The Adventurer

"In the wake of Russia's retreat from Cuba, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan rose in the House of Commons to deliver his reasoned judgment on the outcome. It was, he declared, 'one of the great turning points of history.' This judgment may have been somewhat inflated, but the event does have momentous significance. Years ago, the West had forced a Russian withdrawal in Iran, stopped Communism in Korea, pushed it back in Europe with the Marshall Plan, frustrated its 1948 siege of Berlin with the airlift. All these occasions were milestones in the persistence of free men to remain free. But these tests came before both sides had large nuclear arsenals, and for the most part did not involve a direct, point-blank confrontation between Washington and Moscow. Now, in an ultimate showdown, Russia had given way. Nikita Khrushchev is a resourceful, imaginative and tough opponent who obviously has a great many tricks left in the back of his shrewd peasant mind. But, except for those who seem constitutionally unable to believe that the Russians can ever make mistakes, there is an almost worldwide consensus that in Cuba Khrushchev had overextended himself, and that he has been forced back in a test of will with the U.S."

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