Building a Platform for Peace

By Andrew Wilson

On February 26, the Fourth Think Tank 2022 Forum for the reunification of North and South Korea was held which featured former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Appearing with him were former military leaders, former senior officials, and academics from the United States, South Korea and Japan. Afterwards, Secretary Esper took questions from the public of these nations, including students.

Think Tank 2022, which developed as an outgrowth of the eight Rallies of Hope for the reunification of North and South Korea that began in August 2020, is holding numerous such events throughout the world, focusing on leaders in government, religion, business, the academic world, women leaders, etc.

In my view, these Rallies of Hope and Think Tank forums are intended to provide the platform for Mother Hak Ja Han Moon to work for peace if she is able to visit North Korea, as she has stated she would like to undertake in the near future. Thereby, she hopes to build on the work for Korean reunification of her late husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, when they traveled together to Pyongyang and met with North Korean President Kim Il Sung in December 1991.

Let us look at platforms and the purpose of building them. First, we should recognize that this is a methodology that True Parents have used throughout their ministry. In the 1980s, Rev. Moon built a platform to prepare for his trip to Moscow, where in April 1990 he and Mrs. Moon met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, accompanied by a large delegation of former heads of state and government.

Rev. Moon began constructing his platform with the Washington Times newspaper, which President Ronald Reagan is said to have read every day. He added leading academics in the field of Soviet studies through the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), which held a major conference in Geneva in 1985 titled “The End of the Soviet Empire.” He further built his platform with the World Media Association, which gathered journalists from major media outlets including the Soviet press agency, Novosti, and a delegation of former heads of state and government brought together under the Summit Council for World Peace and AULA. He extended his platform to the realm of sports, when he asked Unificationists to offer warm hospitality to the athletes from communist nations at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.

This was the broad platform by which Rev. Moon demonstrated both strength of conviction and solicitude for the communist world. Upon that platform, he was able to meet with President Gorbachev. Without such a powerful and distinguished platform, it is doubtful Rev. Moon could have met with Gorbachev, or even if they had met, for Gorbachev to treat him with commensurate respect.

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The End of Accusation: Unificationist Lessons from the Dreyfus Affair

By Laurent Ladouce

A Unificationist heart cherishes reconciliation and abhors accusation.

If we connect with God’s heart, practice true love and attend our Heavenly Parent, we include others. Working to extinguish controversies, antagonism and accusation, we think and work together.

I honestly worry that this spirit of reconciliation may desert our Unification movement. I sadly see that some Unificationists have chosen their camp, loathing others’ opinions and promoting polarization.

We remember the work of CAUSA in the 1980s, where we had a clear enemy (Marxism-Leninism) and a cause. Many Unificationists still seek a crusade against a foe. This takes priority over building the ideal world. I proudly worked for CAUSA International, but I must say, “Times have changed.”

This essay sketches a Unificationist overview of accusation. But to place matters in a certain context, I also explain what happens when the demons of accusation haunt a rational society.

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Today, accusation is raging everywhere, fueled by social media. If this culture of indignation becomes mainstream, it may block God’s Providence. Unificationists who love righteousness should offer convincing alternatives to accusation. We should promote a counterculture of I admit where we honestly look at our portion of responsibility, instead of accusing others.

As an example, I discuss Alfred Dreyfus, the falsely accused (but eventually exonerated) French army officer, who became an icon of injustice, steadfastly maintained his innocence but who never accused anyone.

French journalist Émile Zola’s letter, I accuse…! , should be placed in the context of the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906). In January 1898, L’Aurore (Dawn) published Zola’s open letter to the President of the French Republic. Zola accused several high-ranking officers of the French Army, and other officials, of falsely convicting Captain Alfred Dreyfus and of anti-Semitism, arguing that “the conviction of Alfred Dreyfus was based on false accusations of espionage and was a misrepresentation of justice.”

Zola appealed to international public opinion, using the mass media to defend an innocent man, in a charged atmosphere of nationalism, anti-Semitism and corruption. Zola had great courage. He was convicted of libel for publishing his letter and went into exile in London to avoid imprisonment and a large fine.

I admit versus I accuse

The 20th century was dominated by accusation and indignation. Totalitarian movements, in particular Marxism-Leninism, constantly leveled accusations. When the Cold War ended, the zeitgeist of perpetual accusation should have subsided. It did not.

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Constant Germany: Lessons of Steadiness in an Uncertain World

By Laurent Ladouce

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped down on December 8th after 16 years of political leadership. This unassuming person won international recognition as a model of leadership and was considered the most influential woman of the world for the past ten years.

The New York Times recently wrote of her legacy: “It is the end of an era for Germany and for Europe. For over a decade, Ms. Merkel was not just chancellor of Germany but effectively the leader of Europe.”

Rev. Sun Myung Moon often said leadership entails the ability to guide as a teacher, to embrace and unite as a parent, and to create projects as a master. Dr. Merkel, a theoretical quantum chemist from the former East Germany, rarely spoke like a scientist; her manners and rhetoric were simple, even dull. She never proposed any revolutionary project.

She was, however, the unbeatable team leader and referee who could get people to work together in a spirit of trust. She was perceived as the mother of the nation, affectionately called Mutti (mother).

Some saw her as an icon of female leadership. But more to the point, Merkel has been reassuring for Germans. Not just the exceptional woman, many Germans saw in her the average German they wanted to be, albeit in a leadership role. They felt secure with her. She was seen by large sectors of the German population as an embodiment of a cardinal virtue in German political culture: constancy.

*    *    *

Konstanz is a peaceful German university city on the Bodensee or Lake Constance. It is situated in the very heart of the German-speaking world, where Germany, Austria and Alemannic Switzerland meet.

Though this central spot of the German-speaking world is called Konstanz is a coincidence of geography, it’s also a good symbol. “Constancy is the complement of all other human virtues,” said the Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72). Most German political leaders would agree. Modern Germany offers a model of political constancy which grew even stronger after the challenge of reunification. After Merkel is gone, this constancy will likely remain.

This essay focuses on Germany’s healthy institutions rather than on a remarkable person. Chancellor Merkel indeed has much merit. But German governance often allows for very capable leaders like Dr. Merkel to be elected and to remain. This is a lesson for us all.

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Balancing Elites and Masses in Two Legislative Bodies

By Gordon Anderson

Headwing society is one in which elites and the general population have a symbiotic and trusting relationship in all social institutions. Many types of social institutions exist in the different spheres of society: governance, economy and culture. However, because government involves legal power and can force people to serve the will of the elites who wield that power, government institutions can cause the greatest oppression and get most of our attention.

Sustainable societies need to be both intelligently managed and serve the needs of people, “the masses.” Slavery and serfdom are the starkest examples of the masses serving the will of elites. Only a small percentage of the population makes up the political class. But, without proper checks and balances, the elites in this class will use their power to become lords and masters, treating the masses as second-class citizens and expendables.

Earlier societies were governed by kings, princes and feudal lords. Aristotle referred to good kings as those who served the population, and bad kings as those who used the people to serve themselves. Today, in more complex institutional and bureaucratic societies, individual kings are often replaced by classes of elites in government administration, political parties, and those with great wealth or organizational power. Instead of merely focusing on individuals in power, we need to focus on social institutions and elites. While this problem needs to be fixed in universities, corporations, churches, NGOs, and all kinds of social institutions, this article uses the example of governance.

One way to balance the interests of the masses with the skill of elites in the law is with two legislative bodies. This can be constitutionally addressed with an upper legislative house representing elite expertise and a lower house representing the population, with each house having the power to veto one another. This allows only legislation that is deemed functional by the elites and enjoys the “consent of the governed.” This type of legislation began in ancient times and needs to be continually updated as societies evolve.

Ancient Rome and Tribunes’ Power to Veto

A significant historical development occurred in Ancient Rome when the “plebs” (the people, or working classes) decided they had enough of fighting in the armies of the patricians (ruling elite class) without any say in the laws their Senate passed. Without checks and balances, the Senate passed legislation that burdened the masses and provided the elite with special privileges.

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Fulfilling the Four Freedoms Eighty Years Later

By Laurent Ladouce

With the pandemic rampant and lockdowns imposed worldwide, an economic crisis destroying jobs, political turmoil in much of the West, and religious fanaticism elsewhere, we ought to proclaim, like President Franklin D. Roosevelt did in 1941: “Freedom of worship, freedom of expression, freedom from fear, freedom from want — everywhere in the world.”

Eighty years later, though global circumstances have changed, his call remains valid.

The domestic circumstances of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech were highly exceptional. Ordinarily, Roosevelt would not have sought a third term in office; yet he even ran and won reelection to a fourth term in 1944. In normal times, there would have been no need for that special section of his speech to be given. 

It was exceptional, because the Great Depression had lasted a decade already. It was exceptional, because Nazism was then controlling almost all of Europe. Roosevelt faced two totalitarian threats, from Hitler and from Stalin. It was exceptional because of Roosevelt’s confidence that the call for more freedom everywhere would guarantee greater safety everywhere. We need such confidence today.   

The Four Freedoms guided democracy for eight decades. They should continue to do so, adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. They should again guide us in times of uncertainty, of great insecurity and major restrictions to our freedoms everywhere.

More than a major political manifesto, the Four Freedoms speech amounts to a prophecy. Its eschatology inspired many artists.

Here, I evaluate the spiritual and cultural importance of the Four Freedoms from a Unificationist viewpoint. I suggest Norman Rockwell’s four paintings offer the deepest interpretation of the Four Freedoms, by insisting on the primacy of family values. Finally, I discuss how the speech should inspire us today. 

Balancing freedom and security

The Four Freedoms are the centerpiece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of Union Address on January 6, 1941:

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Leading America Back to the Center

By John Redmond

After the recent election cycle, America has become more and more polarized. This is destructive to national and social harmony and, at its worst, a prelude to national collapse. 

Historically, other nations that have reached this level of conflict and verbal invective have descended into partisan bickering, self-absorption and global irrelevance. On other occasions, they have moved past the argument, re-located common ground and moved forward. The British debate over slavery was a division that healed successfully but the American Civil War left scars still felt today. 

National challenges are to be expected in the growth of a nation.  How that nation responds depends on whether it rises or falls. According to historian Arnold Toynbee, most civilizations thrive when they are inspired by a creative minority of their citizens, visionary, educated and engaged.  They fail when this leadership group becomes defeatist or mired in conflict or despair. 

This is good news for Unificationists who regard development coming through Origin-Division-Union action and see that they are themselves part of the constructive creative minority. With Toynbee’s lens, this deep polarization is a challenge that can be overcome only if the creative minority steps up and meets that challenge with constructive responses.

This breakdown in civic discourse is driven in part by the change in how Americans currently get information they think they can trust — through the Internet. In the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” computer scientists discuss how search engines never send a balanced set of results for a search request or news feed; rather, they send information based on one’s browsing profile. 

Two people sitting side-by-side can type in the same search term and get completely different links to pursue based on their past browsing history and economic situation. Additionally, search engine companies get paid by how long you linger over an article or link, so it is in their best interests to send provocative articles and create an emotional tie to information to give advertisers a few more seconds to catch your eye.

It is ironic Americans are more educated than at any time in history with information literally at their fingertips and yet cannot understand how to find common ground with people who disagree with their political opinions. This is true of both right and left partisans.  

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Belief and the Power of Narrative

By Graham Simon

At midnight on December 31, 2020, the UK finally parted company with the EU.

After taking negotiations down to the wire, a beaming Boris Johnson, the unkempt UK Prime Minister and optimist extraordinaire, who five years earlier had promised the British people that they could leave the EU and still “have their cake and eat it,” declared that he had delivered a very “cakeist” treaty indeed.

The exit was mandated in a referendum in June 2016. The anti-EU faction had orchestrated a well-planned high-profile campaign which included catchy but less than truthful slogans on the sides of buses. Those who wanted to remain part of the EU dithered and presented their case badly. In the end, the “Leavers” won with 52% of the vote against 48% for the “Remainers.” Much rancor between the two sides followed.

Most economic forecasts have predicted a loss of UK GDP as a result of Brexit, ranging from 0.1% to 7.9%, with the official Treasury report coming in at around 6% over the next 15 years. Those who voted to leave tend to believe the lower figures or even outlying forecasts of gains, rather than losses. Those who voted to remain tend to believe the more pessimist numbers.

Regardless, the deed is now done and the probable outcome in five years’ time will be that the only things British citizens will notice are: the country is now able to exclude immigrants from Europe (but will probably still need plenty of Europeans to pick its fruit and staff its hospitals); there is more red tape when importing and exporting; and tourists need to keep showing their passports when traveling on the Continent. There is also an outside chance that Northern Ireland will no longer be part of Britain but be reunited with Eire (Southern Ireland) to become part of the EU again.

The UK was split down the middle with regards to Brexit, but people have managed to pull through without killing each other. As we look across the pond to the U.S., where the nation also seems split down the middle, we are perplexed and concerned at the severity of the divisions. While the fault lines may be different in the UK and U.S., the two situations have a lot in common — namely the centrality of belief and narrative in stoking divisions.

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Re-imagining Social Justice from a Headwing Perspective

By David Eaton

Since the tragic death of George Floyd, the United States has experienced societal convulsions not seen since the social unrest of the 1960s. Protests, violent and non-violent, have caused great distress in many American cities and communities.

This crisis has highlighted several significant socio-political issues including racial inequality, police brutality, poverty, family breakdown, and gender equality. Consequently, the role of political and spiritual leaders in ameliorating many of these injustices is now of great concern.

Needless to say, there have been a plethora of opinions offered to explain the conditions that have resulted in various injustices that have plagued the socio-cultural circumstances in the United States since its founding. The question as to what might be the best solutions to these problems can only be answered when the proper diagnosis of the root cause is identified.

In his advocacy of non-violent solutions for peace and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often invoked the narrative of “the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice.” Because we all have our portions of responsibility in matters of citizenship, family relations and with our extended communities, we can’t expect that the “moral arc of the universe” will bend toward justice without godly virtues and values being practiced in a forthright manner.

In Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is, Michael Novak and Paul Adams explore the origins of the term “social justice” and examine how the concept and its implementation evolved. “Social justice” was coined in the 19th century by Italian Catholic priest Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio, who asserted it was important to make a distinction between legal justice as implemented by the state and social justice — remedying relational conflicts without state intrusion. As such, the idea of social justice has long been part of the social creed of the Roman Catholic Church and several popes have weighed in on the issue via papal encyclicals.

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Reflections on Dr. Hak Jan Han Moon’s Memoir, “Mother of Peace”

By Eileen Williams

Reading the memoir, Mother of Peace by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, became for me a contemplative personal reflection of the labyrinth-like journey of the Unification Church and its metamorphosis into Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community.

I was late to reading True Mother’s memoir.  It was daunting. I put it off. When I finally dove in, a few themes struck a reverberant chord: True Mother’s understanding of herself as a historical person, God’s healing power of love and forgiveness, and the singular purpose of the messianic mission.

I was moved by True Mother’s anecdotal retelling of her early life in the first four chapters.  Middle chapters lose some of their intimate narrative as they veer towards grandiloquence when describing some of the philosophical underpinnings of the various church organizations; however, there are some powerful testimonies regarding foreign missionary work and True Parents’ visits to countries, unthinkable to visit at the time.

The last third of the book, a head-spinning account of travels to Africa and island nations, highlights behind the scenes activities and their interplay within the international scope of the work of True Parents. Therefore, if the reader perseveres to the end (not a particularly easy task at 359 pages) then he or she could certainly be rewarded — as I was — with an amazing glimpse into a vast global vision whose purpose is to shine a spiritual light onto one’s own personal realm of influence.

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