JFK’s Blueprint For Peace: Repurposed from his 1963 Commencement Speech At American University
I am talking about genuine peace, the peace that makes life on earth worth living. The kind that enables men and nations to grow hope and to build a better life for their children, not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Although he referred to it as a baseless and incredible accusation, he perfectly described the American foreign policy imperialists, especially since 1990, with political aims to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries to achieve world domination using aggressive wars
War makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be disastrous to the globe and generations yet unborn.
The expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired to keep the peace only destroys and never create is not the only means of assuring peace. Peace should be the product and the rational end of rational men.
World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor. They only have to live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. The tide of time and events will often bring changes in the relations between countries and neighbors. Peace is dynamic, not static it changes to meet the challenge of each new generation. Peace is a process–a way of solving problems.
No government or social system is so evil that we accuse its people of lacking in virtue. We can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements–in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture, and acts of courage.
The people of the US and Russia have many traits in common, abhorrence of war being one. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. No nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Russian people did in the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory, including nearly two-thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland–a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.
All nations must be encouraged to adopt a more enlightened attitude toward peace. The US must reexamine its attitude because it is essential to World peace. And every thoughtful citizen who despairs war and wishes to bring peace should begin by looking inward. They should examine their attitude toward peace, their rivals, the course of the cold war, freedom, and peace.
Government leaders should increase their understanding, contact, and communication with Russia. Maybe a direct line between Moscow and Washington. Avoid dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of actions that occur at a time of crisis.
Peace with Russia does not play well in Washington. It was hazardous to JFK’s life.