40 Years in America

In The Public Arena

As the Reagan years came to a close, Rev. Moon became more rather than less active in the public arena. Undoubtedly, there was concern on his part that the U.S. would go the course in sustaining its opposition to communism and there was particular concern about the 1988 presidential election. As a result, Rev. Moon established two new organizations and funded another. The first of these was the American Leadership Conference (ALC, est. 1986), headed by Amb. Phillip V. Sanchez, former U.S. Ambassador to Columbia and Honduras. The purpose of ALC was to educate elected officials "about Soviet military strategy and on the underlying tenets of Marxist-Leninist ideology, contrasting it with the historical and philosophical foundations of American democracy." In addition to CAUSA presentations, prominent guest speakers "added their views on American military strategy and domestic policy." ALC speakers included twenty-five members of Congress (e.g., Senators Jesse Helms, Al Gore, Richard Lugar and Congressman Henry Hyde) and other luminaries (e.g., Alan Bloom, Thomas Sowell and Maureen Reagan). There also were presentations by Soviet and other defectors. Aided by an invitational committee consisting of some 50 state legislators and an advisory committee of former diplomats, congressmen and governors, the ALC elicited a considerable response. By the end of 1990, over 10,000 had attended one of 30 national, three- to four-day anti-communist conferences.

Those attending included "about 100 current or former members of Congress, 130 mayors, more than 2,000 state legislators, many prominent federal and state officials, as well as university presidents and leaders of think tanks, grassroots organizations, and private foundations." In addition, "every state legislator was mailed a video of the American Leadership Conference in 1987."

The American Constitution Committee (ACC), a second organization established in 1987, was intended to be a coordinating body of activists whose mission was "to awaken Americans to the original spirit of the founding fathers" and "to encourage American commitment to...leadership in the face of the totalitarian challenge." With state and regional offices in all fifty states, ACC co-sponsored with CAUSA-USA the American Leadership Conferences. On the state and local levels, ACC programs educated and trained activists and leaders each month. Another important work of the ACC was to network with other patriotic and religious groups in each state, congressional district, county and town, and even in each precinct. ACCís staff personnel consisted almost entirely of Unification Church leaders who dropped out of active church involvement to pursue this mission.

The third organization, also established in 1987, was the American Freedom Coalition (AFC). Its genesis was somewhat more complex. According to a commemorative volume prepared for Rev. Moonís seventieth birthday in 1990, "Soon after the establishment of the ACC, Dr. Bo Hi Pak was approached by Dr. Robert Grant of Christian Voice, and the two organizations made a decision to pool their resources in order to establish a greater lobbying organization, which became known as the American Freedom Coalition (AFC)." While ALC continued to educate political elites, AFC attempted to influence public opinion on a broader scale. Weighing in heavily for the Nicaraguan contras, AFC aired Oliver North: Fight for Freedom on 500 television stations and garnered $3.2 million in donations. In support of SDI, it recruited suspense novelist Tom Clancy to write the script and Charlton Heston to narrate the film, One Incoming. In 1988, AFC distributed 30 million pieces of literature on behalf of the Bush campaign, including highly effective "voter scorecards." In 1990, it staged "Desert Storm" rallies in all fifty states.

The PBS series, Frontline, concluded in 1992 that "whether they know it or not, Americans should realize Rev. Moon is a force in their political lives." The whole time Rev. Moon pursued a strong "victory over communism" stance in the U.S., he simultaneously cultivated contacts within the Soviet world. He worked primarily through the World Media Association (WMA), which he had founded in 1978. Between 1982-89, the "WMA brought hundreds of American and foreign journalists to Russia and many of the other Soviet republics," and "[a]s early as 1983 these journalists dialogued with leaders of TASS, Pravda, Izvestia, and Novosti News Agency." These early meetings, undertaken when cold-war tensions still simmered, frequently became "verbal sparring matches." However, the situation changed dramatically by 1988. That year, Soviet authorities sent two representatives to the 1988 World Media Conference in Washington, D.C. and an agreement was reached to hold the 1990 conference in Moscow. Twelve Soviet journalists and six representatives from the Peopleís Republic of China attended the 1989 conference, also in Washington, D.C. Vladimir Iordansky, editor of Za Rubezhom (Abroad), a weekly magazine with a circulation of 900,000, wrote in a later piece that Rev. Moon was a product of the "cold war" but that perestroika and important transformations in China had "compelled him to reconsider his previous views." A separate piece in Novoe Vremya (New Era), the communist partyís ideological weekly magazine, described Rev. Moon as "an extraordinary person of versatility in many different fields." Following the World Media Conference, the twelve Soviet journalists toured the Pacific Northwest, arriving in Seattle "all wearing ten-gallon cowboy hats from Montana." Later that year, the WMA sponsored an Asian fact-finding tour for Soviet journalists, which included tours of movement holdings in Japan and Korea.

There were other factors that aided the rapprochement with new-style Soviets. In 1988, at the Seoul Olympics, Rev. Moon made a special effort to welcome Eastern Bloc and Soviet athletes, providing them with generous gifts and invitations to cultural events. The following year, Julia Moon, Rev. Moonís daughter-in-law and prima ballerina of the Universal Ballet Company, was invited to perform the title role in Giselle with the Kirov Ballet, the first time in the history of the Kirov Theatre that a South Korean ballerina had performed on its stage. Soviet observers, doubtless, also took note of Rev. Moonís material investment in China. At the 1981 ICUS, Rev. Moon proposed construction of an International Peace Highway that initially would pass from Japan, through the Koreas and into China. Research and an actual groundbreaking for the digging of an undersea tunnel between Japan and Korea commenced during the early 1980s. In 1987, the Chinese government approved the highway project as well as the movementís proposal to invest a minimum of US$250 million in an automobile manufacturing plant in southern China. As part of the agreement, Rev. Moon promised to plough all profits back into China. That same year Rev. Moon funded the establishment of an engineering college at Yongmyung University in the ethnic Korean region of Manchuria. Also in 1987, based on contacts he had established through CAUSA and the Association for the Unity of Latin America (AULA), Rev. Moon founded the Summit Council for World Peace. Intended as a forum "for world leaders to gather and exchange ideas on the major issues of the day," membership was "limited to former heads of state as well as international personalities who have made recognized contributions to the cause of peace and the betterment of mankind." Through the Summit Council and related projects, Rev. Moon hoped to establish himself as a "peacemaker and unifier."

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