[Vision2020] Early excerpts from The Strategy of Peace, by John F. Kennedy

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at frontier.com
Thu May 19 21:54:57 PDT 2016

Early excerpts from The Strategy of Peace, by John F. Kennedy, edited by 
Allan Nevins

A New Approach on Foreign Policy: A Twelve-Point Agenda

In the Senate June 14, 1960

May 17, 1960, marked the end of an era -- an era of illusion -- the 
illusion that platitudes and slogans are a substitute for strength and 
planning -- the illusion that personal good will is a substitute for 
hard, carefully prepared bargaining on concrete issues -- the illusion 
that good intentions and pious principles are a substitute for strong 
creative leadership.

      For on May 17, 1960, the long-awaited, highly publicized summit 
conference collapsed.  That collapse was the direct result of Soviet 
determination to destroy the talks.  The insults and distortions of Mr. 
Khrushchev -- the violence of his attacks -- shocked all Americans and 
united the country in admiration for the dignity and self-control of 
President Eisenhower.  Regardless of party, all of us deeply resented 
Russian abuse of this nation and its President -- and all of us shared a 
common disappointment at the failure of the conference.  But it is 
imperative, nevertheless, that we as a nation rise above our resentment 
and frustration to a critical re-examination of the events at Paris and 
their meaning for America.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

This is the real issue of American foreign policy today -- not the 
ill-considered timing of the U-2, or the inconsistent statements of our 
Government, or the débâcle in Paris, where neither our friends nor our 
enemies could anticipate our intentions.  The real issue -- and the real 
lesson of Paris -- is the lack of long-range preparation, the lack of 
policy-planning, the lack of coherent and purposeful national strategy 
backed by strength.

      This is an issue worthy of a great debate -- a debate by the 
American people through the media of their political parties -- and that 
debate must not be stifled or degraded by empty appeals to national 
unity, false cries of appeasement, or deceptive slogans about "standing 
up to Khrushchev." For the issue is not who can best "stand up to 
Khrushchev" -- who can best swap threats and insults; the real issue is 
who can stand up and summon America's vast resources to the defense 
freedom against the most dangerous threat it has ever faced.

      For if the 1960 campaign should degenerate into a contest of who 
can talk the toughest to Khrushchev -- or which party is the "party of 
war" or the "party of appeasement" -- or which candidate can tell the 
American voters what they want to hear, rather than what they need to 
hear -- or who is "soft on communism," or who can be hardest on foreign 
aid -- then, in my opinion, it makes very little difference who the 
winners are in July and in November -- the American people and the whole 
free world will be the losers.

      For the next President of the United States -- whoever he may be 
-- will find he has considerably more to do than "stand up" to 
Khrushchev, balance the budget, and mouth popular slogans, if he is to 
restore our nation's relative strength and leadership.

<[The excerpts above were taken from the first three pages of a 50 cent 
paperback titled as above.  Fifty-six years later, with few changes of 
details, John Kennedy's text seems as applicable today as then.]>


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.fsr.com/pipermail/vision2020/attachments/20160519/c15f13f0/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list