When Secretary Dulles left Geneva, he was on a mission to carry out a feverish, round-the-world campaign to get all free nations to make an ‘agonizing reappraisal’ of the ridiculous concessions that were being made to Communist imperialism. After 20 months and over 152,000 miles, he returned home to a United States that had become party to a chain of regional compacts specifically designed to reinforce Communist containment. Article 52 of the UN charter, to the dismay of Soviet strategists, realized that there was a loophole that permitted the US action. The US began to use NATO, SEATO, and similar regional organizations as collective agencies for mutual security. To a large extent this nullified the choke-hold which the Soviets had previously held on the West through its abusive use of the veto power.
The United States also announced that she did not intend to sit back and watch Russia construct its armada of long-range bombers which Communist press releases described as capable of dropping H-bombs on American cities. The US answer to this was the rapid construction of a ring of US defense bases on the fringe of the Iron Curtain. Immediately the ‘roar of an injured bear’ came thundering out of Russia: “We are being threatened with annihilation!” In the meantime, Secretary Dulles reaffirmed a truth which he was well aware the Communists already knew…namely, that no nation need fear these bases except an aggressor. For a while there was ominous silence in Moscow.
Toward the latter part of 1954, it became apparent that serious political adjustments were taking place inside Russia. A bellicose personality, Nikita Khrushchev, and a punctilious party politician, Nikolai Bulganin, began appearing more frequently in the news. An ex-Soviet official, Nikolai Khokhlov, declared this to be a bad sign. He described Khrushchev and Bulganin as promoters of World Communism, in contrast to two other leaders, Malenkov and Beria, who wanted to improve living conditions for Russians. In the fall of 1954, Khrushchev and Bulganin led a delegation to Peiping, where the Chinese were given instructions to prepare for an assault on Formosa. It became apparent that Russia had established a new line of power. As a result, Malenkov deserted his partner, Beria, and joined forces with Khrushchev-Bulganin forces. In typical communist fashion, in the latter part of December, Beria and three of his aides were shot.
Coming to feel a new power granted by Russia, the Chinese Communists began fronting for Moscow by tantalizing democracies with a shocking announcement that they had deliberately held back US officers and men in violation of the prisoner-exchange agreement at the close of the Korean War. US indignation reached a white heat as many Americans began to realize for the first time how completely impossible it is to depend on a Communist pledge. American feelings to get out of the whole foreign ‘mess’ encouraged no further action, however. Not to miss an opportunity, Mao Tse-tung accelerated his campaign of propaganda throughout Asia by representing the US as a ‘paper tiger’. He even went so far as to announce that China held additional American prisoners and boastfully defied the US Government to do something about it. (Recent US government actions have reopened that ‘paper tiger’ scenario.’)
Becoming so enthusiastic on his campaign of US impotency, the Chinese mainland began bombing the offshore islands that were in the hands of the Nationalists. It was the preliminary phase of a Chinese all-out attack on the Nationalists’ last outpost. One-half billion ‘neutral’ Asians watched keenly as US leaders measured the risk and fathomed the depths of their own moral convictions. In February 1955, the Chinese Reds and other world Communists got their answer. A US Congressional resolution supported by both parties (things used to happen that way), confirmed the authority of the President to station the Seventh Fleet into the Formosa Straits and give orders to wage an all-out war if attacked. This would obviously include the use of nuclear weapons.
The ‘little nations’ of South East Asia stood up and cheered. At the Afro-Asian conference at Bandung, several of the ‘little nations’ chose to badger the Chinese Communist delegates with cries of ‘Communist colonialism’ and ‘Communist aggression’. It was a severe blow to the prestige and propaganda of Mao Tse-tung and his Communis backers in Moscow. Within weeks of this ‘stand firm’ policy, the Chinese began releasing prisoners they had held illegally. The issue of Formosa was allowed to slip quietly into the background. (Unfortunately, it has been permitted to be resurrected as a result of weakness shown by the current leadership in DC.) We find that most bullies will back off when challenged. Frequently the strength for that challenge comes from the Word of God as promulgated by our Christian church leadership. There seemed to be a general satisfaction with the new and unexpected turn of events throughout the world and the democracies settled back once more to the pursuit of their own affairs. But just as biblical history has taught us, Satan…just like the Communists…knows when to regroup and attack from a different direction.
Alert Americans were reminded of a significant statement made by Dimitry Manuilsky who represented the USSR in presiding over the Security Council of the United Nations in 1949. At the Lenin School of Political Warfare in Moscow he had taught:
“War to the hilt between communism and capitalism is inevitable. Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack…to win we shall need the element of surprise. The bourgeoisie will have to be put to sleep. So, we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movements on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we shall smash them with our clinched fist!” (Quoted by Joseph Kornfeder in a letter to Dr. J.D. Bales of Harding College dated March 7, 1961. Quoted in part by Manuilsky to a group of senior Lenin School students in March 1930, where Kornfeder as a student was present.)
Where in today’s world, do we find politicians who are dedicated to fighting potential enemies of the nation, while they are fighting each other for power and influence? This type of education is an excellent opportunity for the church to educate congregations on the threats around us…threats to the very church itself. Are many of our church leaders too fearful of offending to be willing to state facts about the political evil that surrounds us?
Next week we will take a look at what life is like in the communist world. Some people are so easily fooled by promises of a perfect world where all of their needs are provided by a generous government, only to find that this generosity was meant to enslave. Are we facing a similar situation in the United States today? Hopefully the next few weeks will help you decide for yourself. I hope that church leadership will take time to consider where it stands in this battle for slavery over freedom…evil over good.
“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher