There is one thing President Obama, Republicans, and the general public all seem to agree on, and that’s skepticism about Russia’s agreement to work with the U.S. to work together to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Fifty years ago, however, it was the Russians who were suspicious of the Americans. On Sept. 20, 1963, President Kennedy suggested that the Soviet Union and the United States partner on a mission to send a man to the moon. The “space race” was in full swing then. Several years earlier, the Soviets had sent Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, to orbit the Earth. NASA was just three years old. Americans, eager to best their Cold War rival, were scrambling to outdo the Soviets in space.
Kennedy announced his proposal in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. “In a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity — space — there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts,” he said. America’s national security was also important, as were international bans on nuclear weapons, so Kennedy added, “The Soviet Union and the United States, together with their allies, can achieve further agreements — agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction.”
The president’s proposal for a joint mission surprised many on both sides. The Soviet Union’s foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, called Kennedy’s remarks “a good sign,” but wouldn’t comment on the proposal. Many Americans were outraged at the idea of working with the enemy. Others saw the move not as smart politics, but as an attempt to offset the astronomical cost of the U.S.’s fledgling lunar program.
According to a 1997 interview with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s son, the Soviet leader decided in November of 1963 to accept Kennedy’s proposal. Khrushchev initially rejected the suggestion, but began having second thoughts when he realized a joint lunar program could help the Soviets learn more from the Americans’ technology.
A week later, Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. His successor as president, Lyndon Johnson, would push ahead with a U.S. lunar program, but never seek cooperation with the Soviets. Six years later, the United States sent Neil Armstrong to the moon.
Chemical weapons and space missions have little in common; neither do Russian and American presidents, past and present. But when Russian President Vladimir Putin recently wrote in The New York Times, his words seemed to echo those Kennedy spoke 50 years ago: “If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.”
What We're Following See More »
A new Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each earning 41% support. On the one hand, the poll has been skewing in Trump's favor this year, relative to other polls. But on the other, data guru Nate Silver called the IBD/TIPP poll the most accurate in 2012.
"Sen. Bernie Sanders, a loyal soldier for Hillary Clinton since he conceded the Democratic presidential nomination in July, plans to push liberal legislation with like-minded senators with or without Clinton’s support if she is elected— and to aggressively oppose appointments that do not pass muster with the party’s left wing." Sanders and other similarly inclined senators are already "plotting legislation" on climate change, prison reform, the minimum wage, and tuition-free college.
"The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use."
Baseball great Curt Schilling says he still needs to clear a challenge to Sen. Elizabeth Warren with his wife, but in the meantime, he's found something to occupy him: the former hurler is going to host a daily online radio show on Breitbart.com. "The show marks Schilling’s return to media six months after ESPN fired him for sharing an anti-transgender Facebook post."
The New Yorker has endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying that "barring some astonishment," she will become the next president. Calling Clinton "distinctly capable," the magazine excoriates Donald Trump as a candidate who "favors conspiracy theory and fantasy, deriving his knowledge from the darker recesses of the Internet and 'the shows.'" Additionally, the historical nature of the possibility of "send[ing] a woman to the White House" is not lost on the editors, who note the possibility more than once in the endorsement.