By the time anyone reads this blog the foreign policy debate between President Obama and Governor Romney will have ended. Often I am dismayed at the content and tone of discussions of foreign policy. The focus is often on first strike or weapons capability. The cost of producing the most destructive, precise and durable weapons is in the billions of dollars. In some cases the Pentagon does not want the military machinery, but congress approves it regardless. As stated so often, "All politics are local." They must keep those military programs back home going or be one term representatives. We now have debates on the use of drones - unmanned remote controlled killers, unleashed from the Nevada desert. Many innocent civilians in the Middle East have lost their lives as a result.
We can allow our better selves to think creatively on how to be peacemakers in our world, looking for ways to engage leaders around the world in building peace. One of the shining moments for the United States in the 1960s was the creation of the Peace Corps. This creative program enabled young people in the United States to walk with people around the world, sharing not only expertise, but an appreciation of each other's culture. The Peace Corps continues to be the most effective good will program in our country's history.
I would also cite the peace treaties signed in spite of many obstacles. Most recently the START II treaty between the United States and Russia, reduces the number of nuclear warheads. Even with unrest in the Middle East the Camp David Peace Accord still remains in place after 30 years.
To be a country serious about peace we must engage our students in peace making activity as part of their school curriculum. Some schools have already included mediation skills training in their curriculum. The University of Notre Dame has a Peace Studies Degree. Students would be well served and our country would be well served if all colleges followed this creative example of building peacemaking skills in our daily life.