Dear President Trump:
You’ve been President for 435 days now. You’re doing a fine job, in spite of what the liberal media and Ann Coulter say. If Roseanne Barr likes you, that’s good enough for me. But you seem to be getting bogged down in trivialities, like hassling Amazon and transgender soldiers. A big man like you needs a big plan, and I have one for you. You should make world peace—the end of war and even the threat of war between nations--your mission.
I suspect that this idea has already occurred to you. Before you became President, you criticized U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, and you called the Vietnam War “a mistake.” You clearly recognize that war should be avoided whenever possible, because it often ends up creating more problems than it solves.
War wastes resources that could be spent improving education and health care and pulling people out of poverty. As Dwight Eisenhower said in 1953, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” War is stupid, and bad for business.
Almost everyone--including Barack Obama, who won a Nobel Peace Prize!--doubts whether permanent peace is possible. According to surveys I’ve carried out for more than a dozen years, nine out of ten people think war will never cease. This widespread pessimism, far from deterring you, should make my proposition more enticing. Moreover, in many ways the time is ripe for ending war. Since the end of World War II, armed conflicts have declined dramatically.
Attaining world peace will require boldness, imagination and tough negotiations with powerful individuals and institutions, notably the defense industry. But the global economy has far more to gain than to lose from war’s eradication. Lockheed-Martin, the biggest defense firm, ranks only 56 on the Fortune 500. It’s a pipsqueak compared to Wal-Mart and Apple.
With your communication skills, you could amass broad support for a peace plan, building a coalition consisting of liberals, libertarians, fiscal conservatives, people of faith and business folk. If you promote peace aggressively, you might see results surprisingly soon. No one thought the Cold War would end until, suddenly, it did.
Here is how you might proceed: First, declare that world peace is your administration’s number-one priority. That will blow everyone’s mind! Then order Defense Secretary James Mattis and other advisors to brainstorm peace plans, including proposals for scaling back U.S. military operations without imperiling security. (John Bolton will squawk, but can him if he doesn't get on board.) The U.S. could chop its defense budget in half and it would still exceed the spending of Russia and China combined.
Meanwhile, you and other global leaders swap ideas for resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere in ways that further the ultimate goal of ending war. You and Putin (I know he’s still your pal, in spite of recent spats) could pledge sharp reductions in your nuclear arsenals and a moratorium on developing new weapons as a show of good faith to other nations. China and other major powers will surely reciprocate with military rollbacks, because they, too, would rather invest in hospitals, schools, roads and clean energy than arms. World peace is win-win-win.
If, as President, you help humanity take the first step toward overcoming the ancient scourge of war, you will go down in history as the greatest leader ever. Greater than Caesar, Napoleon, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi, Ronald Reagan. Jesus called for peace on earth. Trump delivers it.
If you have questions about my proposition, I’d be happy to talk it over with you at your convenience. I’ll also send you my book The End of War, which I wrote to persuade people that peace is not a pipe dream.
John Horgan, Director, Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology
*I sent a similar letter to Trump right after his election, but he never responded. Hope springs eternal.