Last Updated 12 Jan 2023

The Rational Behaviors of the American and Soviet Union During the Cuban Missile Crisis

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American and Soviet behavior in the Cuban Missile Crisis was rational, in respect to both national governments‘ goals and aspirations. As Allison writes in Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis, “the Soviet leaders’ desire to overcome..,the existing large margin of US strategic superiority" was the chief motivation within the Soviet Union to install missiles in Cuba (691). In the context of the Soviet Union, the large spending that came as a direct result of creating and installing these missiles was rational, when the goal was to approach American levels of superiority, The Soviets were consciously calculating the advantages of installing these missiles, as they knew Americans — especially leader John F, Kennedy — could lose status in the eyes of the world if the country responded poorly to the Soviets‘ action. This potentially poor reaction would help the Soviets further the country’s goals. When considering rationality, Allison says to assume the actors are the national governments and to assume “action is chosen as a calculated response to a strategic problem” (693). As previously mentioned, the Soviet Union saw itself at a lower ranking titan the United States, a strategic problem.

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The United States‘ strategic problem was the installment of an antiballistic missile system in Cuba, The United States national government also acted rationality in realizing the necessary response to the perceived threat, Kennedy gathered a group of knowledgeable individuals together to create ExCom, or the Executive Committee. ExCom delivered six potential solutions, the two most popular being an air strike and a naval blockade While Kennedy felt betrayed by Krushchev by the placement of the missiles (713), he too had to act for the sake of the country, and executed the end decision that the United States would enforce a military embargo on Cuba, as well as send a message to Krushchev to remove all missiles from Cuba, Both actors in the Cuban Missile Crisis acted rationally, when the case is studied from respective sides Both were threatened, and responded to a strategic problem with a deliberate answer. These behaviors follow rational behavior; Lhus, American and Soviet behavior in the Cuban Missile Crisis was rational.

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