Daily Archives: November 6, 2008

Gideon Rachman

During the presidential election campaign Joe Biden warned rather injudiciously that world leaders would test Barack Obama’s mettle within six months of him taking office. Well, it doesn’t seem to have taken them that long. On the very day of Obama’s election, the Russian government announced plans to deploy cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, a tiny Russian enclave that borders Poland.

The Russians deploying missiles in a way that threatens American strategic interests and poses a test for a new, young, charismatic American president – what does that remind you of? JFK and Cuba, of course. A few months ago I heard Robert Kagan, an adviser to McCain, argue that inexperienced and liberal presidents are more likely to end up in dangerous international confrontations because hostile foreigners are more likely to put them to the test, and the new president is going to feel the need to show that he is tough. Eisenhower got through eight years without a truly dangerous confrontation with the Russians. But Kennedy had the Cuba missile crisis Read more