In the latest CIGI-BSIA policy brief, James G. Blight and janet M. Lang examine John F. Kennedy’s (JFK’s) cautious skepticism — his “Black Swan logic”— which he used to scrutinize the potentially disastrous consequences of US military intervention. JFK’s black swan logic helped him to avoid his hawkish advisers’ forceful attempts to bring the United States into conflicts that would have quickly escalated into nuclear war. Shedding new light on his misunderstood behaviour during an era of nuclear uncertainty, Blight and Lang conclude that JFK’s skeptical, cautious approach is as indispensable now as it was during his presidency. 

  • James Blight

    James Blight is the CIGI chair in foreign policy development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and an award-winning author and scholar. An expert in oral history, he has been heavily involved in the making of the films The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara and Virtual JFK: Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived.

The CIGI-BSIA Policy Brief Series presents the research findings of leading BSIA scholars, developing information and analysis, including recommendations, on policy-oriented topics that address CIGI’s four core research areas: the global economy; the environment and energy; global development; and global security.