Mrs. Kerry's remark about the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: Teresa Heinz Kerry comments on Peace Corps Volunteers: Mrs. Kerry's remark about the Peace Corps

By albert bradford ( on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit Post

The reason I was delighted to hear Mrs. Kerry's remark about the Peace Corps was its underlying message of outreach, of dialogue, of give-and-take of Americans and the rest of the world. She was saying that the U.S. is part of a world neighborhood and that Peace Corps Volunteers are an example of how to be good neighbors. This doesn't mean that soldiers, etc., are not needed sometimes. But it does mean that by being a better neighbor, we may not need military solutions so often, because we can establish other ways of handling problems.

By Harvey Paige ( on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:34 pm: Edit Post

While it is undoubtedly true that Peace Corps Volunteers are not always the group of choice for executing the decisions of the American government, the suggestion that the Peace Corps is solely for helping liberals feel good betrays the ignorance of the author of the National Review article. The role of the "only surviving superpower" may require the bulldozers of the Army Corps of Engineers, the provision of food, shelter, and other material goods by the Agency for International Development, or help in the classroom, factory, business, or farm from Peace Corps Volunteers. And yes, there are times that it may require the power of the military. To resort to military force as a first choice is unlikely to improve our image around the world, and we can now appreciate better than ever that the image of America is important. The Peace Corps Volunteer presents a very different face of America than does the military and I, for one, prefer that we be seen as friendly and helpful individuals doing our best, rather than military men whose mission and tactics can be misunderstood. This is not to say that the soldiers, sailors and airmen are not also friendly and helpful individuals, but their roles and impact are very different from the Peace Corps Volunteer’s.

Rather than discount the role of the Peace Corps Volunteer, it would be better to understand that different problems require different solutions, and that the world would be a better and safer place if the Peace Corps were seen as the primary expression of American foreign policy.

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