National Coalition for Peace through Strength

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The National Coalition for Peace through Strength is the Congressional lobbying group for the American Security Council (ASC). The Coalition's current incarnation is as the National Security Caucus.[1]

"1978. This was the year the original Coalition for Peace Through Strength (which is today known as the National Security Caucus) was formed, and a national strategy conference was held at ASC's headquarters in Boston, Virginia":[2]

"After considerable debate, the participating Coalition members selected eight strategy principles they recommended for adoption as national policy.

"This public diplomacy campaign and national strategy effort sparked a movement that had history-making consequences. This strategy effort involved 257 Members of Congress, 168 national organizations, and 514 colleges and universities. The resulting study became A National Strategy for Peace Through Strength.

"The national strategy campaign was strictly bipartisan, and the results were embraced by prominent leaders of both political parties. The eight principles and goals of this strategy eventually became the cornerstone of the defense and foreign policy of the United States. They resulted in the successful conventional and strategic modernization program of the 1980s, and they also led to vigorous support for democratic resistance movements around the world.

"These principles and goals were incorporated into a Peace Through Strength Resolution. In introducing this resolution in the U.S. Senate in 1983, then Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV) explained the strategy gap the NSC lawmakers were working to close. The Senator said:

"'Soviet expansionism has been driven by a goal of domination and guided by a grand strategy to achieve that goal. Soviet successes have been possible only because the United States has had neither a goal nor a strategy in this conflict. U.S. policy has been essentially that of reacting to Soviet initiatives in defense of the status quo.'"

"Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton have said their national security policy was based on the principles of 'Peace Through Strength'. These principles were adopted in both the 1980 and 1984 Platforms of the Republican Party, and in 1992, the national security section of the Democratic Platform was entitled 'Peace Through Strength'.

"The fundamental premise of the Peace Through Strength Strategy was based on the need for military, economic and diplomatic strength. The strategy introduced by the NSC lawmakers was often controversial, and frankly it was not popular with the national news media. Among other elements, its principles called for using non-military means to stop and roll back the growth of communism. It advocated changing the national security structure in order for the United States to maintain a strong military so it could prevail in any conflict with the then Soviet Union.

"Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, best summarized the accomplishments of the NSC's last strategy campaign when he addressed over 120 Members of Congress who attended the Peace Through Strength Victory Celebration:

"'You have provided the framework, the backing, and the political strength for a coalition of lawmakers and organizations that has been able to come together during good times and bad. You have helped maintain the strength of America in order for us to keep the NATO alliance in a strong position. This has enabled us to avoid the horrors of war, and to bring about over a period of time the dissolution of communism.
"'In effect, we won the Cold War because we were tenacious, and because we had strength. The most successful alliance in history has been NATO. Its success has been possible because of the leadership of the U.S., and because organizations like the American Security Council have played a vital role in maintaining the support at home to make the sacrifices necessary to win the Cold War.
"'The National Security Caucus is a wonderful organization, and they have been steadfastly advocating the concept, and the theory, that won the Cold War. The challenges we must now meet will require continued leadership, and the work of the National Security Caucus is far from complete. I am particularly enthusiastic about your idea to broaden the concept of security that will enable us to go beyond military aspects.'"

"The 1964 and 1984 strategy studies maintained the Soviet Union and other Communist powers would end the Cold War when they perceived a great risk to themselves in pursuing it. Both strategies vigorously advocated U.S. economic strength; strategic and conventional modernization programs; assistance to democratic resistance movements; and outreach programs such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"Russian Ambassador Vladimir Lukin acknowledged that Peace Through Strength policies 'accelerated Russia's catastrophe by at least five years.' The result of these strategies was not just the collapse of the Soviet Union, but substantial savings in future defense budgets, and the end of an era in which all mankind lived under a balance of terror."

David L. Boren "was co-chairman of the Congressional divison of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength (CPTS), a creature of the American Security Council (ASC). The CPTS believed that the USSR and communism were the greatest evils in the world. Other CPTS members included Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Schlafley, and Jesse Helms. Organizational members have included the American Conservative Union, the American Legion, Citizens for Reagan, Young Americans for Freedom, and Young Republicans. PRA also says that emigre groups with a history of association with Nazis were included in the CPTS membership.[3]

"One of the more prominent ASC members was Major General Milnor Roberts, chairman of the Committee for a Free Afghanistan (CFA). During the 1980s proxy war the CFA promoted U.S. support for the Islamic militants whose successors are now being accused of the September 11 attack."[4]

An American Security Council National Coalition for Peace through Strength publication is contained at Baylor University's Baylor Collections of Political Materials "Tiller Collection - Extremist Materials": "Collection Statement. These papers, which are pro- Ku Klux Klan, anti-Communism, and anti-Semitic, were sent to Sam B. Hall, Jr., Representative of the First Congressional District of Texas, by one of his constituents during the 1970's and 1980's. Rep. Hall maintained this collection as a discrete series, separate and apart from his official papers, and that distinction was maintained after their arrival at the Baylor Collections of Political Materials. The Tiller Collection is shelved with the Extremist Organizations Collection. The following items are in this artificial collection:"

Included in the collection is Strategy for peace through strength. Strategy Board, American Security Council Foundation for Coalition for Peace through Strength. Boston, VA : the Council , 1984. 204p.

The essay "The Peace through Strength Strategy" can be found on the ASC Foundation web site. For more essays on "Peace through Strength", see the site's American Century index.

Rick Sellers[5] "served as Washington coordinator for the National Coalition for Peace through Strength building a majority of both Houses of Congress in the Coalition during the 1980's. Rick helped write the 1980 peace through strength language for the National Republican Platform. In 1985 Rick founded the Coalition for the Strategic Defense Initiative. Rick continues to work for peace through strength policies in the current Congress."[6]

The following information about the National Coalition for Peace through Strength comes from a March 8, 1985, American Security Council (ASCUSA) slide/narrative presentation entitled "Crisis in the Americas". Read the rest of the briefing for context.

Beginning on page 24 of the presentation:

Slide: Logo of Coalition for Peace Through Strength Via A.D.O.

Narrative: "In seeking a bipartisan national strategy goal, one-hundred-fifty seven organizations with fifteen million members have enlisted in a national Coalition for Peace Through Strength. "A Peace Through Strength resolution was sponsored by two-hundred-andfifty seven members of Congress from both parties. Forty-percent were Democrats."

Quote: U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, D-LA, from Peace Through Strength, 1984: "Peace Through Strength. The two are inseparably connected, and anyone who misses the connection between peace and strength does not know anything about history."

Quote: Former U.S. Senator John Tower, R-TX, from Peace Through Strength, 1984): "I invited many educational institutions and organizations to cooperate in this effort and I'm pleased to say that over 500 colleges, universities, and think tanks accepted my invitation. This remarkable response is the best indicator that America is ready to close the strategy gap."

Slide: Picture of Peace Through Strength book, with zoom effect. Key appropriate sentence from book highlighted; Key sentence from book highlighted: "The recommendations of these Americans and their institutions have been summarized in a new book entitled A Strategy for Peace Through Strength. A Panel of leading strategists and scholars has produced the text. Strategists agree that a first priority must be restoration of America's military strength to reduce the risk of war. The next priority is a political offensive to roll back the growth of Communism."

Slide: Key sentence from book highlighted. Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters.

Narrative: "The first step in that direction would be to establish a Communist free Peace Zone of the Americas. . . A strategy worked out with. . .and accepted . . .our Latin American neighbors. The strategists also proposed that enough collective support be given to the Nicaraguan freedom fighters to free their country from Communist oppression."

Slide: Closeup of survey, with percentages highlighted. Highlight survey results.

Narrative: "A 1984 Opinion Research Corporation Survey found that eighty percent of Americans questioned supported a national strategy of peace through strength. The survey also found that seventy-two percent questioned expressed their desire to help our allies and other non-Communist countries defend themselves. Seventy-eight percent support our using positive, nonmilitary means to roll back the growth of Communism."

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