In 1960, Dr. Fred Schwarz, an Australia physician, wrote a book titled “You Can Trust the Communists.” The sub-title continued his thesis: “To do exactly what they say they will do.”
The current actions by Russia mimic those of old Russia as described by Dr. Schwarz. He said they practiced a dialectic approach in their conquest of many territories. The technique involves three steps forward and two backward. Seeing the two steps back, people are deceived to believe they are not so bad after all. All this neglects the math, which results in one unchallenged step forward.
Russia took two admirable steps back in sponsoring the Sochi Olympics. On another occasion, they took two additional steps back by defusing the Syrian threat and saving President Obama embarrassment when he drew a red line threatening to bomb them. The Iranians stepped over it and Obama faced a dilemma.
Then came the annexation of Crimea followed with the massing of superior Russian forces on the border of the Ukraine and more than a casual glance at Moldavia, where there is a large Russian population. Those are forward steps and other potential ones.
Schwarz was commended by President Reagan for his efforts “in trying to ensure the protection of freedom and human rights.” Schwarz had an antidote, and it played a major role in Poland and eventually the entire USSR in the reversal of Russian aggression. Schwarz’s rallies drew large crowds and it is estimated as many as 3,000,000 viewed some of his rallies on TV.
In addition to exposing Communism for what it is, he advocated the one thing he believed could stem the tide of Communist conquests. I sponsored one of his rallies in New Orleans and observed the impact of the city. Rallies featured prominent national figures.
Knowing the Marxist-Leninist philosophy, he realized what a vacuum it left in human lives and in society in general. Filling that void he felt was the only way to overcome Communism.
A return to a strong religious faith and the hope it offers was his solution. President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher and Pope John Paul II covertly fanned this flame in Poland and Eastern Europe, and the ripple effect significantly aided the end of the Cold War.
After the end of that era, we hosted approximately 350 Russian political and educational leaders in Marietta one Sunday morning. Among them was the grandson of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Each had an earpiece through which an interpreter translated the message. It was a moving moment to see many of them weep openly at the message of hope offered by a personal faith. It was obvious that for many of them it was a message they knew in their earlier lives before the emergence of Communism.
In our own country, many have lost hope and have been trained to look to the government to supply material support feeling that will be fulfilling. Even a full stomach if there is an empty heart never brings fulfillment.
Each of us in our own life and in our culture must do all things possible to encourage the sharing of the message of hope inspired by a strong Bible-based faith.
It is the only thing that can pre-empt the sale of rope to Russia.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.