The Rediscovery of America
The United States is a great country and a generous country, but we have drifted away from our own tradition of generosity. As a nation we are not seriously trying to help the human race overcome hunger. We have no vision for joining with poor countries to arrange a more livable world.
The vision is not beyond reach. It has occasionally been sketched by our leaders, but for the past decade they have studiously avoided summoning the nation to act on any such vision. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger provided two striking examples in 1974. At the UN Special Assembly on Raw Materials, in April, he told the world:
On behalf of President Nixon, I pledge the United States to a major effort in support of development. My country dedicates itself to his enterprise because our children, yours and ours, must not live in a world of brutal inequality.
"We are part of a large community," he said, "in which wealth is an obligation, resources are a trust, and joint action is a necessity." Later, at the World Food Conference in Rome, Kissinger proposed the goal "that within a decade no child will go to bed hungry," and urged joint action "to regain control over our shared destiny. If we do not act boldly, disaster will result from a failure of will."
In each case the words appeared to signal a major initiative by the United States, but no such initiative came. We continued