Looking at this speech I see a lot of idealistic statements and platitudes, as well as contradictions with how things work in the real Buddhist world.
A fundamental Buddhist principal is that we all should respect and treat one another equally.
This isn't how things work in the Buddhist world. People might say we're all equal, but clearly some are more equal than others. This is expressed in the even the simplest of protocols like letting monastics eat first, giving them priority seating and venerating their experience and understanding over that of laypeople. Moreover, in Buddhist organizations you have the in-crowd and everyone else. Members are treated with preferential respect.
Buddhists are enjoined to respect all nations of the world, all races, social classes, genders, and ages among people.
However, in reality this is not so. Look at all the opposition against bhikkuni (nun) ordinations in SE Asia.
Two thousand five hundred years ago in India, the Buddha said, "When the rivers run into the sea, they all lose their separate names; when the four castes enter into Buddhism, they lose all distinctions among them." Because of this inherent equality in Buddhism, monastics and believers during and after the time of the Buddha were able to unite and carry the teachings of the Buddha to every corner of India.
This is questionable. The Buddha rejected caste, but there is evidence that caste still weighed heavily on Indian thinkers' minds.
From India, Buddhism has spread easily and quickly throughout the world. Because Buddhists believe in the fundamental equality of all cultures, they are able to respect and adapt readily to the ways of other people.
Not always. Case in point is how the Vinaya has often been rigorously upheld in foreign lands despite reform being required. This is contrary to what the Buddha allowed for -- that the Vinaya may be adapted to the customs and cultures of foreign lands.
In all of human history, there never has been a war fought over Buddhism.
This is unfortunately untrue. Modern Sri Lanka usually bites anyone in the rear when they make such statements.
Buddhism teaches very clearly that when there is first respect and a sense of equality among people, there will never be war among them. This is the prescription for peace and progress.
Really? Where is this taught?
The Harmony of Views. This means we try to be united in our thoughts and beliefs. We try to have the same understanding of the Dharma, take the Dharma to be the standard for all our behavior, and abandon egocentric thinking.
We should all have the same understanding of the Dharma as the speaker?
Many nations in the world today are actively implementing very productive policies on which a better future can be built. Material aid is being given to third world countries, scientific and industrial skills are being shared around the world, religions are carrying on active dialogues with one another, and policies that protect the environment are being implemented in many countries. Europe has formed the European Economic Community; North America has created NAFTA; Asian nations are cooperating with one another economically. International monetary organizations are advocating greater political and economic cooperation among nations. Private business, too, has begun to realize the importance of doing things that are good for society. In all, these tendencies are bringing into the world a climate of civilized responsibility and caring that can only be of great benefit to the welfare of everyone.
Idealistic hogwash. Even in 1996 all of this was still hogwash. Most of what is being mentioned here are exploitative organizations backed by crooked banks and governments. The 3rd world gets some token bread and beans from us, meanwhile we continue to extract their wealth while gunning down anyone who resists.
This doesn't surprise me at all coming from BLIA.
Much of this speech reads as a call for smiling obedience. Just be a good boy or girl and good things will come to you. Self-aggrandizing. It is idealistic without actually presenting a coherent method of addressing the real problems of the world.