A favorite movie of mine is "Thirteen Days." As a movie it really isn't a classic, but it really makes me think. A little background is in order here. This movie is set during the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 in the Kennedy White House. It's one of those historic suspense movies, but everyone already knows what happens. The star is Kevin Costner*, who plays Kenneth O'Donnell, a chief adviser and good friend of the Kennedy brothers. I don't want this to be a review, so I'm stopping there. I want to write about the things that this movie makes me think about for hours.
I always wonder If I could have handled being in that situation. If I had been in Kennedy's shoes would I have handled it properly? The stresses portrayed are immense and I don't really know how anyone could actually handle it. I mean I am pretty doveish, but still with the military pressing for war, would I be able to keep telling them no even when war seems inevitable and if it's going to happen we'd better get the first strike. Plus, knowing that any wrong move could set off an unstoppable chain reaction that only stops with the end of the world, could I make any decisions at all? I'd like to think I would be able to handle a situation similar to the one in the movie, but I wonder.
Hooray for playing pretend President.
This movie also really makes me think about the implications of nuclear weapons. It is amazing to think that once a nuclear war starts there isn't really any stopping it other than blowing up the world. It must be an immense pressure on the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Russia to know that if they let it go(by it I mean nuclear weapons) there is no bringing it back. Nuclear war between nuclear superpowers basically means the end of the world, which is mind-boggling.
It also makes me think about other things like the nuances of international diplomacy, but I'm not going to get into those.
Thanks for reading.
*I really wanted to find the clip of Chris Griffin asking, "How does Kevin Costner keep getting work?" but I couldn't, so here's this.
[to RFK] "You're a good man; your brother is a good man. I assure you there are other good men. Let us hope the will of good men is enough to counter the terrible strength of this thing that was put in motion."