March 12, 2022

JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and “Knowing Your Enemy”


Llewellyn E. "Tommy" Thompson Jr. (August 24, 1904 – February 6, 1972) was a United States diplomat. He served in Sri Lanka, Austria, and, for a lengthy period, in the Soviet Union where his tenure saw some of the most significant events of the Cold War. He was a key advisor to President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A 2019 assessment described him as " arguably the most influential figure who ever advised U.S. presidents about policy toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War."


William Henry Luers (born May 15, 1929) is a retired American career diplomat and museum executive. He is the director of the Iran Project. In addition to a thirty-one-year career in the Foreign Service, Luers has served as a U.S. Navy officer, as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and as president of the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Luers is an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Video Title: JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and "Knowing Your Enemy." Source: Foreign Policy Association. Date Published: March 11, 2022. Description: 

As the whole world reacts to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many are remembering the conflicts of the Cold War era. What can we learn from the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis? How did President John F. Kennedy (JFK) use diplomacy? How can diplomacy help, even during a major crisis? Veteran U.S. foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador William H. Luers explains the importance of "knowing your enemy". 

This video is from a lecture filmed in 2016. To watch the full lecture, please click here: