Old News, New News

My Point Of View

By Tim Philbin


The events over the last few weeks were strangely reminiscent of a time long ago but not so very far away.

In 1962 the United States and the former Soviet Union were involved in a dangerous geopolitical game of chicken. Under Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev medium range ballistic nuclear missals were placed on the island of Cuba, a soviet  puppet state.

Spy planes spotted the weapons and so began the Cuban Missile Crisis.

At the time President John Kennedy realized the threat these offensive weapons meant to the United States and took actions that brought the world to the brink of all out nuclear war.

As A child living in New York at the time I had no understanding or appreciation of the serious nature of the events unfolding. What child or adult in their right mind could?

It was not until one evening in late October did the reality of that threat reach our home.

My dad had walked in the door somber faced. Mom was preparing dinner and ready to serve her six children already seated at the table. He embraced my mom and whispered something in her ear that changed her expression immediately. To this day I do not know what exactly he said but whatever it was brought her to tears as they continued to embrace each other.

She stoically carried on with her duties  as my father announced that we were all going to camp out in our basement that night.

Both of these members of the greatest generation understood the shocking reality of war and the inherent death and destruction associated with it. But this time it was different because death and destruction might just come to their front door and consume their children.

As fate would have it that crisis was averted. The world pulled itself back from the brink of destruction.

In the weeks, months and years that would follow efforts were made to avoid such events from ever happening again. There were countless summits, agreements, discussions and diplomatic efforts used to diminish the threat of an all out nuclear catastrophe.

But that old news may be new again.

This time a portly dictator whose grasp on reality must be questioned by all reasonable people threatened to lunch a nuclear attack on the United States or it’s allies.

Not having the capabilities to take on the United States by himself, the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un none the less was looking for a fight. His only hope was for the backing and military support  from allies in Russia or China,  making this an all too realistic threat.

Was history repeating itself?

With new weapons, new alliances, better and more advance technology and intelligence gathering capabilities and more importantly a new leadership team in Washington D.C the world is a different place today.

But the threat, the reality of war reaching our shores and our homes brought me back to a time I had almost forgotten about. I was now the dad wondering if my children would one day have to sleep in their basements because of the madness in the world.


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Rutland, VT, USA
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