In 2001, I sent a letter to President George Bush when he announced that he had established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. I wrote that we would learn together if the results of his desire to reap the fruits of effective social service programs that are enriched by the energy of faith-based compassion would pass the constitutional tests that might be raised. No one raised that issue, and the country was spared the drama of the secular verses religious foundation of our country. The religious right recognized a great victory.
The purpose of the letter was to recommend that the president also announce the establishment of a new position, the president's Peace Adviser. The Peace Adviser would have cabinet and ambassadorial rank. She or he would report directly to the president about opportunities to advance domestic and global peace.
The uniqueness of this position is that it would be the first cabinet level position in the history of the United States that specifically was responsible to balance the interests and desires of the country with the needs of the world.
Who speaks for peace? There is no dedicated spokesperson for peace in the U.S. government. A number of senior people speak ABOUT peace, but no one has the designated responsibility to speak FOR peace.
We believe that an advocate for peace should sit at the highest level of government policy making. A voice for peace should be heard on every issue that could result in either more or less violence of man to man, and man to environment.
No new government bureaucracy would be required to support this position. The president's Peace Adviser would depend upon thousands of issue related non-government organizations to provide factual, scientific and spiritual support. This would add a host of new voices currently not heard in the Oval Office, and begin to provide balance to the powerful voices that long ago captured the attention and loyalties of all current cabinet positions.
This would be a demanding and challenging position, but its potential value would be worth any effort required to bring the issues of sustainable peace and sustainable development to the same levels that currently are held by traditional approaches and institutions of national security.
The facts are that the traditional approaches to and institutions of national security are failing. President Eisenhower finally got it right when he said, "War settles nothing."
Peace is much more complex and vexing than war. We may be in a very dangerous and ultimately fatal loop of resorting to violence because we are the dominating power in the world.
Regretfully, no one in government has the responsibility to develop and implement peace strategies. We have a huge and very talented group responsible to develop and execute war strategies. Some balance is badly needed, and a good first step to achieve this will be to have a Peace Adviser based in the Whiter House.
A special feature of the Office the President’s Peace Adviser would be the Off-Earth or ET Section. An invitation would be made to the ET Spiritual Hierarchy to provide a team of two of its personnel to advise on space peace issues.
Of course, the Peace Adviser concept would be much more powerful if it was also adopted by other Heads of State. A network of Peace Advisers could provide a symphony of voices for peace in a world assaulted by the discouraging and discordant sounds of violence.