Michael Dobbs

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El presidente John Kennedy y funcionarios de seguridad nacional durante la crisis de los misiles en Cuba en octubre de 1962. Cecil Stoughton/White House Photographs vía John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Dos países con armas nucleares en rumbo de colisión sin aparente vía de salida. Un dirigente ruso errático que emplea un lenguaje apocalíptico: “Si quieren que nos veamos todos en el infierno, eso es cosa de ustedes”. Los careos en las Naciones Unidas, donde cada parte acusa a la otra de estar arriesgándose a provocar el Armagedón.

Durante seis décadas, la crisis de los misiles cubanos se consideró el enfrentamiento definitorio de la época moderna, el momento en el que el mundo rozó más de cerca la aniquilación nuclear. La guerra en Ucrania presenta unos peligros de igual magnitud, como mínimo, y en especial ahora que Vladimir Putin se ha puesto en una posición compleja al declarar que buena parte de la vecina Ucrania pertenecerán a Rusia “para siempre”.…  Seguir leyendo »

President John Kennedy and national security officials during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. Cecil Stoughton/White House Photographs, via John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Two nuclear-armed states on a collision course with no obvious exit ramp. An erratic Russian leader using apocalyptic language — “if you want us to all meet in hell, it’s up to you”. Showdowns at the United Nations, with each side accusing the other of essentially gambling with Armageddon.

For six decades, the Cuban missile crisis has been viewed as the defining confrontation of the modern age, the world’s closest brush with nuclear annihilation. The war in Ukraine presents perils of at least equal magnitude, particularly now that Vladimir Putin has backed himself into a corner by declaring large chunks of neighboring Ukraine as belonging to Russia “forever”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Channeling his inner Winston Churchill, Boris Johnson earned a few headlines recently by addressing his continental “friends” in “Franglais.” “Prenez un grip et donnez-moi un break,” he said of the French reaction to the new U.S.-Britain-Australia alliance. (“Get a grip and give me a break.”)As an expatriate Brit nouvellement arrivé at London’s Heathrow Airport from France, I would like to give the British prime minister some equally amicable advice in the foreign language he evidently knows best. “Sortez-out vos horribles problemes de border before lecturer le reste du monde."

As numerous travelers have had occasion to note, the passport lines at Heathrow have become a national disgrace.…  Seguir leyendo »

As an expatriate Brit who moved to the United States more than two decades ago, I have been following the Brexit drama with fascination and horror. But what I did not fully appreciate before returning to the United Kingdom is how closely British politics track American politics — and vice versa.

My visit coincided with the final stages of the Conservative Party leadership contest and the anointing of Boris Johnson as Britain’s new prime minister. Reflecting the dysfunctional state of British politics, Johnson was elected on the basis of fewer than 100,000 votes, from aging, largely male, overwhelmingly white Conservative Party members who are completely unrepresentative of the overall population.…  Seguir leyendo »

Twenty years ago this Saturday, the commander of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Rwanda wrote a coded cable to his superiors in New York that has come to be known as the “genocide fax.” Citing inside information from a “top-level trainer” for a pro-regime militia group, Brig. Gen. Roméo Dallaire warned of an “anti-Tutsi extermination” plot.

The refusal by United Nations officials to approve the general’s plan for raids on suspected arms caches has been widely condemned as paving the way for one of the worst genocides since the Holocaust. But evidence submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, some of it still under seal, reveals a murkier, more complicated situation than has often been portrayed.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the latest volume of his acclaimed biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert A. Caro repeats a long-standing but erroneous myth about the Cuban missile crisis. Drawing on early accounts of the crisis, he describes a confrontation on Oct. 24, 1962, between American destroyers and Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba. According to Mr. Caro, the Soviet vessels were “within a few miles” of the blockade line, but turned away at the last moment.

This was the moment when Secretary of State Dean Rusk, by his own account, uttered the most memorable line of the missile crisis: “We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked.”…  Seguir leyendo »