Cooperation Or Confrontation?
As I look back in history, there were many important events that occurred 50 years ago. One major event that’s often overlooked in the year of Watergate, was President Richard M. Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972. This visit officially reopened the doors to U.S./China relationships. It was important to me personally, militarily and diplomatically.
I visited China for the first time in 1973, and befriended the Chinese General Xu Xin, who had been wounded by American fire during the Korean War. In 1982, I became the first American general to serve in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing as Defense Attaché. At the time, I thought peaceful relationships had been established.
At this moment there are leaders in both the United States and China who feel that in the future our nations may confront each other, not across a diplomatic table, but on the battlefield. I am worried. I have children. I want them to grow up in a world safe from war. The fate of the world depends to a large extent on how Chinese and Americans behave towards each other.
We Have An Opportunity To Grow Peace
A group of us, former military and former diplomats in both the U.S. and China, have created “The 50- Mile Run” to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of U.S. China Relations”.
For more than 18 years after the Korean War, Americans were forbidden to shake hands with Chinese diplomats. When President Nixon visited China in 1972, he shook hands with Chinese officials. This ended a tense period of hostilities between our countries.
It Was A Beautiful Sunny Day
One morning in June, ten lifeguards in Hollywood, Florida, completed their five-mile runs on the beach. We will be sending these times to China, inviting Chinese lifeguards to join us in a friendly competition. The 50-mile run can be done by anyone who wishes to participate. It does not have to be a run. It can be a walk. The goal is for ten individuals to each run/walk five miles for a total of 50 miles per team. Participants receive a certificate that shows that they contributed in creating better relations between our countries.
What can we do? We need a purpose to make our lives meaningful. For me growing peace is the answer. Form a team of ten and complete 50 miles.
Help celebrate the 50th anniversary, and join the common citizens of our two great countries who demand peace in our lifetimes and beyond.
Burn Loeffke, a retired military officer, has been wounded, survived two parachute malfunctions and two helicopter crashes in combat. As a captain in his 20s, he was an Army swimming champion. As a colonel in his 40s, he participated in a military decathlon in Russia. As a general in his 50s, he ran three marathons in China. He has been an advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. As a senior, he starts each day at Hollywood Beach, FL with 200 stomach crunches, 10 minutes of stretching, and with Dr. Carmen Queral, they sprint one-minute dashes with 30 seconds of rest in between. They finish with 10 – 20 second dashes with 10 squats in between.