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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-17-13 06:12 AM
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John F. Kennedy-on peace and nuclear disarmament
Edited on Sun Nov-17-13 06:46 AM by No Elephants
Early on, JFK was the consummate cold warrior* and pseudo macho bs spouter, especially during his Presidential campaign and his Inaugural Address, which has been televised at least annually since he gave it. However, as time went on, he seemed to have other, different thoughts, perhaps based on successful avoidance, by him and Kruschev over American missles in Turkey ("pointed at the Kremlin"), followed by Russian missles in Cuba (pointed at the White House?).

Because he was so anxious to convey strength, especially at first, I freely admit to having cherry-picked the quotes below.

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.


(No Elephants says: So, if you really want peace, on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, consider thanking conscientious objectors for their service to the cause of peace)

We do not intend to abandon our duty to mankind to seek a peaceful solution. As signers of the UN Charter, we shall always be prepared to discuss international problems with any and all nations that are willing to talk--and listen--with reason. If they have proposals--not demands--we shall hear them. If they seek genuine understanding--not concessions of our rights--we shall meet with them.

Berlin Crisis Speech, July 1961

In posting this quote, I have a mental image of JFK crossing his fingers behind his back about always being willing to talk peace, because he clearly left himself plenty of "wiggle room." It's more like JKF trying to have it every which way--We're not the bad guys. We'll talk peace to anyone any time anywhere--provided I get to decide when the peace overtures of another nation are sincere or not. The proclivity politicians have for this kind of thing enables people with all points of view to assume the politician is on their side.

Men no longer debate whether armaments are a symptom or a cause of tension. The mere existence of modern weapons--ten million times more powerful than any that the world has ever seen, and only minutes away from any target on earth--is a source of horror, and discord and distrust. Men no longer maintain that disarmament must await the settlement of all disputes--for disarmament must be a part of any permanent settlement. And men may no longer pretend that the quest for disarmament is a sign of weakness--for in a spiraling arms race, a nation's security may well be shrinking even as its arms increase.

Peace is not solely a matter of military or technical problems--it is primarily a problem of politics and people. And unless man can match his strides in weaponry and technology with equal strides in social and political development, our great strength, like that of the dinosaur, will become incapable of proper control--and like the dinosaur vanish from the earth.

(The Berlin Crisis speech has a lot about disarmament in it. I am quoting only the above samples. JFK also discussed nuclear disarmament a lot in his First State of the Union Address (30 January 1961) and other occasions. It was a priority for him and he seemed to really fear that, by accident or design, the world was in danger of blowing up soon, a fear that led both him and Kruscheve to be sane over Cuba.

So many politicians, including Clinton, Reagan, Obama and Scott Brown, tried to copy JFK, especially as to his speeches (tip of the fedora to one of the very most loyal, graceful gentlemen in politics, the late Ted Sorenson, even though Kennedy was brilliant and witty, even extemporaneously.)

I find it interesting that Obama aslo made nuclear disarmament, albeit very limited, his mission in the Senate. I am not at all sure on this, but it might be the only bill he got passed. The City on a Hill reference for which Reagan gets so much credit was lifted, IMO, from JFK, not the Bible.

While the term does appear in the Bible. John Winthrop told his fellow passengers on the Arbella coming to this continent that they would be the city on the hill. (A voyage that long on the ships of those days must have been horrific. Add to that the terror about living in the unknown "New World." They needed inspiration and goals.) Winthrop then became the first Governor of Massachusetts.

In Kennedy's day (and now), the golden domed state legislature building sits atop a hill--the famous Beacon Hill. Kennedy gave his City Upon a Hill speech there as he was leaving Massachusetts to become President.

The mission is to create a new social order, rounded on liberty and justice, in which men are the masters of their fate, in which states are the servants of their citizens, and in which all men and women can share a better life for themselves and their children. That is the object of our common policy. To realize this vision, we must seek a world of peace--a world in which peoples dwell together in mutual respect and work together in mutual regard--a world where peace is not a mere interlude between wars, but an incentive to the creative energies of humanity. We will not find such a peace today, or even tomorrow. The obstacles to hope are large and menacing. Yet the goal of a peaceful world--today and tomorrow-must shape our decisions and inspire our purposes. So we are all idealists. We are all visionaries. Let it not be said of this Atlantic generation that we left ideals and visions to the past, nor purpose and determination to our adversaries. We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now. And we shall ever remember what Goethe told us--that the "highest wisdom, the best that mankind ever knew" was the realization that "he only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew."

John F. Kennedy: "Address in the Assembly Hall at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt.," June 25, 1963. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley

Thinly-veiled references to the Cold War?:

The world is even smaller today, though the enemy of John Boyle O'Reilly is no longer a hostile power. Indeed, across the gulfs and barriers that now divide us, we must remember that there are no permanent enemies. Hostility today is a fact, but it is not a ruling law. The supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of God and our common vulnerability on this planet.

Speech to a joint session of the Dail and the Seanad, Dublin, Ireland (28 June 1963)

(JFK actually got away with saying, while in Ireland, that Ireland was not the country of his birth but it was the country he loved most. Today, he probably would have been impeached for that, then tried for treason, even if it was clearly a diplomatic attempt to charm the Irish--not that Kennedy had to do much to accomplish that.)

Then, there is this:

Castro made that visit to Khrushchev from May to June 1963. The two leaders traveled together around the Soviet Union. Castro said later that Khrushchev gave him a tutorial on their joint need to trust Kennedy. Day after day, Khrushchev read aloud to Castro his correspondence with Kennedy, emphasizing the hope for peace they now had by working with the U.S. president.

Khrushchev was practicing what Pope John, whom the Communist leader had come to love, recommended in Pacem in Terris, where he wrote: True and lasting peace among nations cannot consist in the possession of an equal supply of armaments but only in mutual trust. The pope had sent Khrushchev a papal medal and a pre-publication copy in Russian of the peace encyclical. Khrushchev was overwhelmed.

In September 1963, Kennedy took another giant step toward mutual trust as the new basis for peace. He initiated a secret dialogue with Fidel Castro, through the U.S./United Nations diplomat William Attwood, to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations. Castro responded with enthusiasm and began to make secret arrangements for a meeting with Attwood. Kennedy jump-started the process by using a back channel to communicate with Castro. His unofficial representative, the French reporter Jean Daniel, was meeting for the second time with Castro on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, when they heard the news of the presidents death. Castro stood up, looked at Daniel, and said, Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The U.S.-Cuban dialogue died in Dallas.

Shortly before his death, Kennedy also moved to end U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. National Security Action Memorandum No. 263, issued on Oct. 11, 1963, says that at a meeting six days earlier Kennedy approved a program to train Vietnamese, so that the United States would be able to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963, and by the end of 1965the bulk of U.S. personnel. President Lyndon B. Johnson quietly ignored these plans. The Vietnam War reignited in Dallas.

Kennedys courageous turn from global war to a strategy of peace provides the why of his assassination. Given the cold war dogmas of his government and his own turn toward peace, Kennedys murder followed as a matter of course. It was a transparent act of state, which leaves us in the end with a transforming hope.

And then, a lone crazed, gunman, a Communist--our biggest enemies at the time--with ties to Russia and Cuba, but not encouraged by either of them, assassinated JFK (Or so all of 13% of Americans recently polled believe--hence all the programs this month, including on PBS, proving the official story that 13% of Americans believe). Nuclear disarmament and ending the Cold War became less of a priority and the Vietnam War, another "hot" military conflict of the so-called Cold War, more of a priority.

*A commentator on one of the many JFK programs running this month claims that Joe Kennedy, Sr. had advised JFK that, as a Democrat, he could not afford to appear "soft on Communism. On the one hand, this seems stupid, given that Democrats were decidedly the war party then, soft on nothing; and it had been the right seeking to stay out of WWII, like Lindbergh. Moreover, FDR was very anti-Russian (though, obviously, he swallowed that for the sake of winning World War II, and Truman had already fought the Korean War, the first big "hot" military action of the "Cold" War.

On the other hand, obviously, the New Deal that Joe had helped invent after the Crash of 1929 seemed to have elements of socialism, perhaps designed to stave off an American counterpart of the two Russian Revolutions. (Russia had its tsars; we had Wall Streeters, either "robber barons" or captains of industry, depending up your point of view.)

It's interesting to me that, after the first Russian Revolution of 1905, Russia adopted a Constitution, an invention of the United States, in an attempt to placate its peasants, while, in 1929, America attempted to placate its peasants with measures some consider socialist.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-17-13 07:42 AM
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1. Thank you.
Those are some interesting points to consider. Both before and after Kennedy's death the official US narrative was that the Soviet Union's sole objective was to "take us over" and to destroy our way of life. I guess this was the influence of the military industrial complex on the propaganda mechanism of the day. I suspect this is why they couldn't allow Kennedy to live. He could look at the world in a different way.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-17-13 08:59 AM
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2. You would find this interesting, I think.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-17-13 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thank, Enthusiast. I can't tell where it was published, Could be John Birch?
Edited on Sun Nov-17-13 11:14 AM by No Elephants
The Kochs' daddy made his money from Russia, but was a Bircher. Go figure.

There are loonies in every generationMel Gibson's father thought Pope John Paul was the anti-Christ.

One of my relatives swears Truman was Jewish because his name ends in man. No one can convince him otherwise. (Eichmann was Jewish? Or does that extra "n" make all the difference?)

JFK, the uber Catholic, was previously married and divorced? LOL!

Since JFK was white, it kind of cuts into the fact that people who say crazy stuff about Obama must be racist. No doubt, some of them are, but batshit political crazy knows no color lines.

During the 2012 campaign, a very tall African American was picketing and leafletting in my neighborhood with a poster of Obama as Hitler. As I said, batshit political crazy knows no color lines.
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