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