — highlight another example of President Obama’s lack of faith in American exceptionalism. In a piece entitled, “Is Obama Grounding JFK’s Space Legacy?” the three astronauts (now 80, 77, and 83 years old) write: