Lost Republican Wisdom

Back when moderate Republicans were more numerous and had control of the party's discussion, they could be counted upon to develop some fairly sound national security guidance. Here's one of those moments: First: No people on earth can be held,

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Back when moderate Republicans were more numerous and had control of the party's discussion, they could be counted upon to develop some fairly sound national security guidance. Here's one of those moments:

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.

In the light of these principles the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of war, toward true peace.

Not many people would recognize President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1953 "Chance for Peace" speech delivered after the death of Joseph Stalin. If you had to name five principles of grand strategy that the Republican neocons had resolutely determined they would not ever follow, in particular with regards to the Middle East, I don't think you could come up with a better list.

Eisenhower used the moment to call for the "reduction of the burden of armaments now weighing upon the world." He wanted arms control agreements, not just on atomic weapons but on conventional forces, understanding that more federal funds spent on defense meant less federal funds spent on fighting poverty and need. He would later follow up the sentiment of this speech with his more famous "Fairwell Address" in 1961, fifty years ago this week, where he warned about a "military-industrial complex" and a "scientific-technological elite" that could overly tip the balance of federal funds toward defense solutions and away from the "national welfare of the future." You just can't find Republicans like Ike anymore.

Hat tip to Cheryl at Phronesisaiscal.

About Jason Sigger

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