Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

No book is produced outside of a specific social context, and this one is no different. Many of the ideas that appear here were first conceived, aired, discussed, dissected, reconceived, and so on in discussions and conversations at the University of Minnesota with Monali Chowdhurie, Rhona Leibel, Jennifer Milliken, Himadeep Muppidi, and Alex Wendt...

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Introduction: The Problem of National Interests

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pp. 1-20

For most Americans, at least, the so-called Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 plainly revolved around the Soviet deployment of nuclear-capable missiles in Cuba. But is this really so obvious? Though the Soviet installation of medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba provided a referent to which the Kennedy administration...

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1. Representing Missiles in Cuba

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pp. 21-40

Benedict Anderson has argued that what we know as the apparently self-evident event called the French Revolution is in fact a social construction. After it had occurred, he asserted, the overwhelming and bewildering concatenation of events experienced by its makers and its victims became a “thing”—and with its own name: The...

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2. The View from the ExComm

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pp. 41-96

The National Security Council’s Executive Committee (ExComm), made up of the president and a select group of his advisers, debated U.S. policy options in the Cuban missile crisis under conditions of strict secrecy.1 For the members of the ExComm, the situation faced by the United States in mid-October 1962 was in its essence quite simple. The Soviet Union...

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3. Constructing National Interests

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pp. 97-120

To explain the historically contingent and culturally specific meaning of the national interest is to show how concrete elements of the security imaginary come together to produce representations of the state, the international system, the particular situation or threat faced by the state, and plausible courses of state action. In the case of the Cuban missile...

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4. Constructing the Cuban Missile Crisis: Cold War Representations

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pp. 121-164

Both the missile crisis myth and the description of the situation that emerged in the ExComm discussions issued from the postwar U.S. security imaginary. The orthodox story of the missile crisis became and has remained dominant because it represents events as occurring in a world of familiar objects and familiar threats, themselves forged out of conventional...

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5. Constructing the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Problem of Cuba

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pp. 165-196

Before 1958, the United States had not been “particularly interested in Cuba affairs” (Robert C. Hill, in Morley, 1987: 61) largely because U.S.-Cuban relations were proceeding quite smoothly according to well-established and accepted patterns. Nor did the Cuban civil war or insurrection initially cause excessive distress. In 1958, for example, it was still thought...

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6. Identity and National Interests: The United States as the Subject of the Cuban Missile Crisis

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pp. 197-224

At the center of the vision of the world constructed through the U.S. security imaginary is a particular understanding of the object or, more accurately, the subject “the United States.” A now classic story from the ExComm meetings nicely illustrates the importance of U.S. identity to the construction of the U.S. national interest in the Cuban missile crisis...

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7. National Interests and Common Sense

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pp. 225-242

As Benedict Anderson said of the French Revolution, its apparently self-evident “it-ness” (1991: 81) was in fact the product of an extended process of social construction. The same is true of the Cuban missile crisis. The events of October 1962, whether in their representation in the popular myth or in U.S. state officials’ understanding of them, were not simply apprehended objectively by participants, by later analysts...

Notes

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pp. 243-280

References

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pp. 281-308

Index

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pp. 309-316