Some time back a friend gave me a book, "The Strategy of Peace" by John F. Kennedy. This is a compilation of foreign policy speeches and is fascinating reading. With a few changes in specifics, such as dates and locations, it could have easily been written today. Here's an excerpt.
Are We Up to the Task?
January 1, 1960
"Certainly it is time for a change – time for us, in the words of Walter Lippmann, "to come alive and and to be alert and to show vigor, and not to keep mouthing the same old slogans, and not to dawdle along in the same old ruts”.
But the primary point is that, whether we like it or not, this is a time of change. As a people that set out to change the world, I think we should like it, however difficult the challenges. For no nation is at its best except under great challenge. The question for us now is whether in a changing world we will respond in a way befitting "the land of the free and the home of the brave” - whether we will be at our best in these crucial years of the world leadership – whether we will measure up to the task awaiting us.
That task is to do all in our power to see that the changes taking place all around us – in our cities, our countryside, our economy, within the Western world, in the uncommitted world, in the Soviet empire, on all continents – lead to more freedom for more men and to world peace. It is only when the iron is hot that it can me molded. The iron of the new world being forged today is now ready to be molded. Our job is to shape it, so far as we can, into the world we want for ourselves and our children and for all men.
This will require that we recapture our national purpose and redouble our energy. For we seem to have lost both the sense of the promise of America and the will to fulfill it.
The world is now waiting for us to reapply the faith we inherited from our fathers, and to give them a new creative validity in the uncharted world that surrounds us. The road ahead, to be sure, is a hard road, a road that man has never traveled before, a road full of great obstacles. But America has never long faltered in the face of new challenges."
In 1960, as in 1932, the American people can, as I hope they will, turn from the party of memory to the party of hope. But the fundamental call to greatness is coming not from any party or any person but from history and the hard logic of events. From the lessons we have learned in two world wars, one world depression, and the Cold War, as well as from the history of this republic, the American people will now, I trust, be granted the vision of a new American in a new world. This is the vision without which our people will perish."