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  • 1. The International Peace Highway: Reflections on its Role forWorld PeaceThomas J. WardJournal of Unification Studies Vol. 11, 2010 -- Page 199The construction of a bridge and tunnel complex that would connect Russiaand the United States via the Bering Strait, along with the building of a tunnelcomplex to connect Kyushu Island in Japan with Pusan, Korea represent keycomponents of the International Peace Highway which has been publiclyadvocated by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon since 1981. This paper explorescompelling dimensions of this project through the optics of religion, historyand international political economy.Reverend Sun Myung Moons Proposal for an International Peace HighwayFigure 1: Section of the map of the International Peace Highway from abooklet prepared for the 1981 ICUSOn November 10, 1981 at the Tenth International Conference for the Unity ofthe Sciences (ICUS) in Seoul, Korea, Reverend Moon introduced his visionfor a world highway system that would require the building of a tunnelconnecting Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan to Pusan, Korea. In thatproposal he also called for the creation of a one mile stretch of neutralterritory on either side of the proposed International Peace Highway. Thatperimeter would constitute neutral territory and it would allow theadministration of the project to rely on international legal instruments ratherthan the laws or dictates of any particular nation.
  • 2. The maps developed in conjunction with that 1981 proposal also depicted aconnector between Russia and the United States via the Bering Strait and ahighway network reaching through the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa.(Figure 1) Excavation initiatives began to advance this project in Japan almostimmediately after the conference.In his keynote address to the second meeting of the Summit Council forWorld Peace on February 2, 1990, Rev. Moon again spoke of the importanceof this project and of the unique opportunity provided through PresidentGorbachevs implementation of Glasnost. He recognized PresidentGorbachevs efforts and observed, "I would like to extend my heartycongratulations to President Gorbachev for his courage and leadership inbringing about these constructive changes, enabling us to usher in this new eraof cooperation." He reiterated his support for President Gorbachev and alsospoke once again of the importance of the International Peace Highway: As you may know, in 1981 I launched an International Peace Highway project. When completed, this highway will allow a family car to be driven from Tokyo to London. I am seriously discussing the project with the governments of Japan, Korea and China, and I hope that the Soviet Union will also welcome this project. Of course, this is a lofty dream, but every great undertaking begins as a dream. Not so long ago, no one could even have dreamed of men walking on the moon, but with a vision and hard work, it became a reality. So it will be with the International Peace Highway.[1]In 2005 Rev. Moon further elaborated on the need for a bridge/tunnel complexconnecting Russia and the United States, speaking specifically on the need fora connector between Russia and the United States at the Bering Strait. Hedescribed this construction as an historical necessity, given the long historyduring which the physical separation between Russia and the United Stateshad served as a source of the physical and spiritual division of humankind. Heemphasized that an International Peace Highway would play a key role in thefostering of reconciliation and peace:
  • 3. The United States of America, Russia, Europe, China, India, Japan, Brazil and all the nations and religions of the world should work hand in hand. With the complete success of this project, humankind will be one step closer to the Peace Kingdom on earth where there is no more division and war.[2]In a speech delivered on February 1, 1986, Rev. Moon intimated a directrelationship between the International Peace Highway and his lifelong effortsto overcome the invisible barriers that separate humankind: The final problem is opening the blocked spiritual gates of hell and heaven… The name of the International Peace Highway came from this. This is to break down the wall, which has been blocking us.[3]Thus for Rev. Moon, the world highway system represents not onlyhumankinds physical integration but it also furthers spiritual reconciliationand integration.Research institutes and foundations were established as early as 1981 in Korea,Japan and the United States to explore the feasibility and development of theInternational Peace Highway project. Symposia have been dedicated to thistheme and the project has drawn statements of support from political leaders,philanthropists, engineers and leaders in management and civil engineering.Exploratory excavations have already been conducted in Japan and Korea.Reverend Moon has more than a superficial understanding of Alaska and theBering Strait. He personally spent a significant amount of time working therein order to develop the fishing and the fish processing industries that heinitiated there. Alaska has served as a laboratory where he has deployed andpersonally tested the many models of fishing boats that his companies havebuilt in Korea and in the United States.Reverend Moon has strong feelings about the way in which the former SovietUnion must develop in order to foster peace. He has stressed that the SovietUnions prime political and commercial partner should be the United Statesrather than Europe. Following a meeting with North Korean leader Kim IlSung in November 1991, he sent a message to President George H. W. Bush
  • 4. emphasizing that the United States needed to do everything to fosterfriendship and reconciliation with the former Soviet Union.[4] The proposedBering Strait project connecting the United States and Russia would help toachieve this.The International Peace Highway in the Context of HistoryReligion and the Symbolism and Significance of HighwaysRoads and highways have always played an essential role in facilitating thecommunication of ideas and beliefs. Efficient travel from one city or from onecountry to another was essential for the expansion of Buddhism andConfucianism. Buddha and Confucius both traveled with their followers fromone venue to another in order to teach the implicit proprieties of leadershipand human interaction. Christianity spread quickly from the Near East toEurope because of the expansive Roman highway system that the ApostlePaul and other traveled as early missionaries. Paul, the pioneer and architectof such mission activities, found his own faith on the Road to Damascus, ahighway where he came face-to-face with Jesus in a spiritual encounter. Islamwas also reliant on highways for its growth and development. The trade routesof Central Asia helped in the propagation on that faith. Travel betweencountries allows religious ideas to be cross-fertilized and enriched by othercultures.Highways, it would appear, can have more than utilitarian significance. In thecase of Christianity and Judaism, the call for the creation of an InternationalPeace Highway arguably resonates with certain foundational scriptures. Isaiah35:8-10 makes specific reference to a "highway of holiness" in the last daysthat will coincide with the realization of the Kingdom of God: And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
  • 5. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.[5]Social and Political Significance of Highways and BridgesHighways reflect a human desire to be connected, while walls reflect another,darker human sentiment, to remain isolated and separated. Structures such asthe Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China, the Demilitarized Zone betweenNorth and South Korea, the wall between Palestinians and Israel and theplanned wall between Mexico and the United States reflect the fact thathumankind still has a way to go before there can literally be one human familyon earth.Unlike walls, bridges and highways can heal distances and contribute to peace.For example, Canada and the United States opposed each other militarily bothduring the American War of Independence and during the War of 1812. In theyears following the War of 1812, Americans and Canadians actively began toexplore ways in which to address their differences. One of the symbols of thisprocess of reconciliation was the construction of a Peace Bridge between thecities of Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario (Canada) in the early partof the Twentieth Century. On the occasion of the opening of the Peace Bridge,an editorial in the Buffalo Post described this historical development asfollows: Let us trust that the structure that is to bring these two great Anglo-Saxon countries into closer contact with each other will serve also to increase mutual respect and appreciation and prolong indefinitely the years of peace.[6]In a similar way the Chunnel, connecting the United Kingdom with France,marked a new level of relationship between the United Kingdom and France,two nations that had waged war on each other since the days of Joan of Arc.France and Great Britain had stood at opposite sides of the Battlefield duringthe Napoleonic Wars, the American War of Independence and the AmericanCivil War. Through the Chunnel project they were finally "joined forever."Bridges and highways serve as a clear statement that partnership and
  • 6. collaboration are viewed by both parties as keys to their mutual futuresuccess.Contemporary social movements have utilized highway construction as a toolto facilitate peace-building. Sri Lankan Gandhi Peace Prize winner Dr. A. T.Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya non-violent movement, has dedicatedmuch of his life to helping to mitigate the dispute between Singhalese andTamils in Sri Lanka. One of his major venues for bringing opposing campstogether was having them work together on the building of a road. Dr.Ariyaratne describes the outcomes of these efforts, as follows: "We built theroad and the road built us."[7]Significance of the Bridge-Tunnel Structures in the International Peace HighwayThe connecting bridge-and tunnel structure over the Bering Strait and thetunnel between Japan and Korea that are centerpieces of Rev. MoonsInternational Peace Highway serve as both symbolic and tangible structuresfor alleviating the ill feelings that have existed between Japan and Korea andbetween the United States and Russia for approximately a century in bothcases. Under Japanese rule, Koreans were exposed to demeaning colonial rulethat included "ethnic cleansing," slavery, torture, human trafficking and theforced participation of Korean women as sex workers for the Japanesemilitary during Japans occupation of Korea.The United State and Russia have also opposed each other beginning withAmerican involvement in efforts to destabilize the government of VladimirLenin through providing support to White Russians after the 1917 BolshevikRevolution. The United States and the Soviet Union continued to oppose eachother through proxy wars beginning with the American efforts to prevent MaoZedong and Kim Il Sung from expanding communism beyond China andNorth Korea following World War II. Since then, the proxy wars havecontinued intermittently in Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua,and Ethiopia. Arguably the recent wars in Kosovo and in South Ossetia do notbode well in that they again would appear to constitute proxy wars, notbetween the United States and the Soviet Union but between the United Statesand Mother Russia.
  • 7. Value of the International Peace Highway for PeaceStrengthening International PeaceThe United States Institute of Peace, the official peace research institute of thegovernment of the United States, describes the various stages of discord andconflict that one passes through in moving from overt conflict to a state ofdurable or lasting peace (or vice versa) through what is referred to as theCurve of Conflict. The Curve of Conflict that was developed by Michael S.Lund[8] identifies the spectrum of warm, stable relations to volatile, violentrelations that can exist amongst nations. Depending on the quality of relationsbetween states or populations different forms of diplomatic remedies arerequired. Lunds categorization of the gamut of relations between DurablePeace and War serves as a useful model for examining the current relationsthat exist between the United States and Russia or the relations that exist, forexample, between China and Japan. We can use this model to gauge thepotential impact of the International Peace Highway on world peace.Let us begin by looking at the possible flow of relations between nations fromwar to lasting peace by considering a chart that I have adapted from Lund(Figure 2):Figure 2: Stages in the Curve of Conflict[9]Notes[1] Sun Myung Moon, "The Reunification of Korea and Cooperation betweenEast and West," February 2, 2009,[2] Sun Myung Moon, "Gods Kingdom of Peace is our Familys EternalHome," June 25-28, 2005,[3] Sun Myung Moon, Cheon Seong Gyeong (Seoul, Korea: FFWPU, 2006),677.[4] Based on oral accounts provided by individuals involved in facilitatingthese communiqués.
  • 8. [5] Prophecies regarding Highways can also be found in Rev. 16:12 and Isa.41:2.[6] "The Bridge that Peace Built," excerpted from a 1925 Buffalo Posteditorial,[7] From a speech delivered at the University of Bridgeport, October 11,2007.[8] See USIP Certificate Course in Conflict Analysis, where the Curve ofConflict is explained,[9] The following chart is an adaptation of a chart developed based on USIPinstruments. Normally nations possessing lasting peace relations do not seesaid relations dissipate into an Unstable Peace and worse.[10] USIP Certificate Course,[11] USIP Certificate Course,[12] USIP defines "Unstable Peace" as "a situation in which tension andsuspicion among parties run high, but violence is either absent or onlysporadic. A negative peace prevails because although armed force is notdeployed [or employed], the parties perceive one another as enemies andmaintain deterrent military capabilities... A balance of power may discourageaggression, but crisis and war are still possible."[13] USIP defines "Crisis" as "tense confrontation between armed forces thatare mobilized and ready to fight and may be engaged in threats and occasionallow-level skirmishes but have not exerted any significant amount of force.The probability of the outbreak of war is high."
  • 9. [14] Track II diplomacy is contrasted with official government to governmentdiplomacy and it usually involves citizen-to-citizen exchanges, especiallyinfluential citizens, on crucial matters in inter-state relations.[15] Sun Myung Moon, "America and Gods Will," September 18, 1976,www.tparents. org/Moon-Talks/SunMyungMoon76/sm760918.htm.[16] The Russian government in 2007 projected that a Bering Strait bridge andtunnel would result in up to 100 million tons of increased freight traffic peryear.[17] Sun Myung Moon, "True Unification and One World," April 10 to 111990, World Media Conference, Moscow,[18] Dr. King visited the University of Bridgeport as a Jacoby lecturer and healso received an honorary doctorate from the University. Bridgeport was aplace that he visited often because there he received significant financialsupport for the civil rights movement.
  • 10. Lunds model describes "Durable Peace" as follows: Durable (or Warm) Peace involves a high level of reciprocity and cooperation, and the virtual absence of self-defense measures among parties, although it may include their military alliance against a common threat. A positive peace prevails based on shared values, goals, and institutions (e.g. democratic political systems and rule of law), economic interdependence, and a sense of international community.[10]It can be contrasted with the definition of "Stable Peace": Stable (or Cold) Peace is a relationship of wary communication and limited cooperation (e.g. trade) within an overall context of basic order or national stability. Value or goal differences exist and no military cooperation is established, but disputes are generally worked out in nonviolent, more or less predictable ways. The prospect for war is low.[11]
  • 11. One could certainly make the case that Stable Peace, if unattended, can lead to"Unstable Peace,"[12] as indicated in the chart above; and this may thenescalate to the level of a Crisis[13] or to War. The lack of regularcommunication and exchange could allow for the Stable Peace that currentlyexists between the United States and Russia to precipitate into an UnstablePeace. What would have happened, for example, if the United States haddeployed troops in Georgia in 2008 when Russia provided military assistanceto South Ossetia when it again asserted independence from Georgia? It wouldappear that by becoming involved military, Russia had determined that thiswas a matter of national interest for which they were willing to "draw a line inthe sand" and fight.Let us next consider Lunds categorization in terms of US-DPRK relations orJapan-DPRK relations. The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula could leadto the Unstable Peace that we find today between North Korea and Japan orbetween North Korea and the United States deteriorating into the Crisis stageindicated in the Chart on page 8. North Koreas leaders have made it clear thatthey view infringement on their territory through a blockade or through theforced inspection of their ships to be an act of war.An International Peace Highway between the United States and Russia andbetween Korea and Japan would facilitate communication and exchangebetween former enemy nations and thus help to maintain a stable peace in thecase of Russia and the United States or help to prevent the unstable peacebetween North Korea and Japan from deteriorating into what Lund identifiesas a "crisis" or even "war."There are numerous reasons why it would be in the interest of disputingnations to explore the building of highway that would connect them. In recentyears, the value of Track II diplomacy[14] has become increasingly apparent.Track I diplomacy consists of official envoys coming together to represent thestudied diplomatic positions of their respective countries. Track II diplomacyis unofficial and "off the record." It can often be merely an exchange ofprivate citizens. In such a case, there are far more opportunities for a "sharingof hearts" and for frank and open discussion. Highways and bridges increasethe flow of people from divergent countries and create venues for exchangesof ideas.
  • 12. Fostering a Shared Vision of One WorldNormally a shared value system can contribute to the realization of a majorproject when it involves one or more countries. In the case of the PeaceBridge connecting Buffalo, NY and Fort Erie, Ontario that we have alreadymentioned, one notes that the Buffalo Post editorial that we have cited pointsto a commonality based on the shared Anglo-Saxon heritage of Canada andthe United States that was still manifest at the beginning of the Twentiethcentury. In the case of the Chunnel connecting the United Kingdom and theEuropean mainland, it was the increasing appreciation of a shared Europeanheritage and a shared democratic vision that could foment the desire tosolidify the ties between the British Isles and the European mainland throughthe construction of the Chunnel.What is the unifying vision that lies at the root of the International PeaceHighway? Rev. Moon has called upon the United States (and other nations) togo beyond its commitment to "One Nation under God," and to join him inaspiring to what he has described as "One World under God."[15] Theemergence of the European Union and the creation of the South AmericanCommon Market (MERCOSUR) and the North American Free TradeAgreement (NAFTA) as well as the strengthening of other regional customsunions and other institutions promoting economic cooperation including theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific EconomicCooperation (APEC), the African Union (AU) and the World TradeOrganization (WTO) itself all point to a trend towards further cooperationwithin the world community of nations. The enhanced role of the UnitedNations and the growth of international non-governmental organizations(INGOs) in recent years also resonate with a growing proclivity, especially inthe economic sector, toward international cooperation.Specific Sociopolitical BenefitsAlthough the increase in trade and commerce that would result from such ahighway may seem self-evident[16], it is also true that the proposed highwaycould have important geopolitical implications. The United States couldsupport Russia in its efforts at modernizing its modes of governance and
  • 13. commerce. It could also help Russia to fulfill her role as a bridge betweenAsia and Europe.[17]NAFTA Membership for Russia?Furthermore, if a bridge were actually built between the United States andRussia, the two nations would share a common border for the first time.Perhaps the existence of a bridge, i.e., a concrete border between Russia andthe United States, could even provide the rationale for the United States,Canada, and Mexico to view Russia as a partner in the North American FreeTrade Agreement. This could help to address the ill feeling perpetrated byRussia being isolated from NATO. It could contribute to the strengthening andthe diversification of the Russian economy. It could also contribute to Rev.Moons call in 1990 for Russia to build an alliance and partnership with theUnited States rather than doing so with in a way that would have WesternEurope as Russias major partner.Russia as a Mediator for the United States in the Middle East?A partnership with Russia would also have important strategic implicationsfor the United States. For example, Russia could assist the United States inestablishing constructive dialogue with the Muslim world. The United Stateshas extremely complicated relations with countries such as Iran and Syria. In1979 at the time that supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini took over the U.S.Embassy in Teheran, the United States called for an economic blockade ofIran. The Soviet Union defended Iran in the Security Council. Iran hasbecome reliant on the Soviet Union as an ally over the years, as has Syria.Russia has a political influence on Iran and on Syria that could be very helpfulin "mending bridges" and in mollifying the problems that have long existedbetween the United States and the Islamic world.Korea as a Mediator between China and JapanThe building of the Tunnel system between Korea and Japan could help Japanin resolving the deep-rooted animosity that has existed between China andJapan since the conclusion of the Second World War. By demonstrating acommitment to partnership with Korea as has not been seen in the past, it
  • 14. would go far to allaying Chinas deep suspicions of Japan. These have beenreinforced because of the fact that Korea has shared the same types ofreservations toward Japan. The building of the tunnel between Japan andKorea would make a powerful statement about the need for China to reassessits relationship with Japan, just as Korea would clearly be doing through theTunnel project. Korea could play an important leadership role in helping tofacilitate this dialogue.Role of Religious LeadersReligious leaders can provide important guidance to political and civic leadersand also motivate the public for peaceful and constructive change. Many ofthe dramatic positive changes of the twentieth century happened because ofbold initiatives by religious leaders. This included the movement ofnon-violence (Ahimsa) led by Mohandas Gandhi that liberated the Indiansubcontinent after a long period of British domination. Likewise, Dr. MartinLuther Kings religious convictions led him to a path of non-violent resistanceand constructive engagement which ended segregation in the United States.Religious leaders committed to non-violence also brought an end to thedictatorship of Filipino leader Ferdinand Marcos. Each of the aforementionedinitiatives required not only prayer and meditation but significant financialsupport and civic involvement. Dr. Martin Luther King frequently traveled tothe Northeast United States[18] to solicit financial support for the Civil RightsMovement. Religious leaders can stir hearts and also inspire others to generatethe concrete measures and resources needed for dramatic change.Religious leaders have at times gathered to pray for peace or to address socialinjustices. Could religious leaders appreciate the vision of an internationalhighway system? Could they appreciate the appropriateness of building aninexpensive transport system that would enable the international communityto reach areas of the world affected by epidemics, famine and naturaldisasters? Could they be inspired and inspire others by the vision of a worldwhere former enemies become partners in building peace and prosperity?Why not host convocations that invite religious leaders to join together forspiritual reflection and prayer with a focus being the realization of anInternational Peace Highway to bind humanity together? If such convocationswere held regularly, in time they could perhaps inspire the worlds religions,
  • 15. as representatives of international civil society, to play a key role in winningsupport for the project from the media and from key political and economicinstitutions.ConclusionIn this paper we have tried to outline the symbolism behind the InternationalPeace Highway, some historical precedents and the inherent benefits of suchan initiative. It could go a long way in addressing the deep-rooted animositiesbetween the United States and Russia and between Korea, Japan and China.Robert F. Kennedy liked to say, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw: "Somemen see things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that neverwere, and ask why not?" Reverend Sun Myung Moon is a man who,throughout his life, has labored and dared to dream and ask, "Why not?" Hislife of sacrifice allowed him to dream big dreams and, through them, striveonward for the liberation of humankind and the liberation of God.Some day in the not too distant future Russians and Americans will shakehands and laugh in the cold Arctic air, and Japanese and Koreans will sharebulgogi, sushi and kimchi at the completion of the Kyushu-Busan Tunnel. TheInternational Peace Highway will allow all of us to feel part of one family.When such things come to pass, the world may finally learn more about thework of a still misunderstood individual who, throughout his life, dared todream and say, "Why not?"