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Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary: A Look Back

WHO:  American University Cuban Missile Crisis Experts

WHAT: Available to analyze and comment on 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
WHEN: September 26-ongoing

WHERE: American University, in studio, or phone interviews

Fifty years ago the United States raised its threat level to DEFCON 2 – the only time this alert level was reached during the Cold War – in response to the Soviet nuclear missile deployment to Cuba a mere 90 miles from U.S. shores. Fifty years later, the Castros retain power in Cuba, Russia is re-emerging under Putin after the reset with Medvedev. American University experts are available to provide context and analysis of the tripartite relations between the United States, Russia, and Cuba from the missiles of October then to present day relations.  

Philip Brenner, professor of international relations and affiliate professor of history, has published widely on U.S.-Cuba relations, on contemporary U.S. foreign policy, and on the Cuban Missile Crisis. His most recent book is A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution. Brenner has met Fidel Castro several times. This semester, Brenner is teaching a graduate level course SIS-653 Missiles and Crisis Decisions which uses the fiftieth anniversary of the crisis as an occasion to evaluate the validity of the traditional lessons for national security decision making.

Panel: October 17, 2012, 3:30pm — 5:00pm, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November Woodrow Wilson Center, 5th Floor, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC.

William LeoGrande, professor of government, is a specialist in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America. LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 – 1992. Most recently, he was co-editor of A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution. He’s met Fidel Castro several times. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate, and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Central America of the United States House of Representatives. (Note: LeoGrande will be unavailable from 10/12-10/23)

Robert Pastor, professor of international relations and director of the Center for North American Studies, served as the U.S. National Security Advisor on Latin America (1977-1981), was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments during the Clinton Administration, and was the founding director of the Carter Center’s Latin American and Caribbean Program. Pastor has had many conversations about the Cuban Missile Crisis with Fidel Castro and Bob McNamara and attended the key 1992 conference in Havana when Fidel and the Russians filled in the critical new pieces. Pastor is the author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future.

Anton Fedyashin, history professor and executive director of AU’s Initiative for Russian Culture, is an expert on Russian/Soviet and European history. “The Cuban Missile Crisis was a turning point during the Cold War that brought to popular conscience the real dangers of the nuclear arms race and led to breakthroughs in negotiations over the next two decades,” he said.

Fulton Armstrong, a senior fellow in American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, has followed Latin American affairs for almost 30 years. Armstrong served as a senior professional staff member responsible for Latin America on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from July 2008 to October 2011, where he also worked closely with the committee’s investigations team. Among other senior positions, he was National Intelligence Officer for Latin America – the U.S. Intelligence Community’s most senior analyst – in 2000-2004. He served two terms as a Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council –1995-97 and 1998-99 – between which he was Deputy NIO for Latin America.

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