John F Kennedy came to power in 1960. He was one of the youngest and greatest presidents in US history. In his book, The Sociology of Deviance: Differences, Tradition, and Stigma, Robert J. Franzese writes that “at the age of 43 John F. Kennedy became the youngest person ever elected president of the United States” (Franzese 258). Kennedy’s success can be attributed to the leadership qualities that he possessed. One of the most important leadership qualities that JF Kennedy possessed was that he was a flexible leader. Kennedy has the ability to negotiate across his party lines and religious affiliation. During his presidency Kennedy had military advisors from both sides of the political aisle. This shows that Kennedy was nonpartisan in his dealings. Kennedy’s bipartisan leadership approach allowed him to unite the country at trying times. It was during his tenure as president that Kennedy with the forces of communism that were a threat to democracy not only in the United States but to the entire world. Through the support of both sides of the political spectrum Kennedy was able to lead the United States through events such the Cuban Missile Crisis and the preliminary stages of the Vietnam War. Kennedy’s ability to negotiate across party lines allowed the US citizenry to talk in one voice when it came to matters of foreign policy despite the differences that existed between them in domestic politics. People thought of Kennedy as being a great leader. He demonstrated great maturity in the way that he handled foreign policy. Bearing in mind that JF Kennedy took power at the height of the cold war, it was important for him to not only be interested in the welfare of the United States but to the entire world. The decisions that JF Kennedy made especially during the Cuba Missile Crisis indicated that indeed he valued peace and security around the world. Despite the fact that JF Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev of Russia were political foes, Kennedy met with the Russian prime minister several times with the aim of finding lasting solution to the Cold War that existed between the United States and the USSR. The amicable resolution of the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1961 was as a result of Kennedy’s willingness to negotiate with the USSR. Through his diplomacy “JF Kennedy was able to save the world from the occurrence of a nuclear war” (Sommer, 107).
Despite the fact that JF Kennedy publicly asked his supporters to remain supportive of his anti-communism agenda, Kennedy has often been criticized for overstepping his mandate in his containment of communism. Historians have often linked the Kennedy administration to the assassination of leaders in Latin America, such as “Reference to the CIA assassination of Trujillo of the Dominican Republic in 1961” (Blum 146). In the process of containing communism there were human right abuses propagated by Kennedy’s administration that took place in different places in the world such as Latin America and Vietnam. In spite of the fact that Kennedy portrayed himself as a leader who maintained high levels of human rights standards, the fact remains that there were dealings by his administration that indicated otherwise.
In conclusion, JF Kennedy was a great president of the United States who took office in 1960. He was a great leader because he was flexible and able to negotiate across political and partisan divides. He was able to unite the US citizenry with regards to his foreign policy that sought to contain communism. Despite his fight against communism, Kennedy is criticized for human right breaches propagated by his administration across different regions in world such as Latin America. Different leaders were assassinated on the grounds that they were in support of communism. Some of the leaders that were assassinated include the leader of the Dominican Republic in 1961.
Blum, William. Killing hope: US military and CIA interventions since World War II. London: Zed Books, 2003. Print.
Franzese, Robert J. The Sociology of Deviance Differences, Tradition, and Stigma. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD, 2009. Print.
Sommer, Shelley. John F. Kennedy: his life and legacy. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.