Sep 13, 2011

Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961

On a TV program about 9.11, I watched a part of Eisenhower's farewell address, which is famous for pointing out the danger of "the military-industrial complex".

I was really impressed by that part of his address, so I read through it from start to end. And then I got more impressed and I thought that it was worth reading it for Japanese people, so I translated it into Japanese.

At a farewell address, a speaker can talk about whatever they really wants to say, because they are freed from their duty and don't need to take account of it, and for that reason, the farewell address reveals the speaker's personality. In this sense I think that Eisenhower was one of the greatest presidents of the US.

Many things, including the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and 9.11, have happened in the US and the world after the Eisenhower's administration, so I guess that most American people might have mixed feelings about this address (it sounds so naive now, doesn't it?), but I found some bright prospects of the US in it.

He talked about the goal and the ideal image of the US again and again. American people built the US artificially in order to create the ideal nation. So it's natural that the nation has its own goal.

But for most Japanese people, there is no particular goal for our nation. The Japanese think that Japan has just existed through the ages without any purpose, like natural creatures such as Mount Fuji. (Aristotle said that natural creatures had their own purpose, "hou heneka", didn't he?)

I think that Eisenhower pointed out the danger of "the military-industrial complex", because he had the clear ideal image of the US and "the military-industrial complex" was apparently far different from his ideal.

Now we, Japanese people, have to reform our nation in order to prevent a recurrence of the accident of nuclear plants. I wonder if we can and should share the goal and the ideal image of the nation of Japan.

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