Reverse Peace Corps: A Proposal on the Recruitment of Third World Nationals as Peace Corps Volunteers Assigned to the United States

Payam Foroughi, Utah State University


"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength." (Orwell 1949, p. 5). Indeed, in 1960, when President Kennedy announced his future plans for a Peace Corps of young Americans, there were already an estimated 10,000 Americans working in the Third World country of Vietnam in the capacity of "military advisors". By 1963 there were 17,000 such Americans in Vietnam and another 7,000 Americans in 44 other Third World countries working as Peace Corps Volunteers (Rice 1985).

In 1835, reflecting on the then young America, Tocqueville stated that "of all nations, those most fond of peace are democratic nations" and that "of all armies, those ardently desirous of war are democratic armies" (Tocqueville 1945, Vol. II p . 266). This duality in American character was reflected in U.S. foreign policy during Kennedy's term of office with the coexistence of the U.S. military presence in Vietnam and the creation of the Peace Corps and the sending of its volunteers to various Third World countries including Vietnam. Such duality has persisted to the present. The recent Persian Gulf War, with approximately 600,000 American military personnel sent to that region to "assist the Saudi Arabian Government in defense of its homeland ... all in the cause of peace" (The New York Times 1990, Aug. 9) transpired while other U.S. employees such as the 6,300 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) were working in other developing countries around the globe in non-military capacities.