This editorial appeared in the Juneau Empire on Nov. 16, 1983, a day after the Empire reported on a peace march through Juneau. Marchers were highly critical of U.S. foreign policy.
Everyone in favor of war, raise your right hand.
No one favors war, and everyone favors peace. Americans want peace. Soviets want peace. Poles want peace. Czechs want peace.
If we all agree on that basic premise, why then do controversies continue to rage over foreign policy?
This week about 100 marchers demonstrated in favor of peace. They also demonstrated against U.S. foreign policy and against deployment of more U.S. missiles in parts of Europe. They didn’t demonstrate against more Soviet missiles in other parts of Europe.
Few people would argue with the plea for peace. Everyone wants that. But many would argue over the exact view of the world that some folks are presenting as the best.
We aren’t experts in foreign affairs — and judging by some of the statements made by demonstrators, neither are they — but it just seems a bit too simplistic to wish and hope for all the bad people of the world to go away and leave everyone to live happily ever after.
Sometimes, a nation has to take a stand. Sometimes, unfortunately, that means putting a little force behind your rhetoric.
To our sad experience, the U.S. has tried to have peace at any cost before. The U.S. tried to stand back while Hitler was crushing Europe. We could have peace at any cost alright, but we would also be bowing to German masters today (those of us who would be allowed to live).
The Soviet Union has not been the best of world neighbors. It has set up puppet governments in almost every hemisphere, enforcing its style of government at any cost on anyone with the bad fortune to be standing in the way of its tanks.
Sometimes someone has to draw the line when the Soviets and their Cuban buddies get too wild. When they start building power bases in the West, the U.S. inherits the job.
Parts of Western Europe — even some of our “allies,” — seem ready and willing to play the part of pet cocker spaniel to the Soviets. They sit, beg and rollover every time their Soviet masters look in their direction. A pat on the head is a good as a gas pipeline to these folks.
That won’t happen in the U.S. — but only if we don’t let it happen. Putting a flower in Uri Andropov’s hair won’t stop him and his world-dominating buddies from killing another 237 innocent civilians on an airliner, will it?
What will stop them? We suggest that a continuance of the U.S.’s policy of strong defense is one way to keep the peace.
Peace. Everyone wants it, but you can’t have it by keeping your head buried in the sand.