My historian friend Steve Douglas has written the following account of General Douglas MacArthur’s transformation from brilliant military commander to advocate for an end to warfare as a means of resolving conflicts among nations. It has important lessons for today’s global dilemma.
A Bold Proposal for Durable Peace
by Steve Douglas
Outlined below is a Bold Proposal for Durable Peace, which, insofar as it emanates from the minds of the greatest military leaders and statesmen in American history, is a Proposal which President Biden could embrace as a show of his own strength against the many small-minded people that are, at this very moment, trying to stampede him into global war. This Bold Proposal is a restatement and amplification of the historic speech which General Douglas MacArthur made on Jan 26, 1955 to a civic banquet sponsored by the Los Angeles County Council of the American Legion, wherein he declared, “War (due to scientific advances in nuclear and related weaponry. ed.) has become a Frankenstein to destroy both sides. No longer is it the weapon of adventure whereby a short cut to international power and wealth – a place in the sun –can be gained. If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess the chance of the winner of a duel — it rather contains the germs of a double suicide. Science has clearly outmoded it as a feasible arbiter. This very triumph of scientific annihilation — this very success of invention — has destroyed the possibility of war being a medium of practical settlement of international differences. The enormous destruction to both sides of closely matched opponents makes it impossible for the winner to translate it into anything but his own disaster. The great question is — does this mean that war can be outlawed from the world? If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount. (pp 314-315 — A Soldier Speaks – Public papers and Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur). Prescient, far-sighted perspectives that were shared by the greatest of American Generals and Presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, along with Douglas MacArthur, comprise the foundation and substance for the Bold Proposal for Durable Peace that appears at the conclusion of this paper. The essay which follows will elaborate the political, military, economic, spiritual, philosophical and historical foundations of the Proposal. It will focus in detail on two aspects of General MacArthur’s storied career: (1) his leadership as a statesman , in rebuilding Japan after World War II; and (2) his genius in conceptualizing and implementing the famous Inchon landing/flanking maneuver that could have ended the Korean War in 1951, were it not for the State Department’s foot dragging and sabotage of the landing’s diplomatic, war-ending promise. In both of these cases, General MacArthur had to overcome massive resistance within his “own ranks”– —the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Dulles brothers-dominated intelligence establishment, Wall Street interests, and what President Eisenhower later termed the “military-industrial complex”—to secure the victories that he won.
The fact that he succeeded to the extent that he did then, is proof that those leaders who dare to act with a knowledge and appreciation of MacArthur’s genius today, can win not simply bigger battles, but the war against war itself! In so doing, it will hopefully open the eyes of the minds of U.S. and world policymakers to the recognition that, precisely because so many more people are coming to recognize how perilously close we are to the outbreak of an all-annihilating nuclear war, we are potentially closer to the realization of General MacArthur’s seemingly utopian vision that “war can be outlawed from the world,” than anyone might have ever dared to imagine.