Fidel Castro: Korea standoff one of greatest nuclear threats since Cuban Missile Crisis

Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about being a young, anti-American leader engaged in nuclear brinkmanship with the United States, weighed in Thursday on the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula — in his first "Fidel’s Reflections" column for state media since June 2012. The op-ed serves up equal parts affection and stern ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about being a young, anti-American leader engaged in nuclear brinkmanship with the United States, weighed in Thursday on the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula -- in his first "Fidel's Reflections" column for state media since June 2012. The op-ed serves up equal parts affection and stern warning for Cuba's ally in Pyongyang, and admonishes Barack Obama that he will be remembered as the "most sinister character in U.S. history" if he fails to defuse the crisis:

This is one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the October Crisis in 1962 around Cuba, 50 years ago....

I had the honor of knowing Kim Il Sung, an historic figure, notably valiant and revolutionary.

Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about being a young, anti-American leader engaged in nuclear brinkmanship with the United States, weighed in Thursday on the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula — in his first "Fidel’s Reflections" column for state media since June 2012. The op-ed serves up equal parts affection and stern warning for Cuba’s ally in Pyongyang, and admonishes Barack Obama that he will be remembered as the "most sinister character in U.S. history" if he fails to defuse the crisis:

This is one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the October Crisis in 1962 around Cuba, 50 years ago….

I had the honor of knowing Kim Il Sung, an historic figure, notably valiant and revolutionary.

If a war erupts there, the people of both parts of the peninsula will be terribly slaughtered, with no benefit to any of them. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has always been friendly with Cuba, as Cuba has always been and will continue to be with it.

Now that [North Korea] has demonstrated its technological and scientific advances, we remind it of its duties to the countries that have been its greatest friends, and it would be unfair to forget that such a war would affect in an exceptional way more than 70 percent of the planet’s population.

If a conflict such as this erupts there, Barack Obama’s government in its second term would be buried by a deluge of images that would present him as the most sinister character in U.S. history. The duty to avoid [war] is also his and the American people’s.

Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. Twitter: @UriLF

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