Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Leadership lessons of 50 years ago

For 13 days in October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union faced off in a perilous game of nuclear brinkmanship. The lessons learned 50 years ago from the military and diplomatic confrontation over Moscow's decision to install offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba still resonate today. Today the challenge is Iran's nuclear ambitions and the potential threat of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Seeking to take advantage of a chastened President John F. Kennedy's bungled management of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, the Soviet Union began constructing nuclear missile sites on the island nation a mere 90 miles away from Florida. The missile buildup was discovered by U-2 spy plane overflights of Cuba in mid October 1962, leading to Kennedy's confrontation with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. From Oct. 15 to Oct. 28, both leaders were torn by their inner councils, with some hawks urging open military conflict while others believed diplomacy was the only way to escape an escalating nuclear crisis bringing the world to the precipice of war.

Kennedy took a middle course of action. As an anxious world watched, Kennedy upped the ante, ordering a naval "quarantine" of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships carrying missiles and equipment from reaching the island. The blockade, combined with Kennedy's skillful use of the presidency's bully pulpit and intense back-channel diplomacy, eventually resolved the crisis with public pledges by the Soviets to remove the weapons, Kennedy's promise not to attempt another invasion of Cuba, and a secret agreement whereby the United States agreed to remove its own missile sites in Turkey and Italy.

Those 13 days so long ago offer a sobering blueprint for handling today's nuclear conflict with Iran. Nimble diplomacy will always trump emotional saber-rattling. Dealing directly and firmly with the major players involved in a crisis is crucial. And of all the voices raised during a White House crisis, ultimately the only one that counts belongs to the occupant of the Oval Office.

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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18