The Arabic “salaam” and Hebrew “shalom” mean a lot more than peace. Likewise, the Islamic and Jewish greetings using these words mean much more than “Hi ya.” These Semitic words convey the idea of peace in its true and broad sense: “I wish you and your family and your people peace, health, welfare, success, salvation, and wholeness.” “Salaam” and “shalom” speak of peace, not as an absence of war and difficulty, but as positive and holistic well-being.
When one talks about the peace of the world, one thinks of well-being, proper functioning, cooperation ameliorating destructive competition, and justice under law. For there can be no world peace without justice.
Some believe human nature and political realities to be such that peace can only be maintained by force, deterrence, and balance of power. Others are convinced that the nuclear age has made war obsolete. They urge us to declare a “new age peace” unilaterally, because the alternative is unthinkable. A middle position held by most Americans would move countries gradually from a hierarchy of powers toward more peaceful and lawful international relations.
A wide range of leaders has urged the world to wage peace:
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 not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of labors, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
People today don’t want peace; they want quiet. Peace is the presence of justice, not the absence of conflict. Until there is justice, there will be neither peace nor quiet.
When Kansas and Colorado have a quarrel over water in the Arkansas River, they bring suit in the Supreme Court, and abide by the decision. They don’t call out the National Guard and go to war. There isn’t a reason in the world why we cannot do that internationally.
-Harry S. Truman
The international community should support a system of laws to regularize international relations and maintain peace in the same manner that law governs national order.
-Pope John Paul II
There is no salvation for civilization, or even the human race, other than the creation of a world government.
No national law, no national precautions can save the planet. The ocean…is a classic example of the absolute need for international global action.
I solemnly pledge my nation to uphold the original ideals of the United Nations…Our ends are the same as those of the U.N.’s founders, who sought to replace a world at war with one where the rule of law would prevail…where conflict would give way to freedom from violence.
At a time when efforts for world cooperation have been co-opted by regional or class interests by some and neglected or abandoned by others, more attention must be given to the U.N. and other agencies working for world cooperation.
Initiatives like the U.S. Peace Academy, and international coalitions of scientists, women, and youth need new support and attention.
The strong impulse for peace among youth must be tapped more effectively.