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Rev. Moon's Key Role in the Collapse of Communism

Rev. Moon's Key Role in the Collapse of Communism, Washington times, Unification church, Sun Myung Moon
I think every city square in America should have a statue of Sun Myung Moon for his having created The Washington Times.

Ralph Smead
Political Activist
Boise, Idaho

Who Played Key Roles in the Collapse of Communism?

Marx and Lenin appeared to be on the verge of political and ideological vindication by the end of the 1970s; the feeble international response to the Soviet Union's outright takeover of Afghanistan did not bode well for the democratic cause. Who could have imagined that one decade later the Soviets' dreams of world dominance would have dissipated? It is naïve to assume that the demise of Soviet communism was pure chance. The Reagan presidency complemented by a "peace through strength" foreign policy played a key role in getting the United States "back on track" and facilitating the emergence of glasnost inside the former Soviet Union. A change in Americans' perception of Soviet political and military designs, undoubtedly fostered by the experience of the Carter years and by reports in conservative publications such as Reverend Moon's Washington Times, played a key role in allowing the United States to abandon its anti-military posture of the late 1970s and commit to achieving military superiority over the Soviets in the 1980s.

By 1980 a growing gap in technology and resources complicated the Soviets' desire to maintain at least military parity with the United States. In his autobiography, Ronald Reagan: An American Life, the late President alluded to a 1983 passage from his personal diary, indicating that in that year the United States achieved clear military superiority over the Soviet Union. Following the 1986 Reykjavik Summit where President Reagan rejected Soviet demands that he abandon the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the space-based anti-missile system, Gorbachev was forced to "blink." In their meetings following Reykjavik Gorbachev and his political advisors came to terms with the fact that America's economic and technological resources far exceeded those of the Soviet Union. They came to accept that America's strong commitment to a military build-up under Ronald Reagan meant that the Soviet Union would be unable to maintain military parity and thus had to seek a different working relationship with the United States. The new Soviet policies of Glasnost and Perestroika led Soviet officials, scholars, dissidents and citizens to challenge communist institutions and their ideological underpinnings. By 1988 this process led to an end of totalitarian rule, an end to Soviet expansionism, and an abandonment of Soviet financial, material, and technical support for wars of national liberation.

In the years following President Gorbachev's announced commitment to Glasnost and Perestroika, the world witnessed the largely unanticipated dismantling of the Soviet Union, beginning with the unprecedented announcement of plans for a unilateral withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan as of May 1988. This was followed by Solidarity's election victory in Poland on June 4, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 9, 1989, the crumbling of the Warsaw Pact, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself on December 25, 1991. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union caught most by surprise. The working hypothesis held that communism would remain a dominant fixture in the world order. Even the most committed anticommunists were unprepared for the Soviet Union's precipitous demise.

With the Cold War's conclusion, a rush began amongst scholars, analysts, and pundits to identify the key personalities and factors that contributed to the Soviet Empire's collapse. Competing theories abounded, with key roles being assigned to Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Podhoretz, Alexander Solzhenitzyn and Sidney Hook, as well as to freedom fighters, refuseniks and populist movements such as Solidarity. In their interpretation of various events, some scholars opted to depersonalize the process, crediting the fall of the Soviet Union to phenomena such as evolving patterns of economic development and the information revolution.

Among the contributions to the postmortem literature is Richard Gid Powers' Not Without Honor (1995), which professed to be "The History of American Anticommunism." Powers' 554-page opus of names and organizations omits all of the American entities associated with Reverend Moon, and denies them any role in rolling back communism in the 1970s and 80s. In the 672 pages of On the Brink: The Dramatic Behind the Scenes Saga of the Reagan Era and the Men and Women who Won the Cold War (1996), Jay Winik records a brief mention of one Moon-related organization, The Washington Times, but only in noting its early reporting on the unfolding story of Iran Contra. Accounts by Brian Crozier, Adam Ulam, Bob Woodward, and Jack Matlock, US Ambassador to the Soviet Union under President Reagan, also make no mention of Moon's efforts. Intentionally or not, Reverend Moon has been expunged from the record in spite of the adverse, critical coverage his activities received in the mainstream and alternative media when anticommunism was viewed with disdain.

Reverend Moon's Efforts in Korea and Japan

In the early 1960s, after having established the Unification Church's spiritual roots in Korea, Reverend Moon, with the collaboration of Dr. Sang Hun Lee, formalized his comprehensive analysis of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Moon devoted special attention to the practical implications of Marxism-Leninism's militantly atheistic position, the point de départ of his opposition to communism.

In 1968 he founded the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC) in Korea. That organization's membership reached over 4 million in Korea. By 1970 Moon had set up training centers on hiscritique and counterproposal to communism in various parts of Korea. These centers conducted three and four-day programs explaining and critiquing communism for literally hundreds of thousands of Korean college students, teachers, army officers, police officers and civic leaders. For more than two decades, IFVOC provided orientation programs on Marxism-Leninism to all sectors of Korean society.

In Spring 1975 it was discovered that North Korea (DPRK) had constructed not one but several complete tunnels under the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. The discovery of the tunnels, wide enough to facilitate the entry of whole divisions of the North Korean army into the south, led Korean President Pak Chung Hee to declare a national state of emergency. As a way to demonstrate South Korean and international commitment to resisting an unprovoked attack upon the South, IFVOC sponsored a special rally on Seoul's Yoido Island on June 7, 1975. Rally participants totaled more than 1.2 million and Reverend Moon personally addressed the audience. The rally participants included Unification members from over sixty countries who came as a show of their commitment to protecting the South from a North Korean invasion.

During the years of the Cold War, Moon's IFVOC consistently responded to any indication of an effort underway in the North to exploit political or economic turmoil in the South. Frequently this was done through conducting nationwide rallies calling for national unity. One such campaign, the Nationwide Campaign of Determination to Win Over Communism, took place in December 1983. This campaign was motivated by the Soviet Union's shooting down of KAL 007 in September 1983 and an unprovoked North Korean assault of several South Korean government officials in Rangoon, Burma that resulted in the deaths of several officials. Central to the 1983 rallies was the active participation of a delegation of 70 international scholars from the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), an international association of academics founded by Moon in the early 1970s.

Addressing Communism in Japan

In the late 1960s Sun Myung Moon initiated IFVOC activities in Japan. In the decades following World War II, Japanese university students had become sharply divided on whether or not to support the presence of American military forces in Japan. The continuing American oversight of the Japanese island of Okinawa was especially divisive. Strong alliances were formed between Japan's radical Red Army and North Korea with the Red Army establishing a headquarters in Pyongyang. North Korea had significant support in Japan because of the hundreds of thousands of Korean residents in Japan, known as the Chosoren, who maintained strong family, political, and economic ties to North Korea. In the late 1960's the IFVOC began to challenge student radicals by conducting public lectures on Marxism on university campuses. On more than one occasion, IFVOC members were attacked by Japanese leftist militants or by North Korean sympathizers.

IFVOC gained national prominence in Japan in October 1970 when the Japanese Chapter of IFVOC was invited to serve as the chief organizer of the World Anticommunist League's (WACL)1 world congress convention in Tokyo. The Congress was attended by over twenty-five thousand delegates from around the world. Witnessing the success of the event, WACL invited IFVOC to assume full responsibility for WACL activities in Japan and IFVOC2 soon gained prominence as the most important anticommunist organization in Japan.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Japanese IFVOC movement began to issue formal invitations to the Japanese Communist Party to join them in a public debate on Marxist theory. They did so on more than fifty occasions. The communists rejected all such invitations. Japanese IFVOC officials point out that Reverend Moon's critique of Marxism was so effective that, to counter it, the Party was forced to rewrite their textbook, The Book of Communism. Even then, their patchwork apologia and addenda proved so inadequate that the Japanese Communist Party soon stopped printing it altogether.

Reflecting on this period, Japanese IFVOC officials point out that in the 1970s, many communists and communist sympathizers began to be elected to public office in Japan. Japan Communist Party chairman Kenji Miyamoto is said to have boasted, "We are on our way to controlling a federation of democratic governments." In 1978 IFVOC conducted a massive educational campaign in the imperial city of Kyoto, which served as Japan's capital from the Heian to the Tokugawa era. The IFVOC educational effort was credited with having helped to change public opinion about communism and contributed to the defeat of the communist-led city government of Kyoto. Japanese IFVOC officials have noted that, from that time on, the communist hold of Japanese municipalities collapsed in one city after another. Moon's IFVOC played an important role in turning the tide. It also played a key role in the drafting and passage of legislation designed to protect the country from communist bloc espionage; the lack of such legislation had been a major blind spot in Japan and in East Asian regional security. It had contributed to Japan serving as a thoroughfare where Soviet and Chinese agents could get easy access to the Free World's latest technological advances.

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