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Monday, September 04, 2006

September 4, 1960: Time Bomb in Cuba and Possible Confrontation in the Congo

Cuba's recent announcement that it was establishing diplomatic relations with "Red China" was, according to an editorial in the New York Times "like the explosion of a time bomb." The move "gives Communist China its first diplomatic foothold in the Western Hemisphere. ... Premier Castro's defiant move ... can be taken as symbolic of the completeness with which he is waging what amounts to an all-out cold war against the United States. It should be clear that he and his associates believe they must win this species of war or be destroyed and their revolution along with them. They are convinced that the United States is out to overthrow them and the Cuban revolution. Consequently, their policies have taken on a 'do or die' quality. They are risking all in the belief that the United States is demanding unconditional surrender." ... In another editorial on this day in the Cold War, 1960, the paper takes up Moscow's intervention in the Congo: "By turning over to Premier Lumumba's regime planes and trucks capable of use for troop movements the Soviet government has clearly intervened in favor of one side in this new nation's complicated political and military struggle." The paper, noting that pilots and Soviet technicians are accompanying the arms to the Congo, raises two potential problems -- instability and possible U.S. intervention: "At the least the flow of military and technical aid ... is effectively sabotaging the difficult U.N. mission. Beyond that there is an even more serious possibility. If it should become plain in the weeks ahead that there is massive Soviet intervention in the Congo aimed at giving a pro-Moscow government in Leopodville complete control of that country, pressures would rise for counter-intervention by other great powers."

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