Monday, January 17, 2011

Today's Other Anniversary

Besides commemorating Martin Luther King's birth, today is also the fiftieth anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech, in which he warned against the military-industrial complex. Andrew Bacevich discusses that speech, and another of Eisenhower's, which bracket his presidency.

In that other speech, just after the death of Stalin, Eisenhower offered the Soviet Union a five-point peace plan, which is worth considering today:
First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Second: No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

Third: Any nation's right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

Fourth: Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

And fifth: A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
And Bacevich observes:
No doubt Dwight Eisenhower would sympathize with President Obama, having himself struggled to exercise the prerogatives ostensibly reserved to the chief executive. Yet Ike would hardly be surprised. He would reserve his surprise—and his disappointment—for the American people. A half century after he summoned us to shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship, we still refuse to do so.

1 comment:

J. said...

Another part of the Republican history that current neocons are intent on ignoring?