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Latest Nikita Khrushchev Items
The last time that a U.S. president looked as weak to a Russian leader as President Obama looks to Russian President Vladimir Putin was back in the early 1960s when Nikita Khrushchev regarded John F. Kennedy as a lightweight.
It has happened again. Our gaffe-prone president has filed another blunder on his presidential record. At the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library, he invoked history with his usual mastery of detail. He placed President John F. Kennedy in Air Force One, "on the flight back from Russia, after negotiating with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War."
Better known in the West for promising to "bury" the capitalist world, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev is also remembered by Russians for banning works that didn't conform to the Communist Party's notion that art should be straightforward, realistic and appeal to workers and peasants.
After leaving the White House in 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower fretted about what future generations would think of his legacy, stating that the peace and prosperity that marked his two terms "didn't just happen, by God." But as Evan Thomas writes in his study of the Eisenhower presidency, "[Ike] had trouble articulating just how that had happened. He never could admit that he had kept the peace by threatening all-out war. His all-or-nothing strategy worked brilliantly."
The world stood at the brink of Armageddon for 13 days in October 1962, when President John F. Kennedy drew a symbolic line in the Atlantic and warned of dire consequences if Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev dared to cross it.
In the waning days of the crumbling Soviet Union, a Russian expatriate I met at a Washington reception told me a story of Soviet leaders Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev on a rail journey across "mother" Russia.
With President Kennedy permanently glorified for history by a battalion of hagiographers (Arthur M. (Schlesinger Jr., Theodore C. Sorensen and uncountable other droolers) debunkers of his mythology face a serious public-opinion obstacle.
Direct diplomatic outreach to America's foes and rivals defines President Obama's foreign policy. It underpins everything from "resetting" relations with Russia to making concessions to Iran. It's intended to distinguish Mr. Obama from his unpopular predecessor, thereby garnering more support from friends and allies for U.S. policies.