We had the threat of Soviet missile bases 90 miles from our border. What we are doing now is the beginning stage of what Khrushchev was attempting in Cuba. And Khrushchev’s response was to the fact that Americans put missiles in Turkey, on Russia’s border. So he said, ‘OK, I’ll put them in Cuba.’....
“Well, we now have missile bases on Russia’s border with Poland. If we add the Ukraine, it’s like giving Russia two doses of Cuba. And Ukraine is a far greater strategic importance to Russia than it is to the United States. So the risks here are much higher for that reason alone than the Cuban Missile Crisis was.
The second reason is that the quality of American leadership today is not anywhere close to what it was when John F. Kennedy was President. Kennedy contained the situation. He stood up to the war-mongers -- to the generals -- and back-channeled communications with Khrushchev.
Khrushchev agreed to take the missiles out of Cuba, and Kennedy would quietly, six months later, take the American missiles out of Turkey. This was not part of the official announcement, but it was part of the secret agreement. Kennedy kept his word and removed the missiles from Turkey six months later.