July 11, 2016

New Storms Ahead: Will Leaders Act Rationally And Prevent WWIII Or Will They Repeat Past Follies?

"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses." - John F. Kennedy.

Below is an excerpt from, "JFK And The Unspeakable: Why He Died And Why It Matters" By James W. Douglass. 2008. Simon & Schuster: New York. Pg. 223-25.
"What was going on in the mind of John Kennedy during that time when the plot to kill him intensified? Did he have any intimation that, in Thomas Merton's phrase, he had been "marked out for assassination"?

Merton was a poet and a spiritual writer, not a political analyst. His premise for an assassination was not so much a political plot as it was a spiritual breakthrough, by President Kennedy, to "depth, humanity, and a certain totality of self forgetfulness and compassion, not just for individuals but for man as a whole: a deeper kind of dedication." From his Trappist monastery in Kentucky one year into JFK's presidency, Merton hoped and prayed in a letter to a friend that "maybe Kennedy will break through into that some day by miracle."

Nine months after Merton wrote those words, Nikita Khrushchev, who was no more of a saint than John Kennedy, helped Kennedy "break through into that depth" at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis "by miracle," just as Kennedy at the same critical time helped Khrushchev break through "by miracle." The form of the miracle, following Pope John's process, was communication, respect, and agreement between two political enemies at the height of the most dangerous conflict in history. The two men then turned together, at the risk of their lives and power, toward the "deeper kind of dedication" Merton described. It was a breakthrough for humanity that, according to Merton's inexorable spiritual logic, marked out Kennedy for assassination. With no knowledge of any plots, Thomas Merton had simply understood that if Kennedy were to experience the deep change that was necessary for humanity's survival, he himself might very well not survive: "such people are before long marked out for assassination."

Set in that spiritual context, as this entire book is, the question of Kennedy's awareness is not whether he knew of any specific plot machinations, which was unlikely. It is rather whether he knew, in the words of another poet, what was blowing in the wind, namely, his own death. When the question is considered in terms of Kennedy's thinking about his own death, we can see he had been listening for a long time to an answer blowing in the wind.

JFK biographer Ralph Martin observed: "Kennedy talked a great deal about death, and about the assassination of Lincoln." Kennedy's conscious model for struggling truthfully through conflict, and being ready to die as a consequence, was Abraham Lincoln. On the day when Kennedy and Khrushchev resolved the Missile Crisis, JFK told his brother, Robert, referring to the assassination of Lincoln, "This is the night I should go to the theater."

Kennedy was preparing himself for the same end Lincoln met during his night at the theater. As we saw from presidential secretary Evelyn Lincoln's midnight discovery of the slip of paper JFK had written on, he had adopted Lincoln's prayer: "I know there is a God — and I see a storm coming. If he has a place for me, I believe that I am ready."

Kennedy loved that prayer. He cited it at the annual presidential prayer breakfast on March 1, 1962, and again in a speech in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 25, 1963. More important, he made the prayer his own. Ever since his graceful journey on the currents of Ferguson Passage, Kennedy had known there was a God. In his deepening conflicts with the CIA and the military, he saw a storm coming. If God had a place for him, he believed that he, too, would be ready for the storm.

In his final months, the president spoke with friends about his own death with a freedom and frequency that shocked them. Some found it abnormal. Senator George Smathers said, "I don't know why it was, but death became kind of an obsession with Jack." Yet if one understood the pressures for war and Kennedy's risks for peace, his awareness of his own death was realistic. He understood systemic power. He knew who his enemies were and what he was up against. He knew what he had to do, from his turn away from the Cold War in his American University address, to negotiating peace with Khrushchev and Castro and withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam. Conscious of the price of peace, he took the risk. Death did not surprise him.

For at least a decade, his favorite poem had been "Rendezvous," a celebration of death. "Rendezvous" was by Alan Seeger, an American poet killed in World War I. The poem was the author's affirmation of his own anticipated death. Before the United States entered the war, Alan Seeger, a recent Harvard graduate, volunteered for the French Foreign Legion. He was killed on July 4, 1916, while attacking a German position in northern France.

The refrain of "Rendezvous," "I have a rendezvous with Death," articulated John Kennedy's deep sense of his own mortality. These words of an earlier Harvard graduate, who like Kennedy had volunteered for a war front, became part of JFK's lifelong meditation on death. Kennedy had experienced a continuous rendezvous with death in anticipation of his actual death: from the deaths of his PT boat crew members, from drifting in the dark waters of Ferguson Passage toward the open ocean, from the early deaths of his brother Joe and sister Kathleen, and from the recurring near-death experiences of his almost constant illnesses. The words of his American University address were heartfelt: "we are all mortal."
An excerpt from, "NATO: Lying All the Way to Barbarossa" By Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report, July 11, 2016:  
Europe faces many threats. But none of them from Russia. It is flooded by refugees fleeing NATO wars. It is weathering instability in nations like Ukraine, whose political order was upended by NATO-backed political violence. And Europe is plagued by the irresponsible, reckless actions of prospective NATO members like Georgia, run by incompetent regimes installed by and for Washington's best interests, not the stability and long-term interests of the European people.
An excerpt from, "NATO and US Agree to Deploy Military Forces Against Non-Existent Russian Threat" By Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project, July 10, 2016:
While the U.S. boils over with outrage following the prominent killings by police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the subsequent murders of five police officers during an otherwise peaceful protest of those deaths, NATO and the U.S. inch ever-closer to a third world war that appears otherwise preventable — if Western leaders would simply put down their sabres.
Video Title: Putin warns of nuclear war. Source: Inessa S. Date Published: June 21, 2016. Description:
At a discussion with representatives of various media outlets, Putin urges journalists to report genuinely on the impending nuclear war.
Nobody has anything to gain from a nuclear stand-off against Russia. The power hungry decision-makers are few in number, but powerful enough to have subverted mainstream media to misrepresent Russia as the main threat to international security.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, in a series of confused events, Soviet submariner Vasili Arkhipov refused his captain's orders by not firing a missile against the United States. By morning, Khruschev and Kennedy had come to a mutual agreement.

The world never truly understood how close we came to mutually assured destruction. It is important to remember that the rational actions of ONE person can avoid a disaster.

Have you done your part? Please share this video!

Video Title: Alan Seeger "I have a Rendezvous with Death " Poem Animation WW1. Source: poetryreincarnations. Date Published: February 23, 2011. Description:
Heres a virtual movie of WW1 poet Alan Seeger reading his most celebrated poem "I have a rendezvous with death"

The poem is definitively read by his nephew the great folklorist Pete Seeger in 2001 who reads the poem with a vitality that belies his great age
Alan Seeger's "Rendezvous" echoes a letter he wrote in 1915, in which he says, "If it must be, let it come in the heat of action. Why flinch? It is by far the noblest form in which death can come. It is in a sense almost a privilege. . . ."
Kind Regards

Jim Clark
All rights are reserved on this videorecording copyright Jim Clark 2011