Pax Americana

To the Editor:

I have been wondering how many people are familiar with this term. And, for those who have heard it, who knows what it refers to?

From Latin, it literally means “American Peace.” However, in the modern sense, it has come to indicate “the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations.” Consider the evolution of weaponry in the last half century, and understand that the United States is the only “superpower” in the world!

On June 10, 1963, John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address at American University (AU); many have called it the greatest – and most important - speech of his presidency.

He said , ”I have chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

“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... 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….”

JFK went on to describe the “new face of war” – which meant global destruction 50 years ago! However, our nuclear arsenal has only increased, and, with capabilities not only indescribable, but also too horrific to consider.  Yet, we have spent trillions on new weapons since then, only to produce greater stockpiles of obsolete systems and WMDs. Kennedy thought this was wasteful and maddening back in 1963. How can our leaders justify our path since then?  They cannot is how.

President Kennedy sought to reverse the course set by President Truman at the end of WW2. Truman fell in love with the bomb, mistook it for ultimate power, and formed the NSA in 1947 to ensure our security. That spawned the CIA,  which – especially through covert operations – has done more to counter the movement toward world peace than any other agency in history.

In his American University speech, JFK continued,  “I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men… we have no more urgent task....

“Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament – and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it.”

The first step in that direction actually happened exactly four months later, when a Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (LTBT,) agreed on by Kennedy and Khrushchev, went into effect on October 10, 1963 – six weeks before JFK’s assassination.  He died seeking an alternative to Pax Americana.

Michael Luzzi

173 Boggs Hill Road, Newtown                                   March 11, 2014   

More stories like this: Kennedy, JFK, Pax Americana, world peace
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