Recently National Public Radio commented that congressional candidates were debating about whether to campaign on the issues surrounding “Russia” in their upcoming elections
Why not “leapfrog” the typical Russian issues and press Russia, the U.S., and the world to do what world affairs and an angry Mother Nature is inconveniently demanding we do — dramatically expand our peaceful national service programs, like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat, Doctors Without Borders, Head Start, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Americans Friends Service Committee, TechnoServe, Heifer, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, State Conservation Corps, In-Need Schools, Hospitals Therapy Wards, Homes For The Elderly, etc.?
In front of the world, urge Russia and the US to serve together doing Joint Peace Corps projects throughout the world, especially in those parts of the world where our sabers rattle too closely to theirs. Think Russian-US peaceful cooperation unlikely? Look at our Space Station work.
We were once close to implementing a joint U.S.-Russian Peace Corps. Let the visionary in Congress reintroduce an updated version of visionary Congresswoman Boxer’s HR1807 of 1989.
John Kennedy would smile on those with the vision and insight to challenge the Russians to join us in peaceful development endeavors. In addition, it would do wonders for improving our politics, public policy IQ, and standing in the world, while avoiding trillions of warfare dollars over the decades.
This wise talk about Russia would be a smart addition to any congressional campaign.
FOR MOST OF the 125,000 of us who worked with the Peace Corps, President John Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural words served as our invisible armband: “Ask not what America can do for you, but together what we can do for the freedom of man.”
Hopefully, President Bush was the world leader who said to Gorbachev during his visit to Washington: “Ask not what you can do for just your country, but together what we can do for the world.”
Bush should support legislation that provides for joint implementation with the Soviets of projects that are designed to address problems In areas including care of the elderly and the disabled, health, and protection of the environment.
The sooner American and Soviet “peace corps volunteers” can serve under that invisible armband, the more quickly we will have fewer hungry and angry people.
At about $20,000 per volunteer per year, there are few better long-term investments. Shifting the $400 million (and climbing) that goes into building a single B-1 bomber to funding for 20,000 U.S. volunteers for a year In an American-Soviet Peace Corps would be a giant step toward a kinder and gentler mankind.
This Peace Corps would start with Soviets and Americans training, living and working together in their respective nations. Then volunteers would live and work together on problems facing lesser-developed nations.
The world needs concerted and coordinated efforts from the superpowers so that they may better understand each other and global needs.
An American-Soviet Peace Corps would be a small step that moves all of mankind forward.
Dwayne Hunn is a former Peace Corps volunteer in India. He now lives in Mill Valley.
In 1989 the Marin Independent Journal gave this Editorial endorsement to the American Soviet (or United States-Soviet) Peace Corps Proposal.
Wednesday, December 13, 1989 Marin Independent Journal
A U.S.-Soviet Peace Corps
IN 1961, President John F. Kennedy did something visionary: he created the Peace Corps to export American expertise to those nations of the world struggling to keep up with the demands of the 20th century.
Today, Novato resident Dwayne Hunn holds another vision: an American-Soviet Peace Corps that will bring together people from the two most powerful nations on Earth to work as teams on worthwhile projects in undeveloped nations. Rep. Barbara Boxer, D-Greenbrae, has introduced a resolution in the House supporting the idea.
The goals of each organization would be similar: to foster interpersonal bonds, to teach us about the Soviets and them about us, and to make it far harder for the people of either nation to harbor hatred for each other based on ignorance.
Hunn’s American-Soviet Peace Corps would be a good way to increase understanding between our two nations and to make sure the Cold War retreats into the dimness of history, never to return.
Thank you for your recent, letter. I enjoyed speaking with you at the Norcal Returned Peace Corps volunteers meeting in San Francisco regarding the American-Soviet Peace Corps proposal. It is always good to hear feedback and suggestions from RPCVs. You will be pleased to know that meetings with Congresswoman Boxer and Congressman Kennedy have already been scheduled to further discuss this proposal.
Your interest in our Urban Initiative is also most appreciated. I, too, feel Peace Corps should actively return to the cities, where Volunteers can have a significant impact on the development of these urban areas.
Again, thank you for your letter and information regarding the American-Soviet Peace Corps proposal.
Gorbachev has opened a window of opportunity to the world. His changes give all politicians fewer excuses to not redirect military spending to pressing social and humanitarian needs. While the window of opportunity is open, we must establish programs that will open so many windows that the fresh, warm air of new ideas will never again be closed by cold or hot wars.
One means of doing that is with an American-Soviet Peace Corps.
An American-Soviet Peace Corps would act much like the American Peace Corps established by President Kennedy in 1961. Soviet and American volunteers would train for at least three months in language, custom, and work skills essential to their job performance. From the start of training until completion of service (usually two years later) a Soviet and an American would be roommates and workmates. This small program difference from the American Peace Corps could make a world of difference.
The results should be clear to all of us who have experienced living and working alongside strangers on projects that we knew were worthwhile endeavors. Interpersonal bonds will be built between the Soviet and American volunteers as well as with those in whose nations the work is done.
From their time of service onward, each volunteer’s “working bonds” will allow all involved to more easily “reach out and touch someone” who may be half way around the world. The world will more quickly become a global village of friends.
These working bonds will make it more difficult for radicals or narrow minded bureaucrats to develop national hatred for nations whose volunteers have worked at the grassroots level with their people. The world will more personally understand national needs and desires because more people from the world’s most powerful nations will have worked face-to-face with the people of nations in need.
Since 1961 approximately 125,000 American Peace Corps have served in underdeveloped nations around the world. Millions of people in underdeveloped nations have been touched by the efforts of those volunteers. Without those efforts and resulting relationships, many of those nations would probably have more antagonistic policies toward America.
Consider this. The Peace Corps was withdrawn from Nicaragua in 1979, as the Sandinistas wrenched power away from the American supported President Somoza; and from Iran in 1976, as the Ayatolla’s campaign against the American supported Shah began toppling the Shah’s regime. An American Peace Corps may not have been wanted in those countries during those troubled periods, but had an American-Soviet Peace Corps been in existence then, an option other than military support could have been added to the means of reducing tensions in those areas.
Neither the American Peace Corps nor the American-Soviet Peace Corps should be a tool of diplomatic policy. It is obvious, however, that international crisis most often stem from the failure to provide unmet basic needs — such as food, sanitation, health and literacy. The state of today’s world does not presage that delivery of those needs is about to drastically improve.
The Green Revolution that started boosting world grain production in the late 60’s peaked in the mid-80’s. Consumption and population has continued to increase and carryover stocks of food have been falling.
Each year land area 6.5 times as large as Belgium becomes so impoverished that they are unprofitable to farm or graze. Desertification marches on as people in need cut trees for fuel and heat; erosion results from the lost root structures; rains erode fertile lands; rangelands for grazing are reduced and what remains is overgrazed.
Global temperature records spanning the last century show that the five warmest years have all occurred in the eighties – 1980,1981,1983,1987,1988. With global warming comes the depletion of the ozone Scientists tell us that restoring the lost rain forests is one of the means of checking the disasters global warming and ozone depletion bring.
Of course, the profligate lifestyle lead by those of us born into the rich nations of the world — carbon dioxide spewing automobiles for the shortest trip; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, alias freon) dumped into the atmosphere from air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosol sprayers and fast food carryout containers; plastic, aluminum and convenience throwaways substituted for the most minor social inconvenience polluting our shrinking landfills; these acts do more to ravage the atmosphere than do the forest cuttings of the struggling, uneducated and unaware poor.
Yet, it may be that only by working with the poor on their needs can we learn enough to make the rich and the poor more aware of the care needed to preserve our fragile planet. Watching the destruction of our environment on the television news or reading about solutions in a newsmagazine will never foster the lifestyle change that results from working on and against the problem.
Returned Peace Corps volunteers often say that the Peace Corps experience “taught them more than they were able to teach.” The same lessons would be etched into the American-Soviet PCVs character. Coming from the classroom of the world where needs and desires are more basic, their experiences would help change the wasteful lifestyle that harms the environment and harmonious social progress.
While attending Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School, the Jesuits had me reading books by Dr. Tom Dooley and Albert Schweitzer. Thoughts about the authors’ work among the poor in less developed areas of the world never left some corner of my mind. Years later I was part of a Peace Corps Urban Community Development Group working in the slums of Bombay where maimed beggars, poor people scavenging garbage piles for food became common sights and where rats outnumbered the population 5-1.
Years later, from comfortable Marin County California, those memories prompted me to try to start a model Soviet American Peace Corps with foundation funding. Failing to raise the needed funding, I sought Congressional support.
In the spring 1989 session of Congress, Congresswoman Boxer introduced HR 1807 requesting:
“… the President to conclude agreements with the appropriate representative of the Government of the Soviet Union to create the United State-Soviet Peace Corps.”
A United States-Soviet Peace Corps could give the world cleaner skies under which fewer hungry and fewer angry people could sleep.
Thank you for your letter. Your proposal to organize Soviet American Peace Corps is very interesting. We have the same proposals not only from you but from other different US organizations. The idea is very attractive but it requires a lot of resources to implement it. I recommend you to contact Rama Vernon, President of the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue who is a coordinator in different Soviet-American projects. We hope she would be able to assist you in implementation of your project
Have you asked her to do it again this year for America’s World Service Corps Congressional Proposal, giving us the army the 21st century needs?
Congress of United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
May 25, 1988
Dear Mr. Hunn:
Thank you for contacting me again about the Soviet-American Peace Corps. I am very pleased to see that you have continued to work on raising the profile of the concept. I am very impressed by your tireless dedication to the creation of such an organization.
I have in fact given the subject further thought, and I plan to introduce the enabling legislation. I apologize if you perceive us to be moving slowly, but I assure you it is only a function of the legislation and concomitant workload to which we have already committed for this session, and not a lack of enthusiasm for your proposal.
Beyond the issues John Callon of my staff discussed with you regarding the necessity of an open application and admissions process, I am also of a mind that the initial program should be directed at work on projects in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., rather than leaping fully from the start into Third World development. I believe doing it this way would simplify the initial organizational and logistical challenge, leave more room for the massaging of any problems which arise, and keep the program more directly in the public eye. This would allow public awareness and support for the program to grow. I would be interested in your reaction to this.
When I have the proposal drafted, I will send it to you and meet with Representative Kennedy to discuss it. Your feedback before the bill is in final form will be important.
Thank you again for your excellent efforts. I look forward to working with you further. We will get back to you in two weeks.
During the late 1980’s I did a number of these TV public service announcements pushing the ASPC. Imagine how much healthier our and Russia’s relations with the world would be today had we built it 20+ years ago.
Feel free to do your own PSAs on TV or to just a couple friends… or pests.
While at it, why not ask past supporters and now Senators Boxer and Feinstein to bring back the American Soviet Peace Corps (ASPC) and link it with the American World Service Corps (AWSC).
FOR MORE THAN A DECADE the deserts have spread over once-productive African lands. Now African famines are the harvests being reaped. In our Latin American back yard inflation soars, insurrections take innocent lives, governments tumble and communist regimes spring up or become more likely.
Our answer? Politically, the out-of-power party blames the in-power party for not implementing a long-range plan to combat such tragedies and evils. What I propose is a program for which both parties can take credit – the Democrats for initiating it and the Republicans for expanding it. Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator of this decade, could assure his place on the list of great presidents by a simple bold but peaceful move.
In the early 1960s, Sargent Shriver, the Peace Corps first director, said:
“If the Pentagon’s map is more urgent, the Peace Corps is, perhaps, in the long run the most important…What happens in India, Africa, and South America – whether the nations where the Peace Corps works succeed or not – may well determine the balance of peace.”
In 1966 America spent $114 million to send 15,556 Peace Corps volunteers into service, the most dollars ever committed to volunteers.
At the time, Sen. Jacob Javits proposed a Peace Army of a million young men. Labor leaders advocated a service corps of 100,000. The Peace Corps first deputy director, Warren Wiggins, called for a corps of 30,000 to 100,000.
In 1984 America spent approximately $108.5 million and sent approximately 5,200 volunteers into service.
What happened? Had the world’s plight improved so much that we could cut the Peace Corps by two-thirds? Were the hearts and minds of enough Third World people swayed to see the economic and social benefits of the democratic way? Had communist-inspired turmoil and revolt diminished? Did we find a better way to let the world know who we Americans were than by exporting our skills, courage and heart through the Peace Corps?
From 1965 to 1974, we assigned 2,582,304 soldiers with a budget of $138.1 billion to defoliate, mutilate and whore over the countryside of Vietnam. The cost for these services was $53,480 per soldier. In that same period we sent 108,579 Peace Corps volunteers with a budget of $956 million to teach, build and inspire over the world. The cost was $8,809 per volunteer.
If America had used the Southeast Asian war budget to send volunteers into the world, America could have sent more than 15 million people out to plant crops, ideas and ideals. Which choice do you think would have most benefited our long-term national security desires? Our economy? The global village’s needs?
Former California Congressman John Burton in his last Washington Report to his constituents wrote in 1981:
“When I was first elected to Congress eight and one-half years ago, some of the issues facing us were the war in Vietnam, the escalating arms race… Now as I leave Congress, the issues are American involvement in Nicaragua and other parts of Central America, which might become the next Vietnam, the nuclear arms race typified by the MX missile…”
What America needs today is leadership that will put 100,000-plus volunteers into the field of economic development:
Challenging communist economic ideas with practical programs.
Helping Africa reclaim its desert and grow food.
Pitting the character of the working volunteer against the slogans of radicals and terrorists attempting to antagonize the masses.
Establishing the economic and educational infrastructure of developing countries.
Then we need leadership that challenges the Russians to do the same. President Reagan is the only leader that could do this today.
In 1963 President John Kennedy said:
“In some small village, volunteers will lay a seed which will bring a rich harvest for us all in later days.”
He was right. It happened. But the crop comes from small gardens. We should be tilling fields upon fields. The time is late. We need to lay more seeds.
Dwayne Hunn of Mill Valley sewed in the Peace Corps in India from 1966-68 and speaks to groups about the importance of the Peace Corps.
Marin Independent Journal, Wednesday July 2, 1986
Partnership to build a better Earth
By Dwayne Hunn
DARTH VADER need not battle homeless white knights eons from now if treacherous frontiers are conquered today.
Reagan: Gorbachev, my boy, the whole world knows your economy is not red hot and your Ukrainian breadbasket is leaking hot water. You also have some money and media problems that even you must admit.Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev could assure this result at the next summit meeting. Their conversation could go something like this:
On the other hand, our stock market is sizzling and I am cutting our peoples’ taxes. With so much spare change, I am about to give another $300 billion to the Pentagon.
Since you Russians have this penchant for wanting to keep up with the Pentagon Jones. I can imagine what this does to the nerves of the Politburo’s allowance-givers. So I am about to make you an offer you would be a fool to refuse.
Gorbachev: Why would a politician such as you make me a good deal?
Reagan: Maybe because it is the right thing to do, or because I am tired of you and those Democrats calling me a gun-swaggering cowboy.
Gorbachev: What is in it for me?
Reagan: You help your nation’s image without marching in your army or mercenaries. You force your snobbish international delegates to learn some etiquette. You give your increasingly restless young people and many of your older ones – who instead of getting wiser have of late only been getting drunker – an outlet for their pent-up energies.
Gorbachev: You talk like we should re-engage in the Olympics. Is this your big deal?
Reagan: In a way. It’s an Olympics where your comrades will train, prepare for combat and compete on the same treacherous fields with our Americans. The races will go on for so long that your
comrades and my Americans will win hundreds of thousands of gold medals.
These will be cast from the lasting bonds of friendship that we carry for each other and forged by the respect of those whose fields we triumph on. Those bonds will be our mutual security pact, stronger than any piece of paper we ever sign.
Gorbachev: How much does this deal cost in dollars or rubles?
Reagan: Not much, considering how much it will save and how much world trade it will bring us. I could probably give you an estimate if you could tell me how much it is costing you per soldier in Afghanistan and merceneary in Africa.
Reagan: Well, I understand how we big kids sometimes blunder in our foreign adventures, so let me estimate from some gross figures we once tabulated.
From 1965 to 1974 we sent 2,582,304 of our finest young men and women, with a budget of $138.1 billion, to bring peace to Vietnam. That cost $53,480 per soldier. We lost many of our finest. Many who returned are mutilated and confused. We still pay a price for them.
Gorbachev: Yes, you do misuse the word “peace,” don’t you?
Reagan: Well, yes, don’t we both. So let me throw my deal on the table, knowing full well that in my hand I hold the most massive bunch of top guns and that I am willing and able to trump you should you refuse my simple offer.
This year I have an elite corps that numbers about 5,000. Since 1961 about 100,000 of these soldiers have served around the world. They have cost this government less than $10,000 per soldier:
You had no soldiers to offset them. I propose that you deploy the same elite corps and within five years build the force to 100,000 per year. America will match that increase.
You will not supply them with anything more than we supply ours — enough food, money and shelter to live like the people whom they fight alongside against hunger, illiteracy and deprivation. You’ll also teach them a language and technical skills and the initiative to think and work on their feet.
Gorbachev: What do you call this army?
Reagan: We call it the Peace Corps.
Gorbachev: What if I can’t get my government to agree to this dangerous and radical proposal?
Reagan: At the Peace Corp’s 25th anniversary in September, 1 may have to convince America to assign 100,000 Peace Corps volunteers to duty. In the hearts and minds of the world’s people we will bury you and your philosophy —and we will do it without misusing the word “peace.”
Dwayne .Hunn of Mill Valley suggests that anyone who thinks this proposal makes sense should clip and send the column to President Reagan with a note asking, “Why not?”
March 18, 1987 Novato Advance
Model Peace Corps proposed at WCW
By Dwayne Hunn
World College West would become headquarters for a Model East-West Peace Corps if a proposal for use of part of the Buck Trust Major Project funds is approved.
The idea, according to originator Dwayne Hunn, is to build something similar to the United States’ successful Peace Corps program that would include volunteer youths from both the United States and the Soviet Union.
After training at World College West, young men and women from both countries would work together, in villages, slums, schools, recreation centers and other places throughout the world.
The program would begin with 25 young Russians and 25 young Americans learning side-by-side with the hope it would be emulated by other countries throughout the world until eventually there would be an “invasion” of Peace Corps volunteers from all nations.
In his proposal, Hunn says the project would have a number and variety of beneficial results, including:
–Building personal communication links that foster international understanding.
–Reducing international tension by building bonds of friendship through healthy and peaceful side-by-side work
–Promoting economic development in lesser developed countries.
–Aiding Mann County and the Bay Area, because volunteers would work on self-help projects in the area as part of the training program.
–Developing a comprehensive program that would be applied locally, nationally and internationally
–Sponsoring conferences, seminars and discussion groups in Marin to help further understanding between nations.
The training, which would be conducted at World College West, would include:
–An introductory one-week training class to teach problem-solving, fear-facing, communication, teamwork and trust.
–Intensive course work in Russian and English, the language of the planned host country, skill training for the work requested by the host country and culture of the host country. .
–Field training in a Bay Area program that would help those in need in the area.
–A physical training program that would emphasize team sports.
The Soviet and American youths would live together throughout the program.