Urgent Appeal by Citizens and Institutions from All Over the World to the (Next) President of the United States!
The following statement was released by the international Schiller Institute on May 17. to be circulated as widely as possible. We urge our readers to sign it on the SI website, and help circulate it as widely as possible.
June 10, 2023 will be the 60th anniversary of the famous American University speech by JFK on what he himself called “the most important topic on earth: world peace.”
President Kennedy gave that speech less than a year after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, in the middle of the Cold War, but he was able to elevate his listeners to see above the geopolitical conflict and to look at the interest of humanity as a whole.
Today we are faced with a strategic situation far more dangerous than that at the height of the Cuban missile crisis. Offensive NATO weapon systems are much closer to the border of Russia than Cuba is to the United States. The destructive power of the NATO weapons is even greater, the warning time before their launch shorter, and the trust between the leaders of the big nuclear powers is virtually non-existent, compared to that between Kennedy and Khrushchev. The doomsday clock has been set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at 90 seconds before midnight, and that may be overly optimistic.
The world is in danger of splitting into two blocs, a NATO-U.S.-UK-EU bloc, and a Russia-China- “Global South” bloc. This represents the acute danger of a new world war, which would be nuclear, and would therefore mean the annihilation of the human species. Since Russia and the U.S. presently have 90% of all nuclear weapons directed against each other, which weapons could destroy the world many times over, it is an urgent matter of concern for every human being on earth that we find a way out. The solution must be on a plane that overcomes geopolitics and takes the perspective of the interest of the one humanity.
We, the undersigned, therefore express our hope, that the (next) President of the United States finds the greatness in herself or himself to adopt the viewpoint which was expressed by JFK in his historic speech.
President Kennedy said on June 10, 1963:
“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to 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.”
Many may think that it is impossible today for an American President to make such a speech. And indeed, Russian President Putin is today portrayed as more evil than Khrushchev was at the time, and China is also painted as a great threat. But President Kennedy nevertheless praised the Russians, and lauded their great contributions in science, industry and culture. He praised their courage in defeating Hitler in World War II, in which cause, they sacrificed more than 26 million lives. The world needs an American president who can see the best tradition in every nation, including Russia and China, as the basis for mutual trust and the basis for peace.
We the undersigned want America to be again the America expressed in that beautiful speech of JFK. We want the United States to be again a beacon of hope and a temple of liberty. We believe that this is the basis for “peace for all time,” as JFK said.