A Good Lesson In Dealing With Hostile Foreign Nations From Our 35th President

Two months ago, I visited the JFK Museum and Library in Boston. There I saw a short movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis which included conversations from the President with his generals and advisors.

In 1959, Fidel Castro had established what amounted to a rogue nation just 90 miles off Florida. He had aligned with the Soviet Union, the "evil empire" of its day. In 1961 there was an aborted invasion of Cuba that was a major embarrassment for JFK. He was only President a few months and took the advice from advisors and went ahead with the invasion, which was poorly conceived and supported.

After that failure, JFK became suspicious of some advice and widened his circle of advisors. Largely because of that ill-fated invasion attempt, Castro got closer to the Soviet Union and allowed them to install missiles in Cuba that could strike most of our major cities.

In October 1962 when JFK learned of this, he refused to listen to some hawks like General Curtis LeMay who advocated bombing Cuba and overthrowing Castro. Instead, President Kennedy went on national television and explained the situation to the American people. He showed a calm demeanor and outlined his strategy of a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent any ships from the Soviet Union from bringing missiles and material to construct missile installations in Cuba.

For 13 days, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. The Soviet Union realized that the United States meant business and was prepared to exercise its power to prevent Soviet missiles from being installed in Cuba. Eventually the Soviet ships turned around and President Kennedy pledged that the United States would not invade Cuba or overthrow Castro. Both sides backed away and nuclear war was averted.

But the United States maintained an embargo on Cuba and encouraged its allies not to trade with Cuba. As a result, Cuba became a dependency of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Cuba was on its own. But Castro remained popular and in power.

In 1962, faced with a real crisis President Kennedy was calm and operated from a position of strength. He made no threats. He just said what we would do and stood strong. He also understood that the Soviet Union didn't want nuclear war either. Like Theodore Roosevelt, JFK talked softly, but carried a big stick. JFK never insulted Castro or called him childish names like Trump is doing with Kim Jong Un. Nor did JFK have a bromance with Castro.

Unlike Donald Trump, JFK did not admire tyrants like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. JFK knew how to deal with rogue nations like Cuba was in the 1960s. The result was that he had isolated Cuba from the rest of the world outside the Soviet Union. There were no saber-rattling threats of “fire and fury” or nuclear annihilation. Instead JFK understood how to use our strength without bluster or name calling.

But then JFK was one of our country's most intelligent Presidents who knew how to lead a nation. Like Donald Trump, JFK was born into wealth and privilege. Unlike Donald Trump, JFK knew sacrifice and served in the Second World War where he was seriously wounded in combat. Unlike Trump, JFK never flaunted his wealth and had some empathy for the common man. Instead of personally enriching himself and living like royalty, JFK had a career in public service and regarded that as a noble calling. JFK also knew how to govern and get things done.

In short, JFK was everything our country should expect in a President while Donald Trump is showing the nation and the world just how bad a totally unfit person can be as President. Our 45th President should learn a lesson in foreign diplomacy from our 35th President. I don't expect any high schools to be named after Donald Trump after he is no longer President of the United States.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 4:59 PM, 11.01.2018