Is Russia More Aligned with God’s Will than the United States?

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By Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History, UTS

Michael_MicklerAnyone reading the news over past months cannot fail to notice that Russia has asserted itself in significant ways on the world stage. Some of its actions, such as sheltering former NSA computer analyst Edward Snowden, ran counter to American interests and prompted angry protests against America’s surveillance programs. Other actions, such as its intervention in Syria, helped the United States avoid a possible war, at least for the present. This article attempts to sort out these actions and others in light of what Unificationists would interpret as God’s will.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared the United States is the “elder son” nation in 1998. Most Unificationists understand this to mean that America is to be a model for the rest of the world, manifesting righteousness, upholding civil and religious liberties, and sacrificing itself or at least serving humanity. These ideals resonate with longstanding views of the United States as a “redeemer nation.”  America was great, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “because America is good.”  American democracy was, in Lincoln’s phrase, “the last best hope of earth.” In the 20th century, the U.S. saved the world from the twin evils of fascism and communism. In the process, it became the world’s lone superpower.

The idea of the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower seems almost quaint today, barely more than a decade into the 21st century. China has risen as a formidable competitor, militant Islam is on the march, North Korea regularly threatens the U.S. with nuclear weapons, Syria already unleashed chemical weapons, and America is not yet disengaged from wars of attrition in Iraq and Afghanistan much less from a global war on terror.  Internally, America is divided, mired in a government shut-down and debate over paying its debts. There is little question that Americans feel less secure today than at the turn of the century.

Many factors, both foreign and domestic, have hindered the United States in exercising its “elder son” role. However, two stand out.  First, U.S. leadership, especially since 9/11, has incorrectly interpreted the doctrine of American exceptionalism. Going back to the Puritans, the likening of America to “a city on a hill … a light to the nations” implied that it was the world’s great exemplar, the fullest embodiment of freedom, self-government and the rule of law. However, during the first decade of the 21st century, American exceptionalism has been reinterpreted to mean the United States was “above” or an “exception” to the law, specifically public international law, and privileged to act unilaterally.

Second, Americans have incorrectly interpreted freedom.  Again dating back to the Puritans, U.S. civil liberties have been securely anchored within a compass of moral values and the public good. America was great because she was good. However, in contemporary American society, freedom has come to mean the freedom to do most anything one wants so long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s freedom to do most anything they want. As a consequence, the United States has become identified with moral decadence and individualism.

This returns us to the provocative question of whether, from a Unification viewpoint, America’s old adversary, Russia, is more aligned with God’s will than the United States. In a 1989 interview with Za Rubezhom, a Russian weekly, Rev. Moon stated, “through … efforts in favor of true democratization and true religious freedom, the Soviet Union will be able not only to keep up with the West but to overtake it.”

The Soviet Union, of course, is long gone, but Russia lives. And in an odd role reversal, it has taken positions over the past decade or longer that are more in accord with international norms in politics, traditional values in morality, and idealism toward the future than has the United States. This is evident in contrasting U.S. and Russian stances on matters related to: war and peace, mass surveillance programs, persecution of Christians in the Middle East, same-sex marriage, the Bering Strait crossing, and Korean reunification.

War and Peace. In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist. Rev. Moon opposed the intervention, stating, “Why must we continue this insane barbarism, pouring countless dollars into wars that do not accomplish anything more than death?” He described America as a “lion” and smaller countries as “hyenas,” but cautioned that hyenas working as a team can drive the lion away. Russia also opposed the war, called it a “serious mistake,” and said only the UN could solve the dispute. More recently, Russia upstaged the U.S., taking a leadership role in the Syria crisis, something the U.S. alone or even with its allies was incapable of doing. The Russian president went so far as to pen a New York Times op-ed, lecturing the U.S. on adherence to international law and questioning American exceptionalism. This was especially troubling as lecturing others on moral responsibility had heretofore been an American entitlement.

Mass Surveillance Programs.  In May, Edward Snowden disclosed classified details of U.S. mass surveillance programs aimed at its own citizens and those of allied nations. This prompted charges that the U.S. had violated civil liberties protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure) and Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (arbitrary interference with privacy). The U.S. moved in a forceful way to try to extradite Snowden, threatening reprisals against countries offering him asylum. Russia resisted, and in another odd role reversal, offered temporary sanctuary to an American human rights dissident.

Persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Christians in the Middle East have been decimated since 2003. Two-thirds of Iraqi Christians have vanished, the majority living in refugee camps. Egyptian Copts have battled against destruction of their churches, and Syria’s Christian minority fears extinction if the Assad regime falls. Legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives to create a State Department special envoy to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East died in the Senate and the last two U.S. administrations have been silent. Ironically, formerly atheist Russian officials have protested. In August, on the occasion of the 1,000th year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church, Putin extolled the church for “giving Russians a moral compass” and urged the world’s political leaders to stop the violent persecutions against Christians in Middle Eastern countries.

Same-Sex Marriage. The U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 which defined marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman. The act is a dead letter today, having been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26. Five days later, Russia enacted legislation prohibiting same-sex marriage, the promotion of homosexuality to minors and Gay Pride parades, positions strongly supported by the Orthodox Church. Putin castigated the West for losing touch with its Christian roots when it came to gender questions. He denied there were laws in Russia to punish sexual minorities for their orientation but insisted that “one-gender families” and exaggerated political correctness were leading countries into degradation and a deepening moral crisis.

Bering Strait Crossing. In 2005, Rev. Moon renewed his call for an International Highway system, focusing on “a passage for transit across the Bering Strait.” This, he said, will connect the world “as a single community.” However, no representative of the U.S. has publicly expressed interest in extending and connecting Alaskan-Canadian rail links, much less building a Bering Strait crossing. The U.S. Department of Transportation does not even consider preliminary work “reasonably foreseeable.” Russia, on the other hand, has been more than supportive. In 2008, Putin approved a plan to build a railroad to the Bering Strait vicinity, a vital step toward constructing a tunnel. Since 2011, the railway has been under “active construction” with its first phase scheduled to be completed this year. The issue, according to one commentator, “is really one of world vision and political will, rather than simply a cost/benefit analysis.”

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South Korean president Park Geun-hye met Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia on Sept. 6.

Korean Reunification. Korean reunification is fundamental to the Unification movement’s vision of world peace. Since 1953 the U.S. has supplied monetary and military muscle to the South.  In 1958, having pronounced itself not bound by the terms of the Armistice Agreement, the U.S. deployed tactical nuclear weapons in the South, which were only removed in 1992. To date, the U.S. has not recognized or established diplomatic relations with the North, while Russia enjoys far better relations with the South. In September 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev made good on a commitment to Rev. Moon when the Soviet Union and Republic of Korea established diplomatic ties. Since then, there have been regular visits of defense officials, establishment of a “hot line” and communication links, and economic cooperation. In 2008, South Korea sent its first astronaut into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. For its part, Russia has explored trilateral cooperation with North and South Korea in the fields of oil refining, an inter-Korean natural gas pipeline from Sakhalin, and transportation, including the link-up of a planned inter-Korean railroad with the Trans-Siberian Railroad (TSR). It would appear that Russia has contributed more to reunification efforts.

All this is not to suggest that Russia is a superior nation to the United States, which it certainly isn’t or that it possesses a greater capacity to exert leadership in the world, which it doesn’t.  It is simply to argue that on a number of important issues, Russia is more aligned with what Unificationists would interpret as God’s will.♦

Dr. Michael Mickler’s books include: Footprints of True Parents’ Providence: The United States of America (2013) and 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement, 1959-1999 (2000)

14 thoughts on “Is Russia More Aligned with God’s Will than the United States?

  1. Everything you said is correct, and one also can look at China and draw some similar conclusions, only for them, there is a return to Confucianism. Russia and China have gone through communism and experienced great suffering as a result. They learned lessons about the state being a false god, have re-instituted laws protecting the family and private property, and engaged in economic decentralization. The United States is still moving toward the cliff that the communists went over, and seems to remain too proud and taken by its unprincipled policies to learn from other’s mistakes.

    • As a Ukrainian, I just want to know: are you aware of the Russian invasion of Crimea, in Ukraine? The Russian occupation of this part of Ukraine violates international law and should be opposed in the strongest terms. If you agree, please sign this petition.

  2. Michael,

    Thank you for your thoughtful piece.

    I moved to Moscow in April 1991, one year after the World Media Conference that True Parents headed. For the past 23 1/2 years, I’ve lived in Russia and followed the evolving scene closely. I understand that Russia continues to be a complex culture with a hard-to- decipher political and social system – especially to those without first-hand experience of the people and way of life.

    Several of your points are quite valid, and I’m sure you now know America much better than I do. Having said that, I’d like to point out two realities that underpin current Russian policies:

    1) Much of Christianity in the Middle East shares the Orthodox tradition with Russia and believers here feel much closer to those communities than do American Catholics or Protestants. There has been a working, on-going relationship with the National Church Patriarchs binding them into a brotherhood, so it is understandable that Russian Christians should be more concerned. Still, there’s no public campaign or protest here over the issue as it is left on an institutional and diplomatic level. The Russian Orthodox Church, as I’m sure you are aware, aspires to be THE National Faith of ALL Russians and has whole-heartedly thrown its lot in with the Kremlin.

    2) On the issue of homosexuality, there is a deep, commendable strain in the Russian culture outright rejecting same-sex love. It was legalized in the Yeltsin Constitution (still the official law of the land but, unfortunately, a paper document without much force). Nevertheless, this issue has recently been politicized as Putin tries to shore up his popularity with traditionalists and nationists, not to mention his image as a “he-man.” From the outside it may look like a principled move to ban “homosexual propaganda,” but it has served to unleash violent attacks on a vulnerable minority here and, unlike the U.S. and E.U., the average citizen of Russia has no guaranteed civil rights to protect them against unfair treatment.

    I know that it’s not easy to find a balance between being a tolerant society protecting everyone from abuse and mistreatment, yet draw the line at socially unacceptable behavior. I fear the “Russian approach” to this is pretty heavy-handed and an over-reaction, just as I despair over the gay lobby’s inroads in Europe and America to undo thousand of years of Judeo-Christian standards.

    On a final note, Russia itself is in a “moral crisis.” Good, honest people are forced to work in a totally corrupted system and watch their country be run by manipulative operators lacking in decency and integrity. Russian natural resources are being ripped off, petty bureaucrats tyrannize citizens for bribes, and the best and the brightest young people are exiting as soon as they can.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

  3. I think Obama is moving the country in a direction not supported by most. If the mainstream media continues to cover for this we are in extreme trouble, as is the world. At least Russia is acting as a slight counterweight for now, but I agree they are still unbalanced at the core. We are at an extreme tipping point.

  4. Thank you for the article, Michael.

    In this case, my views diverge from yours on most points.

    Putin’s meddling in the Middle East is hardly prompted by any ‘peace on earth, goodwill to men’ sentiment. On more than one occasion, Father has referred to the sinister connection of communism and Islam. Apparently, this is something that harks back to the connection between the ‘left-hand thief’ and the criminal Barabbas, both of whom were decidedly antagonistic to the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission. I cannot say that I completely understand how this works in reality, but the Soviet-era old-guard – to which Putin belongs – feels intuitively linked to the Islamic forces in the Middle East, and often, the darker ones among them. In practice, this result in more or less knee-jerk opposition to any initiative of the Western Judeo-Christian alliance, as represented most notably by America and Israel. This was so at the time of the Iraq invasion and so again today, in Syria. I do not mean to say that the American saber-rattling in the region has done much good. But Putin offers no constructive, comprehensive alternative. Furthermore, he lacks credibility as peace broker vis-a-vis Islamic militarism, as has been painfully proven by his violent long-term interventions in the Islamic Caucasus, where spiritual sympathies were overridden by more pressing political concerns.

    In some quarters, Edward Snowden has achieved an almost pop-icon status, a champion of liberal freedoms. Apart from the relative merits of the case, it is again surprising – or perhaps not so – that Putin would cast himself in the role of defender of the oppressed, a crusader for human rights and justice. This is happening while Putin political adversary Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been languishing in a Siberian prison for the last eight years, convicted on trumped up charges of fraud. Media freedoms under Putin are a shadow of what they were under Yeltsin; the elimination of political and media opponents, through the ‘legal’ apparatus or by more nefarious means, are a staple of the Putin regime. A bit closer to home, religious freedoms during the Putin-era have been all but non-existent, as can be testified to by our Unification Church brothers and sisters in Russia. In this context, the Putinian defense of Christians in the Middle East you referred to is hypocritical, and largely politically motivated. (Erin Bouma well-explained the traditional links of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate to the regional churches.) By welcoming Snowden with open arms, Putin killed two birds with one stone: He distracted attention from his own pathetic human rights and liberal freedoms record, and thumbed his nose at an old nemesis, the United States of America.

    The more traditional stance on the gay issue of Russians is to be commended. However, in the area of traditional family values, Vladimir Putin’s personal record is also spotty at best. Putin has dumped Ludmila, his wife of 30 years, probably in favor of a woman half his age – although these ‘rumors’ have never been formally substantiated. Whatever the exact truth of the matter, the man hardly is a moral exemplar or offers a model of stable family life.

    Today, Russia is largely controlled by the twin evils of the FSB (the new incarnation of the KGB) – with manpower supplied by Putin’s cronies from his own KGB career – and the omnipresent Russian mafia; sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Vladimir Putin has done nothing to curb the power of the latter, and has actively expanded the influence of the former, at a governmental level. With Obama at the helm, America may be a ‘nation heading in the wrong direction,’ as many US citizens seem to understandably think, but Russia under Putin is certainly not faring any better. In its present status, Russia-as-a-nation is in no position to give advice to America in politics, civil rights, or the application of liberal freedoms.

    As has been said so often, it is important to clearly distinguish ‘Soviets,’ like Putin, from Russians – authentic ones. On the whole, Russians are wonderful people, with some qualities we in the West – both in the US and in Europe – would do well to adopt. Up close, Russians are warm, generous, hospitable, and often have a unique sense of humor. Russia is a great country, with a profound spiritual heritage, a beautiful culture, outstanding intellectual and philosophical traditions, and significant scientific accomplishments. (I thoroughly enjoyed my nine years in the country, which resulted, among other things, in the birth of a son named Vasily, and a PhD in Russian literature.)

    It is sad that the beautiful traditions of Russia were first stomped upon by communism for 70 years, and are now manipulated for political interest of this small-minded former KGB-agent. It is also unfortunate that many Russians are so hungry for the glory of the ‘bygone days’ of the ‘держава’ – the great power – that they are willing to compromise the call of their consciences and accede to the demands of this little dictator.

    Sorry for the long read. Best wishes,

    Maarten

  5. Excellent points! Maybe except the Snowden issue, I don’t see how it is relevant as Snowden really treads on the borderline between human rights activism and treason…

    I was born and have lived in Russia all my life so I beat the other commentators on this one… 🙂 Speaking seriously, I think the other commentators unduly shift focus from what Russia actually does and whether it is aligned with God’s providence to Putin’s personality and his hidden motives.

    Yes, Putin uses corrupt practices to stay in power and authorities under him violate human rights – our rights – on many occasions and I personally voted against Putin at every election and even joined a demonstration for fair elections. But what if God can use such poor leadership for his purpose even if the Russian government’s motivation is not right?

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama intends to wage one war after another, believing that he can serve just purpose by military invasion – quite contrary to what we in the UC believe. Russia may have its own hidden motives but the bottom line is it supports peaceful resolution of a conflict.

    Russia is enthusiastic about the Bering Strait Project, the United States is not. Of course Russia pursues its own gain in this but so what? Ultimately, all countries involved win.

    By his anti-gay law Putin may indeed seek support from certain traditionalists and nationalists, yes, Erin Bouma, but not only. I also support this law and feel my children are more protected from this gay hysteria as it unfolds in the West. They will not see weird half-naked individuals parading on main streets, or see gay ad banners, or don’t have to study pro-gay “diversity” in school. And no, Erin, it has NOT served to unleash violent attacks on a vulnerable minority. There are groups of people (unfortunately) who would in any case violently attack public gay events regardless of whether such law is passed or not.

    Yes, Maarten, Putin “hardly is a moral exemplar or offers a model of stable family life”, but it is irrelevant to this discussion. We are talking about the law and how it stands in relation to God’s providence, not the morality of those who passed it.

    And yes, Erin, “Russia itself is in a “moral crisis.” But now what country isn’t? Again, it is not quite relevant to this discussion.

    Maarten, “Russia-as-a-nation is in no position to give advice to America in politics, civil rights, or the application of liberal freedoms.” Why not, if it ultimately serves greater good?

    Russia has done an excellent job in promoting ties with South Korea. From 2014, a visa-free regime with South Korea comes into effect. The Korean Cultural Center in Moscow is very active, regularly staging mass events, sports and cultural, to promote Korea. Isn’t that laudable?

    And I draw your attention to the author’s closing remarks, which are quite important in this context: “All this is not to suggest that Russia is a superior nation to the United States, which it certainly isn’t or that it possesses a greater capacity to exert leadership in the world, which it doesn’t. It is simply to argue that on a number of important issues, Russia is more aligned with what Unificationists would interpret as God’s will”.

    I also believe that God can use even a former communist country with poor civil liberties and you name it record to advance his will.

  6. I found Professor Mickler’s article to be rather provocative and audacious.

    As deeply disappointed as I am with the USA (even once moving my family in 1997 to another ‘promising’ country for a couple of years), still I wouldn’t for a moment think that Russia, as it is today, is God’s hope or attempt to portray it so.

    Mass surveillance comparison! You’ve got to be kidding. “Angry protests?” If there was something truly serious vis-à-vis American citizens I’m sure the ACLU would be suing the pants off the government. Hey people aren’t being put in jail for subversive statements, for simply participating in demonstrations, etc. And the Snowden thing is certainly not as simple as a human rights dissident and Russia being the country of refuge for the oppressed! I’m sure that he’ll be under a real “surveillance” program from the ex-KGB chief, especially if he goes near a computer.

    Putin and the Orthodox church. It has been common historically for the state and the church in Russia to form a marriage of convenience. Actually a corruption of religious integrity which also ends up in suppression of minority religions (not favored by the state or Orthodox church). No moral compass there – just one hand washing the other.

    War and peace: Yes, the US has missed the boat on being a facilitator of peace. But Russia helping move a measure to protect its friend Syria doesn’t qualify for a whole lot.

    Moral decadence – Hollywood gets an A++ as the great satan; unfortunately our best export at this time! But let us observe to which country do immigrants, refugees, politically suppressed and people of ingenuity want to go. Russia? People vote with their feet. People are attracted to places where they are free – God can still work where there is freedom. Aren’t Jews still leaving Russia? And who was adopting their unwanted children until Mr. Putin decided he knew what was best – the orphanage. Let’s nominate him for a Nobel Peace prize.

    But they do get credit on holding the line against homosexuality.

    And if they are so interested in Korean unification then let them proceed and do more to make it happen. They’re more than welcome.

    And if Russia is supposedly more aligned with God then why isn’t True Mother changing the focus (replacing the USA) for that country?

    Protecting Christians in the Middle East – shame on everybody.

    Abortion – important overlooked category. America has failed miserably on this atrocity against the defenseless and innocent.

    Fiscal responsibility: Neither country seems to be that close to Heaven. American government is fiscally irresponsible in so many ways, but most of all driving us into deep debt. Now watch what happens with Obamacare. And in Russia, as I have heard, the government and its agencies like Gazprom are exploiting the people’s resources, wasting billions on graft and self-aggrandizement. They’re both thieves and out of control.

    So as flabbergasted as I am by Dr. Mickler’s premise, I do admit that I, at times, have wondered if China, in some way, may find itself in a Providential role. I’ve seen some hopeful things in China but then again the government framework is just too messed up at this time. One hopes that all nations will be transformed and born anew. Just how they’ll get through the birth canal is still somewhat of a mystery. I certainly wouldn’t object to any country becoming an object to God – let’s hope one rises to the surface real soon.

    Lloyd Howell, UTS ’78

  7. On Abortions and Divorce:

    As for abortions, many Russian women have had 6-7 in their lifetimes. In the Soviet period it was the primary form of birth control and has no stigma attached to it. However, women who’ve had several abortions find they can’t conceive when they really want a child. “By 1998 two in three abortions had some kind of health complication. Among the most common of these complications is unintentional secondary sterilization, which happens to one in ten Russian women who seeks an abortion in her lifetime. Among minors getting abortions, this rate is twice as high. Illegal abortions, performed without license by doctors or babki, have higher rates of mortality and sterilization even than legal abortions, but remain relatively popular because of their confidentiality…

    Despite a significant reduction in the abortion to birth ratio since the mid-1990s, the countries of the former Soviet Union maintain the highest rate of abortions in the world. In 2001, 1.31 million children were born in Russia, while 2.11 million abortions were performed. In 2005, 1.6 million abortions were registered in Russia; 20% of these involved girls under the age of 18. Official statistics put the number at 989,000 in 2011,though Russian pro-life activists say that number is much higher.
    Abortion statistics were considered state secrets in the Soviet Union until the end of the 1980s. During this period, the USSR had one of the highest abortion rates in the world. The abortion rate in the USSR peaked in 1965, when 5.5 million abortions were performed, the highest number in Russia’s history. Nevertheless, the legalization of abortion did not fully eliminate criminal abortions.” (Source: Wikipedia)

    Another statistic just revealed, Russia currently has the highest divorce rate in the world.

    Statistics from Russia’s social registry office show that the majority of marriages end in divorce. Ten years ago, every third Russian marriage ended in divorce; today it is every second. In 2012, about 650,000 couples divorced while 1,213,000 got married. Russia had the highest divorce rate in the world in 2012 according to the United Nations.
    Sociologists say that the main causes of broken marriages are alcoholism, financial difficulties and crowded living conditions – and in many cases, all three.

    This is hardly material God can build his kingdom with.

    • As Dr. Mickler said at the end, just because Russia is acting more in line with what a Unificationist’s viewpoint would be doesn’t make it the leader of the world. Yes, that Russia does have its problems is not without fact, but do you realize that less than a decade ago these people had a government that was atheistic and communistic which placed value on materialism. Now less than a generation later their government is placing value in things like religion and traditional values. All I can say is if these values continue to spread in Russia the society will become better; as a Unificationist I would have to believe it. Meanwhile, our government in America is going away from those values. Is it right for America to place itself as the moral compass for the world when they are spreading immoral values throughout the world as our entertainment industry has done. Where same-sex marriage is equated with civil and human rights. Where President Obama’s speech at the UN extolled U.S. interests as being what we must protect using all means possible because we are “exceptional people.” Where traditional and religious values that the majority of American’s still believe in are being overthrown by the Supreme Court, because a minority can make laws that might be unpopular as it invites change within the society through education — which is quite like what the Communists did to make their society more pliant to new thoughts rather than traditional. What kind of change will that be, since it goes against the Unificationist worldview? I would say not a good one. I think it’s time that Americans look to their own future, and ask themselves why so many people in the world hate this country whose people are being conned into believing that they have good things to give the world.

      • It is a bit far-fetched to infer that the present Russian government places value on religion and traditional values in and of themselves. Yes, perhaps for the sake of self-interest, self-preservation and manipulation. Yes, it’s a cynical view but one I believe is founded on fact. As mentioned in an earlier reply, the Russian state and its alliance with Russian orthodoxy has historically been a means of legitimizing its position. It also works the other way with benefits flowing to the “approved” church, so that all other religions can be suppressed, de-legitimized or given second-rate status. A state-sponsored religion usually does not result in true “freedom of religion.”

  8. Nice clarification by Dr. Mickler regarding “freedom.” My political science text from long ago spoke of the imprecise nature and use of the word freedom. Many will argue for their right to “freedom” when what they are truly advocating is more akin to license. A Catholic education website says, “Freedom embraces responsibility and is guided by reason and virtue; license is choice without restraint.” License is essentially embracing self-centeredness without responsibility.

    I must admit a certain knee-jerk, negative reaction to the name “Putin.” Dr. Mickler makes a good case for humility though. Certainly Putin’s comments in is his New York Times op-ed piece denouncing popular American views on exceptionalism is well said: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” Putin is certainly correct in denouncing the arrogance and hypocrisy of such views.

    Despite my earlier comment, my personal fantasy would be for an American, Unificationist president to go on a long hunting trip to Siberia with Mr. Putin for some serious buddy time. Instead of dry, soul-less state visits as we’ve had in the past, a new tradition of informal visits focused on appreciation of the world’s leaders and their rich cultures would bring great rewards for world peace. Rich love is critically necessary to bring good will and happiness to this world.

    Thanks for opening my eyes, Dr. Mickler!

    • I would contend that there is such a thing as American “exceptionalism” but one can spin this in two different ways. Mr. Putin’s take would be to see America from a negative point of view; trying to make a case for arrogance and so forth; which in many instances is true, for in America’s history there has been much fallen nature . . . .

      However, I do believe that the other view would be that of Heaven. I think that Heaven’s perspective and the teaching of Father is that America was created as the fruit of 2,000 years of providential investment. An exceptional nation with an exceptional foundation came forth (and is still able to get back on track – God help us).

      An “exceptional” nation or person is none other than a “chosen” nation or person. Being “chosen” does not give a person or nation carte blanche to do whatever they want. It is, as mentioned, a position that comes with responsibility. Unfortunately, America at this moment needs a course correction. However, there is no need to avoid or be ashamed of using such terms – Father used them freely in his efforts to wake up America to its responsibility.

    • There is an internal difference to remember between America and Russia.
      Those of us who have lived in Russia experienced first-hand the
      realities the Russian people experienced under communism. The former Soviet
      Union suppressed and persecuted religion and any teaching about
      God within the homes of Russian citizens. The USSR took the Cain
      road and America was founded, as True Father highlights in his
      speeches, by a God-centered impulse, the Pilgrim foundation,
      that sacrificed in response to providential needs for One Nation Under God.
      That they were a mixed group with much fallen nature does not negate
      that difference.

      Also, it is naïve to trust Vladimir Putin. What we learned about him informed
      us that he has a KGB foundation that still leads to secret police persecution
      and a cunning strategy to align against America.

      That exceptionalism was invaded does not mean to “throw out the baby with
      the bathwater.” Headwing politics still acknowledges the movements toward
      God’s providential work and the call for religious freedom and other freedoms
      as well.

      Without America taking an exceptional route to a Great Awakening as
      True Father asked, the world will struggle more to fulfill Providential needs.
      This was Father’s admonition. We are still an “exceptional nation” and
      anyone who has lived in foreign countries knows the depth of that reality
      that is now being eroded here.

      If more people could visit Russia and hear the testimonies of the people
      first-hand, they would be less vulnerable to liberal media mystification.

  9. The article is an interesting one, but I have to take exception to one sentence, “In the 20th century, the U.S. saved the world from the twin evils of fascism and communism. In the process, it became the world’s lone superpower.”

    Mussolini defined fascism as corporatism, or the merger of state and corporate power. He was popular in the U.S., particularly with New Dealers. By Mussolini’s own definition, the U.S. today has a lot of fascism. We have an army of highly-paid lobbyists in Washington, DC, busy writing new regulations that will become law with no one bothering to read the bill. Regulatory agencies hire from the corporations they are supposedly regulating.

    Far from saving the world from fascism, our economy strongly reflects fascist tendencies. Far from saving the world from communism, we have acolytes of Saul Alinsky with enormous political power.

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