Either he didn't pay attention in history class, he assumes no one else paid attention in history class, or he is just so unbelievably egotistical that he believes all of the world's leaders will realize what schmucks they've been once he lays his rap on their groove.
Let's start with Kennedy's meeting with Khrushchev.
When JFK met with Khrushchev, it was a disaster for the United States. And that assessment is shared by Khrushchev, Khrushchev's aides, every diplomat in attendance and Kennedy himself.
Here is an excerpt from a NY Times op-ed piece, published yesterday:
"Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was “just a disaster.” Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.” Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak.” The Soviet leader leftHmmmm.... Very inexperienced? Immature? Weak? Does that sound like anyone we know?
Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world."
Any-whoooo, that little soiree directly led to the Berlin Wall, and was the reason Khrushchev later felt emboldened enough to place missiles in Cuba. Which just happened to be pointed at the US. That led to a little incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The final result? Kennedy pulled all of our weapons out of Turkey, in exchange for the Soviets pulling their weapons out of Cuba.
Which is a pretty crappy trade, considering that the weapons in Cuba wouldn't have been there in the first place if Khrushchev hadn't felt such disdain for Kennedy's weakness.
Wait! You think that Kennedy "won" the Cuban missile crisis because the Turkey trade wasn't publicly announced? Check out the Wikipedia entry. Although the information regarding the weapons trade was released much later, it still doesn't change the fact that Khrushchev only put the missiles in Cuba in the first place because he had so little respect for Kennedy's administration.
For now, go read the NY Times piece about the ill-advised Vienna Summit.
Later, we'll tackle the delusion in which Obama fancies his policy to be similar to Reagan's. That'll be even more fun!
© Jana Ogletree 2008