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Lessons from JFK in a Tme of Trump


Lessons from JFK in a Tme of Trump

Jeffrey D. Sachs

In the last week of July, 54 years ago, President John F. Kennedy initialed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with his counterpart, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy spoke to the nation in a remarkable address, which reminds us of his gifts of vision and eloquence; of the obligation and wisdom to pursue peace even in the most unlikely circumstances; and of the world’s clear and present danger with President Trump, who manifests the opposite of Kennedy’s moral vision and steady hand.


What really gets to me is that there are no politicians out there with any amount of substance. The world is looking for “A Few Good Men”!


Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. There are some, it is just that they are few and far between and that a significant percentage of the US identifies with the “killers” not realizing that they will be among the dead.


The whole point of making enemies is to sell weapons and expand empires. The market takes us nearer to global holocaust and Spaceship Earth veers away in time. Captain and crew are traitors now, owned by the market, heading for disaster, and their foot is on the gas pedal.


A brief period of authenticity in our history that is unmatched. Even today the best intentions still rest on an unbalanced ecology. Restorative politics (for lack of a better reference) is needed and for that you need some honesty. We are getting there in our own twisted way.

btw great article!


We need peace, a movement for peace, to end war, to abolish planet-killing and species-killing arms.

We need a whole-system transformation, prioritizing ecology and humanity over competitive markets.

As a key part of that whole-system transformation: We must dismantle the looting class; abolish the investor-owned, limited liability corporation; address the legacies of colonialism and capitalism, and overturn the structures of “ownership” they created.


Left out of the article’s equation is the “Why” did this quest for Peace fail.

Achieving Peace was snatched from the jaws of success by the very Forces controlling Our Government to this day.

The mentioned Progress took place slightly more than 3 months before the CIA, Military and FBI decided that it must be stopped, and stop it they did, as detailed by James W. Douglass in 2008’s : “JFK and the Unspeakable - Why He Died and Why it Matters” (He Chose Peace - They Marked Him for Death).

Peace, like Wellness, doesn"t keep Corrupt Corporate Interests rolling in OUR money.

Endless War started THERE.


Yes, all of the things you mention. They are all connected. Just like healthcare that has been a burden for so long takes the threat of eliminating people from care on a massive level before we first pay attention and then actually do something. We do need a reset for our priorities.


Thank you Mr. Sachs - for this article.

It brings me back - I’m sure it brings many of us back.

Quality - that was Robert Pirsig’s theme in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

Quality - indefinable - but recognizable when you see it.

JFK had it - Jeffrey Sachs has it.

We have been lucky in this nuclear age.

Nothing lasts forever - especially luck.


With no offense to CD or Mr. Sachs: there’s a great companion piece to this article over at Alternet by Thom Hartman. It correlates well with discussions that always seems to pop up whenever a JFK legacy story appears. And, it’s a brief and interesting historical spin on what and who we’re up against. And, have been for almost 5 decades.
This is certainly another time for a serious heightened vigilance. I lived within the 170 mile radius of the SAC Headquarters during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. While the fear in the adult voices, during this time, was palpable and disconcerting the people had great confidence in President Kennedy and the leadership of his administration. It was very bipartisan, to be sure.
None of that type of bipartisanship exists today. The Trump Adm. is a clear and present danger to the country being propped up by a Republican Party that has completely lost its way. As in, totally lost.


This is a wonderful and timely reminder of what real leadership is all about! Kennedy and Khrushchev were both great leaders, who, having experienced WWII, wanted to avoid war.

The speech that JFK gave at American University in June, 1963, makes his intentions very clear, regarding peaceful coexistence. There is, of course, no other sane or moral option to this.


Yes,yes,yes,yes,yes, yes! The points you make are essential to the survival of the human race!


Khrushchev cried when he heard that they had killed JFK. He knew what it meant for the Us and the rest of the world.
JFK stopped the military when they wanted to start a nuclear war with Russia, I fear that Trump himself would be the one to launch a thousand missiles.


Pick any issue being addressed by DC politicians during the past four decades and “the adults in the room” are quickly escorted out of the room…or worse.


Finally, credit where it has been long overdue. Bravo to Jeffrey Sachs for setting the record straight on the most important events in the world’s history; I say that without any exaggeration, because JFK knew too well that the military might have overthrown him during the crisis and launched an attack on Cuba, which would in very short order have gone nuclear. (For proof of that, read RFK’s “Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis”). The Ex Comm hawks actually desired nuclear exchange because by their calculations, 100 millions Russians would die for a loss of only 20 million Americans (see “JFK & The Unspeakable”). RFK’s secret mission to the Russian ambassador made it clear that a military coup was potentially imminent. When the crisis had abated, JFK whilst writing to the widow of a downed U2 pilot, remarked to his brother that “Tonite would be a good nite to go to the theater” (referring to Lincoln’s Assassination). RFK replied: “If you’re going, I’m going with you”.
The 3rd book to read to fully understand events is Norman Cousins’ “An Improbable Triumvirate” which tells the part the author played as unofficial envoy between Poe John XXIII, JFK and Khrushchev which built up the levels of trust between East and West.
Finally, the generals were livid that the Russians had turned back peacefully and immediately denounced world peace as another Munich i.e. Appeasement. This is a constant meme of the limited military imagination and the reasons why civilians must be in charge of generals (“if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail”).
Bismarck said that the only lesson we learn from History is that no-one learns from History. Bismarck is 100% correct when the official histories maintain the lies that JFK was killed by a lone gunman when in fact it was a Coup d’Etat. Now that they are all dead, can we finally admit the truth? Because until we do, then the next President may not have the intellect, compassion nor moral strength to stand up to the hawks. Kennedy believed that the most important job of any leader was to avoid war. What makes sense to Humanity, does not make profits for the bankers. Just as Aesop told us: King Midas may have had lots of gold, but if you destroy everything you touch, what good is it to anyone?


I’m no history expert. But it has been mentioned that the US has been at war somewhere since its very beginning.
Kennedy saved us for the Cuban crisis, but not from Vietnam.Then there was Tibet, Korea,


May I jump in here? No-one is a History expert, especially not History experts! A couple of pointers:

  1. Think of History as an iceberg: what you can see above the surface is only 10% wherein lies the Official Version of History - like the Warren Report. However, we know that icebergs have concealed 90% below the water, and down there is where the truth lies.
  2. Do governments lie to us? Need I mention WMD, the official justification for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003?
  3. Understand that the biggest weapon in war is Hate. If the government orchestrated media can make people hate (whether they be Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Muslims, Jews) then we cease to think of the ‘enemy’ as fellow Human Beings i.e. first you must dehumanise the enemy. Next, you must dehumanise your own warriors, with fear, violence, ridicule, contempt etc. It is not natural to wish to kill another Human Being which is why in WWII, 90% of soldiers deliberately aimed too high.
  4. Look up the meaning of “False Flag” operations and then “Casus Belli” and “Cui Bono” e.g. after 9/11, what was the official cause of the war (OBL Terrorism) ergo destroy Afghanistan, even though no Afghanistan had any involvement whatsoever. Next, invade Iraq who didn’t have WMD etc. Who benefits? The guys who make the bombs and helicopters and jets and missile etc.
  5. JFK was assassinated because he had ordered the troops out of Vietnam. By November 1963, only 75 Americans had died there and that was 75 too many for JFK.

So you don’t need to be an expert on History. All you have to do is read the right book - James Douglass “JFK & The Unspeakable” is all you ever need to read to understand that all you ever thought true is a pack of lies. It won’t; make you an expert, but it will put you one step ahead of the rest of the planet.


You know, I couldn’t finish that book - too painful (“JFK & the Unspeakable”).

I have so many books on JFK, beginning with Theodore Sorenson’s.

I was thirteen when JFK was killed - thought the world would stop turning.

But it didn’t, and here we are.

I’m old now - and I’ve watched the world descend this path every day since then.

In “The Putin Interviews”, the book, I read with interest Putin’s thoughts on being ‘an expert’ on history, or more specifically, could one know what is going on if one were not actually behind the scenes, as it were.

Putin thought yes, you could, you just had to work at it, keep track of events, and use common sense, and you could get the real gist of what was happening.

Gorbachev thought the same - and I do too.

The situation is pretty dam bad right now - politically - and in a wider sense, ecologically, with The Earth System crashing - about to change state - good for jellyfish, insects and microbes of a certain flavor - bad for us.

All this knowledge and true narrow expertise in so many fields - and yet - here we are.

Moral Injury to the max - I think everywhere.

Maybe that emotion - powerful and still present amongst some of us anyway - maybe that can be channeled for the good ?

But I honestly don’t know how - can’t see the way forward.


“Maybe that emotion - powerful and still present amongst some of us anyway - maybe that can be channeled for the good ?”

Manysummits, I can totally sympathise with your sense of despair. Though I had only just turned 5 when JFK won the election, I can still recall the joy in our home in Scotland. After the joy, came the terrible sense of loss just 3 years later. However, given the choice between not knowing the truth (as my parents never could) or finally seeing the truth (made crystal clear by James Douglass) I prefer to know the truth, no matter how painful it really is. “The truth shall set you free” must be our rock to cling to. From that vantage point, we can become more than one voice in the wilderness - but a whole chorus. Be prepared to be ridiculed as a “Conspiracy Theorist” and instead wear the pejorative as a badge of honour e.g. you might say “And do you believe everything the government tells you?”. As JFK said: "Everyone can make a difference, and everyone should try. We are many, they are few.


Educated political leaders of wide experience and integrity are now a rarity - a nearly extinct breed - even given that politicians, like others, are human, with human foibles and frailties - the class considered “leaders” were not insane or driven by the basest desires. Wisdom and concern for the Common Good has been replaced by naked pathology, greed, corruption, bigotry, rampant ignorance and open subversion by wealth on a scale that should make every thinking person become outspoken activists…that is not happening anywhere near the scale needed to overcome the grave danger we face…“Camelot” was a point in time that gave us, unified and inspired - so very much - the conspiracy and assassination stole from us what has been irreplaceable and those responsible never brought to justice…very far from it.

As HowlingCoyote noted, JFK and the Unspeakable should be required reading.