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Sachs Advises Biden: How JFK Would Have Pursued Peace in Ukraine

June 11, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—“Until now, Biden has not followed the precepts that Kennedy recommended to find peace” in his June 10, 1963 speech. “By heeding Kennedy’s advice, Biden too could become a peacemaker,” wrote Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs in a June 6 article for Common Dreams, published in advance of the 60th anniversary of that speech on June 10.

The speech was considered by Nikita Khrushchev to be “the greatest by an American President since FDR,” Sachs reminds his readers, leading Khrushchev to seek peace with Kennedy. The speech was also immediately translated and given widespread coverage through the Soviet Union.

“The deepest key to peace, in Kennedy’s view, is the fact that both sides want peace,” writes Sachs.

“It is easy to fall into the trap, warns Kennedy, of blaming a conflict only on the other side. It is easy to fall into the trap of insisting that only the adversary should change their attitudes and behavior. Kennedy is very clear: ‘We must re examine our own attitude—as individuals and as a nation—for our attitude is as essential as theirs.’ ”

Sachs concludes with advice to current U.S. President Biden: “In the context of the Ukraine War, Biden has behaved almost the opposite of JFK. He has personally and repeatedly denigrated Russian President Vladimir Putin. His administration has defined the U.S. war aim as the weakening of Russia. Biden has avoided all communications with Putin. They have apparently not spoken once since February 2022 and Biden rebuffed a bilateral meeting with Putin at last year’s G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“Biden has refused to even acknowledge, much less to address, Russia’s deep security concerns. Putin repeatedly expressed Russia’s ardent opposition to NATO enlargement to Ukraine, a country with a 2,000-kilometer border with Russia. The U.S. would never tolerate a Mexican-Russian or Mexican-Chinese military alliance in view of the 2,000-mile Mexico-U.S. border. It is time for Biden to negotiate with Russia on NATO enlargement, as part of broader negotiations to end the Ukraine war.”

In January 1961, Kennedy had stated his position on negotiations: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

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