The Cuban Missile Crisis Turns 60: Time to Stop Playing Russian Roulette

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Cuban missile crisis — the day that JFK was told of the U2 photos showing that the Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba. How dangerous was that crisis and what does that say about the risk over the last sixty years? How has the war in Ukraine affected that level of risk?

Those questions and more are treated in my report “Sixty Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis: Time to Stop Playing Russian Roulette.” The one page Executive Summary that starts it off will suffice for many, and what’s said there is backed up in the report as a whole.

I show why, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we were playing a global version of Russian roulette once every fifteen years, whereas now, we’re pulling the trigger in that macabre game once a year.

The report also explains why nuclear disarmament should not be the stated goal, at least at this point in time. It also provides hopeful signs, including that we are currently almost halfway from the peak of the arms race to a critical, intermediate goal.

If we can find the courage to stop clinging to security blankets that no longer work, we will build a world that we can be proud to pass on to future generations. We will have transformed the nuclear threat into the nuclear opportunity.

Martin Hellman

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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