Reciprocal Extermination: Lessons Learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis

Fifty and Better Summer Session 2

Reciprocal Extermination: Lessons Learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis

In his letter of October 25, 1962, Nikita Khrushchev warned President John F. Kennedy if “we do not show wisdom … [we] will come to a clash, like blind moles, and then reciprocal extermination will begin.” In the aftermath of 13 days of crisis decision-making, the outcome was presented as a magnificent American victory, the paradigmatic triumph of courage and rationality. Two decades later, the USSR collapsed and we gradually began accessing secret Soviet files. So what did happen? What can we learn about the challenge of possessing nuclear weapons and crisis decision-making? What do we know about the Cuban Missile Crisis yesterday that is relevant to our survival today?

Herbert Gooch, PhD, is professor emeritus of Political Science at California Lutheran University. He formerly served as director of the Masters in Public Policy and Administration program and Assistant Provost for Graduate Studies at Cal Lutheran. He has been at Cal Lutheran since 1987 and lives in Newbury Park with his wife.

The course is four weeks and will take place July 27, August 3, 10 and 17.

Registration is required by 3 p.m. Friday, July 23. Cost is $25 per course or bundle all 6 Summer Session 2 courses for $100. Courses are limited to those age 50 and older.

The Fifty and Better program was designed to offer university-level courses (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for individuals age 50 and older.


Register by 3 p.m. Friday, July 23

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Christina Tierney