Fifty years ago this week, RN accepted the Republican Party’s 1960 presidential nomination. One passage in his acceptance speech is striking:
And now I want to speak to you of another kind of aggression, aggression without war, where the aggressor comes not as a conqueror but as a champion of peace, of freedom, offering progress and plenty, and hope to the unfortunate of the earth.
And I say tonight that the major problem, the biggest problem, confronting the next President of the United States will be to inform the people of the character of this kind of aggression, to arouse the people to the mortal danger it presents and to inspire the people to meet that danger. And he must develop a brand new strategy which will win the battle for freedom for all men, and win it without a war. That is the great task of the next President of the United States.
And this will be a difficult task, difficult because at times our next President must tell the people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Why, for example, it may be just as essential to the national interest to build a dam in India as in California.
To put it mildly, there has never been a huge American constituency for building dams in India. RN could get away with such a statement because JFK was just as much of an internationalist as he was.