Theodore Sorensen

Theodore C. Sorensen was a speechwriter and special counsel to President John F. Kennedy.

Recent Articles

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1917-2007

When Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich and Paul Starr first conceived the idea for a liberal magazine that was to become The American Prospect , one of the first people they consulted was Arthur Schlesinger. It was an obvious choice. As a historian, activist and writer on current affairs, Schlesinger had been an intellectual beacon for American liberals since the Forties. He agreed to become one of the magazine's founding sponsors, wrote a major article for our inaugural issue, and as recently as 2004, contributed an election post-mortem predicting that hubris and incompetence would be the Republicans' undoing. We're fortunate that Schlesinger's friend and colleague from the Kennedy White House, Theodore Sorensen, has contributed this appreciation. (A shorter version of this piece appeared in our April 2007 issue). Like his great friend John Kenneth Galbraith, who died last year, Schlesinger played a central role in defining modern American liberalism -- and inspiring those of us who turn...

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1917-2007

When Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich and Paul Starr first conceived the idea for a liberal magazine that was to become The American Prospect , one of the first people they consulted was Arthur Schlesinger. It was an obvious choice. As a historian, activist and writer on current affairs, Schlesinger had been an intellectual beacon for American liberals since the Forties. He agreed to become one of the magazine's founding sponsors, wrote a major article for our inaugural issue, and as recently as 2004, contributed an election post-mortem predicting that hubris and incompetence would be the Republicans' undoing. We're fortunate that Schlesinger's friend and colleague from the Kennedy White House, Theodore Sorensen, has contributed this appreciation. (A shorter version of this piece appeared in our April 2007 issue). Like his great friend John Kenneth Galbraith, who died last year, Schlesinger played a central role in defining modern American liberalism -- and inspiring those of us who turn...

Another Missile Crisis?

In its typically heavy-handed way, the Bush administration announced today that if Iran suspends its suspicious uranium activities, then the United States will engage in multilateral diplomacy to persuade Iran to do so. This is consistent with the kind of multilateral charade that the United States earlier performed regarding North Korea, with its neighbors, and Iraq, with the United Nations. We hope they mean it this time, though the record is not encouraging. The continuing confrontation over Iran's emerging nuclear weapons program has been called a “Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion” by Harvard's Graham Allison, recalling what historians still term “the most dangerous thirteen days in the history of mankind.” Applying that description to the Iranian situation is a useful reminder, but not an exact analogy. Of the two, the Cuban Missile Crisis posed a far more imminent threat to our survival. In October 1962, we discovered that a series of nuclear weapons sites, less than two...

What Bush Could Learn From JFK

John F. Kennedy was decorated for his military heroism in the South Pacific in World War II. However, he showed even greater courage as president during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. At that time, his right-wing critics were denouncing him for pursuing a "no-win policy" in his approach to the Soviet Union's Cold War military challenge. Nevertheless, when this nation was subjected to its greatest threat, by the sudden, secret emplacement of Soviet nuclear missiles 90 miles from our shores, Kennedy had the courage and confidence to communicate, negotiate, even compromise with his chief adversary, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the man whose recklessly hostile arms deployment had every appearance of preparing for anything from the intimidation to the devastation of the United States. It was a compromise in the pursuit of a peaceful settlement, under which the Soviets swiftly withdrew all their missiles, under inspection, and without the United States ever firing a shot...