When I was 17 i broke up a fight between two kids I knew. Another kid I knew pushed me hard back, mad that I’d broke up the fight. I could see my friends were just being used so i said enough. I guess I was supposed to turn around and attack my friend who pushed me in hopes of a mass riot which would be a lot of fun for the tough kids, but not for the rest of us. So I didn’t. I didn’t give them the pleasure. But the fight was broken up and all my other friend was was disappointed and not really mad. He wanted to see a good fight. Me too! I love to see a good fight even though I act like I don’t. Love it. But I never instigated them because I could see what kind of ugly things they really were. That’s what people have to realize about any sort of battle, its ugliness. On that thought I present to you an excerpt out of a school textbook from the 60s. It simply consists of important literary documents and speeches over our history. I present one of those here to you today.
John F. Kennedy
Our Disarmament Doctrine
“Mankind must put an end to war – or war will put an end to mankind.”
Partial text of President Kennedy’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 26 1961.
We meet in an hour of grief and challenge, Dag Hammarskjold is dead. But the United Nations lives on. His tragedy is deep in our hearts, but the task for which he died is at the top of our agenda.
A noble servant of peace is gone. But the quest for peace lies before us.
The problem is not death of one man-the problem is the life of this organization. It will either grow to meet the challenge of our age-or it will be gone with the wind, without influence, without force, without respect.
Were we to let it die-to enfeeble its vigor-to cripple its powers-we would condemn the future.
For in the development of this organization rests the only true alternative to war-and war appeals no longer as a rational alternative.
Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer be of concern to great powers alone.
For a nuclear disaster, spread by winds and waters and fear, would well engulf the great and small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war-or war will put an end to mankind.
So let us here resolve that Dag Hammarskjold did not live-or die-in vain. Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace.
And, as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.
This will require new strength and new roles for a new United Nations. For disarmament without checks is but a shadow-and a community without law is but a shell.
Already the United Nations has become both the measure and the vehicle of man’s most generous impulses. Already it has provided-in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia-a means of holding violence within bounds.
But the great question which confronted this body in 1945 is still before us-whether man’s cherished hopes for progress and freedom are to be destroyed by tactics of terror and disruption-whether the “foul winds of war” can be tamed in time to free the cooling winds of reason-and whether the pledges of our charter are to be fulfilled or defied: pledges to secure peace, progress, human rights and respect for world law.
In this hall there are not three forces, but only two. One is composed of those wsho are trying to build the kind of world described in Articles I and II of the charter. The other, seeking a different world, would undermine this organization in the process.
Today of all days our dedication to that charter must be strengthened.
It must be strengthened first of all, by the selection of an outstanding civil servant to carry forward the responsibilities of the secretary general-a man endowed with both the wisdom and the power to make meaningful the moral force of the world community.
The late secreatary general nurtured and sharpened the United Nations’ obligations to act. But the did not invent it. It was there in the charter. It is still here in the charter.
The secretary general, in a very real sense, is the servant of this Assembly. Diminish his authority and you diminish the authority of the only body where all nations, regardless of power, are equal and sovereign.
The United Nations protects the weak
Until all the powerful are just, the weak will be secure only in the strength of this Assembly.
Effective and independent executive action is not the same question as balanced representation.
In view of the enormous change in the membership of this body since its founding, the American delegation will join in any effort for the prompt review and revision of the composition of United Nations bodies.
But to give this organization three drivers-to permit each great power in effect to decide its own case-would entrench the Cold War in the headquarters of peace.
Whatever advantages such a plan holds out to my country, as one of the great powers, we reject it. For we prefer world law, in the age of self-determination, to world war, in the age of mass extermination.
Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable.
Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of b eing cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.
Men no longer debate whether armaments are a symptom or cause of tension.
The mere existence of modern weapons-10,000,000 times more destructive than anything the world has ever known, and only minutes away from any target on earth-is a source of horro, of 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 no longer pretend tht 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.
A matter of life – or death
For 15 years this organization has sought the reduction and destruction of arms. Now that goal is no longer a dream-it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an 8unlimited arms race.
It is in this spirit that the recent Belgrade conference-recognizing that this is no longer a Soviet problem or an American problem, but a human problem-endorsed a program of “general, complete and strictly and internationally controlled disarmament.”
It is in this same spirit that we in the United States have labored this year, with a new urgency, and with a new, now-statutory agency fully endorsed by the Congress, to find an approach to disarmament which would be so far-reaching yet realistic, so mutually balanced and beneficial, that it could be accepted by every nation.
And it is in this spirit that we have presented to the Soviet Union-under the label both nations now accept of “general and complete disarmament.” -a statement of newly agreed principles for negotiation.
But we are well aware that all issues of principle are not settled-and that principles alone are not enough.
Our intention is complete disarmament
It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to arms race, but to a peace race-to advance with us step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has actually been achieved.
We invite them now to go beyond agreement in principle to reach agreement on actual plans.
The program to be presented to this Assembly-for general and complete disarmament under effective international control-moves to bridge the gap between those who insist on a gradual approach and those who talk only of the final and total achievement.
It would create machinery to keep the peace as it destroys the machines of war. It would proceed through balanced and safeguarded stages designed to give no state a military advantage over another.
It would place the final responsibility for verification and control where it belongs-not with the big powers alone, not with one’s adversary or one’s self-but in an international organization within the framework of the United Nations itself.
It would assure that indispensable condition of disarmament organization, a steady reduction in forces, both nuclear and conventional, until it has abolished all armies and all weapons except those needed for internal order and a new United Nations peace force.
And it starts that process now, today, even as the talks begins.
Our disarmament proposals
But to halt the spread of these terrible weapons, to halt the contamination of the air, to halt the spiraling nuclear arms race, we remain ready to seek new avenues of agreement. Our new disarmament program thus includes the following proposals:
-First, signing the test-ban treaty, by all nations, This can be done now. Test ban negotiations need not and should not await general disarmament talks.
-Second, stopping the production of fissionable materials for use in weapons and preventing their transfer to any nation now lacking nuclear weapons.
-Third, prohibiting the transfer of control over nuclear weapons to states that do not now own them.
-Fourth, keeping nuclear weapons from seeding new battlegrounds in outer space.
-Fifth, gradually destroying existing nuclear weapons and converting their materials to peaceful uses; and…
-Finally, halting the unlimited testing and production of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and gradually destroying them as well.
To destroy arms, however, is not enough, we must create even as we destroy-creating worldwide law and law enforcement as we outlaw worldwide war and weapons.
In the world we seek, United Nations emergency forces which have been hastily assembled, uncertainly supplied and inadequately financed will never be enough.
Therefore, the United States recommends that all member nations earmark special peace-keeping units in their armed forces-to be on call to the United Nations-to be specially trained and quickly available-and with advance provision for financial and logistic support.
In addition, the American delegation will suggest a series of steps to improve the United Nations machinery for the peaceful settlement of disputes-for on-the-spot fact-finding, mediation and adjudication-for extending the rule of international law.
For peace is not solely a military or technical problem-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 man, like the dinosaur, will decline and disappear.
Man’s new domain: outer space
As we extend the rule of law on earth, so must we also extend it to man’s new domain: outer space.
All of us salute the brave cosmonauts of the Soviet Union. The new horizons of outer space must not be riven by the old bitter concepts of imperialism and sovereign claims. The cold reaches of the universe must not become the new arena of an even colder war.
To this end, we shall urge proposals extending the United Nations charter to the limits of man’s exploration in the universe, reserving outer space for peaceful use, prohibiting weapons of mass destruction in space or on celestial bodies and opening the mysteries and benefits of space to every nation.
We shall propose cooperative efforts in weather prediction and eventually weather control.
We shall propose, finally, a global system of communications satellites linking the whole world in telegraph, telephone, radio and television.
The day need not be far away when such a system will televise the proceedings of this body to every corner of the world.
But the mysteries of outer space must not divert our eyes or our energies from the harsh realities that face our own fellow men.
Political sovereignty is but a mockery without the means to meet poverty, illiteracy and disease. Self-determination is but a slogan if the future holds no hope.
That is why my nation-which has freely shared its capital and its technology to help others help themselves-now proposes officially designating this decade of the 1960s as the UN Decade of Development.