Today, I saw the monument to Aristide Briand on the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, where on August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the Pact of Paris, or Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war. Briand won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926, just five years before Jane Addams did.
There’s a story that he
attended a dinner in Geneva where the guests were given menu cards on which was printed a cartoon depicting the statesmen of the world smashing a statue of Mars while Briand, alone, talked to the god of war trying to convince him to commit suicide. The cartoon caught not only Briand’s main objective in public life – the elimination of war in international relations – but also his method: his penchant for personal diplomacy, his renowned persuasiveness, and his habit of attacking the heart of a problem rather than its symbols or symptoms
(see his bio on the Nobel Prize site).
The first article of the Kellogg-Briand pact states: “The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.” Should the US now formally renounce its signing of the pact or just pretend that what it’s doing in Afghanistan and Iraq isn’t war?