How significant was leadership significant in contributing to events of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I cannot help but feel that leadership was vitally important in the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis ending in the manner it did.  By all accounts, President Kennedy displayed political leadership in absorbing as many different opinions as possible and deciding on the right course of action.  President Kennedy was mindful of how his actions would appear on the international stage and refrained from acting in a monistic way that would characterize the United States as "trigger happy cowboys."  President Kennedy showed that leadership involves the absorption of multiple points of view and seeking a solution that enables political capital to be reaped in the future.  I think that Khrushchev also displayed some level of political leadership in recognizing the need to open diplomatic channels and not singularly focus on propaganda and bluster when nuclear war and nuclear weapons are at stake.  The ability to engage in significant dialogue as well as establishing a hotline with the United States is another example of leadership.  I think that both leaders showed that political leadership in the modern setting with nuclear weapons are not the realities that seek to obliterate the other or eliminate dialogue with them. Rather, modern political leadership is nuanced enough to be contingent on dialogue and discussion as opposed to anything else.