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Watch the next installment of "The Sixties: The World on the Brink" tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT
(CNN) – The complex Obama-Putin relationship, along with the current state of affairs in places like Ukraine, Syria, and Libya is scary. But just compare it to the early 1960s, where nuclear war was a real threat.
Tonight's episode of the CNN series "The Sixties" focuses on that time, and the start of the Cold War.
"(President John F. Kennedy) said it's better to be cautious, and get a lot of criticism, a lot flack, then to jump iunto a decision you'll regret for the rest of your life," says presidential historian Robert Dallek.
"I think President Obama takes this lesson from Kennedy as well, he's cautious about using the military," said Dallek, author of "Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House."
Would Kennedy have approached the crisis in Ukraine the same way as Obama?
"Absolutely. I think he would be very cautious, his rhetoric would be firm and direct as Obama's has been," says Dallek. "He certainly wouldn't be mobilizing troops doing anything that would be terribly provocative."
For more of our interview with Robert Dallek, check out the video above