During the Cuban missile crisis, serious differences of
opinion arose within the ExComm group advising President John F. Kennedy, which
we summarize here. There were three options: Soft (a blockade), Medium (a
limited air strike), and Hard (a massive air strike or invasion). There were
also three groups in Ex Comm. The civilian doves ranked the alternatives Soft
best, Medium next, and Hard last. The civilian hawks preferred Medium best,
Hard next, and Soft last. The military preferred Hard best, but they felt “so
strongly about the dangers inherent in the limited strike that they would
prefer taking no military action rather than to take that limited strike.”
[Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow, eds., The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White
House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 1997), p. 97.] In other words, they ranked Soft second and Medium last.
Each group constituted about one-third of ExComm, and so any two of the groups
would form a majority.
(a) If the matter were to be decided by a majority vote
in ExComm and the members voted sincerely, which alternative, if any, would
(b) What outcome would arise if members voted
strategically? What outcome would arise if one group had agenda-setting power?
(Model your discussion in these two cases after the analysis found in Sections
2.B and 4.B.)