Discuss the options the President and the executive committee considered in response to Soviet aggression.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I am assuming that this question is about the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I have edited and moved it accordingly.

There were really only two options that the President and the executive committee considered in any serious way.  There had been some thought given to an invasion and to secret negotiations with the Soviets.  However, both of these were quickly rejected.  What was left was the option of a “surgical” strike to destroy the weapons and the option of a blockade.

Given that the blockade worked, it seems in retrospect like the best choice.  It was not very aggressive and it gave the Soviets time to think about their options.  This would have been much better than an airstrike, which would surely have been seen as an act of war and would likely have led to a broader war.

However, it is not clear that the blockade was really a good idea.  This was something that was, in itself, technically an act of war.  It relied on the Soviets to back down rather than trying to break through the blockade.  It would have left the US in the position of having to choose whether to actually sink a Soviet ship or to let it through.

It might have been better to negotiate with the Soviets.  The US could have refrained from confronting them publically, instead confronting them in private and avoiding the high stakes game of public brinksmanship that actually ensued. 

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