After perusing the majority the Kennedy Presidential Daily Briefs, almost 2,500 documents, the overwhelming impression I gathered from this exercise is that the Soviet Union really was trying to take over the world. This conclusion may come as an unwelcome surprise to the legion of leftist professors in America’s colleges and universities who have been teaching naive college students that it was America’s imperial ambitions that caused the Cold War. The Kennedy documents clearly debunk this narrative.
The following are excerpts from a short period of time in 1961 taken from President Kennedy’s Daily Intelligence Briefings.
• June 17, 1961: Jet fighters confirmed in Cuba.
• June 26, 1961: Soviets and Chinese compete for support of Japanese Communist Party.
• June 28, 1961: Moscow consolidates victory over [Beijing] in Indian Communist Party.
• July 5, 1961: An impending influx of Soviet aircraft and technicians has been reported. Their assignment would include setting up a central maintenance base for Soviet-built aircraft supplied to Ghana, Guinea and Mali.
• July 6, 1961: Burma has decided to accept Soviet military aircraft.
• Laos: There are no developments indicative of a change of Communist objectives or tactics with respect to Laos. The ability of the Royal Laotian government to maintain its cohesion and determination to resist continues to be eroded.
• July 12, 1961: Soviets pressure move on Berlin.
• July 21, 1961: Indonesian Air Force crews will begin transition training next week in TU-16 medium jet bombers recently acquired from the USSR.
• July 26, 1961: Congo — The presence of a Soviet delegation in Stanleyville and the rising political fortune of Gizenga in the parliamentary debates at Lovanium indicate that opportunities may develop for a resumption of bloc [communist] penetration into the Congo.
This is just a small smattering of thousands of briefings, which are chock-full of concern for the Soviet Union’s aggressive global militarization and ideological agenda. Communist China seems to have been focused on internal threats and its territorial conflict with India, although it was certainly spreading influence and power throughout Southeast Asia.
Another interesting side note is the apparent concern that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev held for the failure of the USSR to provide enough consumer goods to satisfy the Soviet people. He even flirted with simple market-oriented reforms and a refocus away from military expenditures toward the manufacture of consumer items. This appears to be one of the main reasons Khrushchev was denounced and removed from power:
• Oct. 16, 1964: In retrospect, it appears conceivable that the seeds for the change were sown in late September during the Kremlin meeting on a new long-term economic plan. Khrushchev’s strong argument in favor of accelerated production of consumer goods may have precipitated a reaction against him.
I would hope that these newly classified documents would be studied by future generations of Americans as to the importance of standing up to threats against the homeland and political ideologies that are in direct conflict with our own beliefs and way of life. You don’t have to look very far to find examples of these types of threats proliferating in our world today. One could be forgiven for wishing that the old national security Democrats were still viable today and could join in a bipartisan effort to defeat Islamic extremism and other aggressors the way Kennedy did 50 years ago. But alas, the jury is still out on this question.
• L. Todd Wood is a special operations helicopter pilot who flew support for SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. A foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV and a contributor to Fox Business, he is the author of “Currency” (IceBox Publishing, 2011).
Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.