In this article, we will take a look at some of Kennedy’s achievements and traits. He was a reserved, pragmatic man, close to the popular culture, and a good negotiator. He was also a world leader. His accomplishments in foreign policy were legendary, and he’s still remembered today.
He was a reserved, pragmatic man
While younger, Kennedy served as an altar boy in church, where he took pride in being an acolyte. He liked to help priests and served the community. He also carried a letter from a friend in his wallet that reminded him of the pictures of poor people of JFK. His family, including his wife Ethel, also encouraged him to run for office, though he was more comfortable in black and white.
Kennedy was a reluctant public speaker and he was reluctant to take on major tasks. As a young man, he was unable to imagine himself as a visionary leader, so he was not a natural leader. But he was willing to learn. As a young man, Kennedy was fascinated by the Medal of Honor and kept a copy of it in his desk drawer. He talked reverently about the bravery of his older brothers.
He was close to popular culture
In his short tenure as president, John F. Kennedy became a pop culture icon. He was a flamboyant and glamorous man who had a wealthy, glamorous family. His wife was an elegant patrician and he had two adorable children. His brother-in-law Peter Lawford, a Hollywood star who ran with the “Brat Pack,” was a prominent figure in the Kennedys’ personal lives.
He was cautious in confronting the Soviet Union
In 1962, the USSR had deployed a missile that killed a US Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance pilot. As a result, President Kennedy found the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba intolerable. However, the Soviets had hidden the missiles and had lied to the U.S. government to prevent it from being discovered. Moreover, the Soviets had not yet removed their Jupiter missiles from Cuba. Kennedy negotiated a deal with the Soviet Union to remove these missiles from Cuba and dismantle the remaining PGM-19 Jupiter missiles in Italy. The missiles were eventually removed the next year.
The Eisenhower administration had relied on nuclear weapons to intimidate the Soviet Union and other potential adversaries. They believed that if Khrushchev was forced to confront the United States with nuclear weapons, it would back down before armaggedon struck. Moreover, Kennedy was very skeptical about the strategic value of nuclear weapons and wanted a strategy that would avoid global war. His alternative strategy was known as “flexible response” and allowed the United States to intervene in case of aggression with conventional weapons.
He was a good negotiator
When President Kennedy negotiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he used a simple tactic called “building a golden bridge,” which gives your counterpart something to tout as a victory. It was a remarkably effective strategy, and Kennedy used it often.
In the same way, he knew that good negotiations require patience and logic. Using the power of logic, he was able to successfully negotiate with the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis. For example, he asked why Russia threatened Turkey with missiles. He argued that the missiles Russia was threatening Turkey were outdated and would need replacing soon. This tactic worked because both sides understood the other party’s expectations, and they were willing to compromise.
Kissinger’s book, Kissinger the Negotiator, is a comprehensive guide for any serious negotiator. It is a must read for current and future leaders. It offers an in-depth analysis of Kissinger’s approach to negotiation, as well as practical advice on how to improve your own negotiation skills.
He was a great president
While his term in office was short, President Kennedy made several significant contributions to the country. He began to address the issues of racial inequality in the United States. In 1954, the US Supreme Court decided that segregation in public schools would be banned, but many schools did not comply. Kennedy also worked to end racial segregation in restaurants, movie theaters, and buses. In addition, he backed the massive August 1963 March on Washington.
Despite the many benefits of Kennedy’s presidency, however, there were many shortcomings. While Kennedy had a great vision and some sound ideas, he was not very effective at persuading Congress to approve many of his proposals. As a result, most of his major legislative achievements were pushed through by his successor, Lyndon Johnson, who was better at bending Congress to his will.