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Follow JFK's example to avoid a Third World War.

AS soon as the Great War erupted on an unsuspecting public in August 1914 historians and politicians asked in exasperation why it had happened What had gone so terribly wrong? As Winston Churchill said in his book The World Crisis: "The terrible Ifs accumulate".

More than a century later no-one has offered a definitive explanation. What we do know for certain, however, is that the volatile region of the Balkans was, in 1914 - and still is in 2016 - the 'powder keg' of Europe.

So it was with alarm that l read that RAF Typhoon fighter jets have intercepted five Russian aircraft north of Estonia as part of a NATO mission.

The West is playing a very dangerous and provocative game if it does not show more sensitivity to legitimate Russian concerns about a NATO military presence in its backyard, and for Russia's historical fear of encirclement.

Twenty-seven million Russians died during World War II.

Russian military intervention in Ukraine, which included the annexation of Crimea, was the direct response of NATO and the European Union making moves towards admitting this former part of the Soviet Union - with longestablished cultural and historical ties with Mother Russia - to their organisations.

The declaration was unambiguous and left Russia feeling a sense of defeat and humiliation.

I'm just old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 - a confrontation between the two giant atomic nations, the US and the USSR, which brought the world to the abyss of nuclear destruction and the possible end of mankind.

President John F Kennedy said to his advisors: "The great danger and risk in all of this, is miscalculation - a mistake in judgment".

Kennedy had the prescience to understand that neither side wanted war over Cuba, but either side could take action because of security or pride.

By superb statesmanship Kennedy resolved the crisis without humiliating the Soviet Union.

I hope today's leaders learn this lesson and don't allow the world to tumble into war through stupidity, misunderstandings and complexes of superiority or inferiority. Do we really want a Third World War over the Baltic states? Peter Henrick, Northfield

By superb statesmanship Kennedy resolved the crisis without humiliating the Soviet Union. I hope today's leaders learn this lesson and don't allow the world to tumble into war through stupidity. Peter Henrick

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 21, 2016
Words:384
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