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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
....but keep reading.



Monday, November 29, 2004

The president was disappointed, to put it mildly, with the prime minister. Facing trying military situations abroad and mounting evidence that weapons of mass destruction were an evolving and imminent danger at home, the United States was hungry for military and political support. The administration put forward in private its best evidence on WMD, yet the Canadians not only failed to act, they challenged the evidence. The White House was appalled to learn that the prime minister claimed the proof was not good enough.

President John F. Kennedy had good reason to be angered by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's attempt to dismiss photographic evidence of Soviet missile-launch facilities under construction in Cuba. Accompanied by Diefenbaker's refusal to put Canada's air force on alert, it was an obtuse and unfriendly action.

In the months surrounding his Conservative party's 1958 majority win, Diefenbaker and some senior ministers had quietly promoted closer co-operation with their U.S. counterparts. In the face of serious external threats, the prime minister agreed to share new responsibilities for continental defense, agreeing to accept nuclear-tipped Bomarc missiles at two sites, to be part of the continent's defence against Soviet bomber attacks.

When talking to Canadians, however, the prime minister waffled, allowing Cabinet and civil service wets to convince him the country's prior commitment was not what it had seemed. Perhaps Canada could take the missiles, but without their warheads, those to be shipped into place only after an attack on North America. Diefenbaker believed some implausible things, the idea that an anti-nuclear stance could be reconciled with accepting and using nuclear weapons -- after they were tactically useless -- being at the head of the list.

While Kennedy fumed, Diefenbaker dithered and his parliamentary majority withered: The Progressive Conservatives lost 68 Ontario and Quebec seats in 1962, and more elsewhere. Canadian public opinion had solidified -- in favour of working with the United States. The opportunistic Liberal opposition leader, Lester Pearson, could read the Gallup polls as well as anyone else: 61% of Canadians favoured nuclear missiles for the Canadian forces, and 68% wanted a merged air defence program. Diefenbaker disdained the polls, while Pearson, in his emerging election platform, put the Bomarc missile agreement at the top of his agenda.

Canadians sided with Pearson. In 1963, Diefenbaker's government fell and, although Kennedy would not live to see it, the change of government marked the beginning of Canada's time as a nuclear-armed nation. That would last until 1969, when an earnest Pierre Trudeau ended the arrangement, removing the Bomarcs two years later. Nuclear-armed fighter aircraft, however, continued to fly over Canada for years after.

When it comes to ballistic missile defence, or BMD, Canadian political leaders today might well ponder Diefenbaker's fate, for he fell on the missile defence issue. Now, as then, many Canadians strongly identify with U.S. security goals.

http://www.canada.com/national/nati....html?id=de39757a-cf8a-4109-99da-4e85aa9603b4
 

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Interesting. But while Diefenbaker's being wrong about whether or not there were nukes in Cuba led to his downfall, so far looks to me like Bush being wrong about whether or not there were nukes in Iraq has only led to his re-election. Wonder - seriously - why the outcome of each of those two intelligence blunders was so different.

Although I really don't see how Canada going nuclear would have helped resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis (what resolved it was our blockade of Cuba, plus our agreeing to pull nukes out of Turkey), nor do I see how Canada foregoing nukes in '71 impaired our security in any way.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think most Americans at the time thought JFK did well with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most people thought he butchered the Cuban invasion.

Maybe I am missing your point....
 

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Custer said:
I think most Americans at the time thought JFK did well with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most people thought he butchered the Cuban invasion.

Maybe I am missing your point....
I have a point?

Yeah, I think we're each missing one another's point here - whatever it may be.

Agree that JFK handled the Cuban Missile Crisis well. Although I damned scared at the time!

And yep, he really screwed up with the Bay of Pigs. Although my thoughts are that he screwed it up not by refusing to send in US air support (the usual Revealed Truth), but screwed it up by not cancelling it. It was a fiasco from the very beginning, founded on a number of false premises, and its net result was the physical destruction of most of the anti-Castro revolutionaries (i.e. the folks who tossed Batista out, but then noticed that Castro hijacked the Revolution to create but another corrupt totalitarian regime).
 
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