Russian writer Ilya Ehrenburg wrote, “If the whole world were to be covered with asphalt, one day a crack would appear in that asphalt; and in that crack, grass would grow.”
Ehrenburg was not thinking about asphalt. He wasn’t even thinking about grass. He was thinking of the indomitable human spirit yearning to breath free — and he refused to be silent.
In August 1980, Lynne and I were visiting friends in Paris. After one week in France, we were scheduled to fly from Paris to London but our flight was cancelled.
An unemployed shipyard electrician in Gdansk, Poland, had struck a crushing blow in the asphalt of communist oppression, and all flights across the European continent were cancelled.
Image source: CNN
Poland suffered for decades under the heavy fisted rule of Soviet dictators. It rose up against it in 1968, but the Western world was silent and the uprising was crushed by Soviet tanks.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once famously said that weakness is provocative. So, too, is silence.
It was that August of 1980 when, having suffered a lifetime of indignities under communist rule, Lech Walesa decided to take his faith in the worth of the individual from the pews of his Catholic Church to the shipyards of Gdansk.
Inspired by Pope John Paul II, the most potent moral force of the 20th century, and encouraged by the powerful voices for freedom of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Walesa determined that the brutal dictators may take his job, but they couldn’t take his spirit.
The shipyard strike of Aug. 14 became the Solidarity movement one month later.
What began as a trade union strike in Gdansk became a yawning chasm in the asphalt of brutal rule that freed half a continent and took down the Berlin Wall.
And it all began in the pews of a faith that is entirely predicated on the worth of the individual soul.
A religious faith is moving the world again. This faith has no interest in the individual soul, or even the individual. It is a faith that demands total obeisance to its cruel, lecherous, murderous and self-aggrandizing rulers. And it has opened the door for communist power to raise its ugly head once again.
The killing field of the Levant is inviting Russia, with its modern and efficient killing machines, to expand its power and hegemony.
This is not a propitious time for a world yearning to breath free.
In 2009, when the Green Movement rose up in protest against a corrupt election in Iran, what they heard from the West was — silence.
Syria, once a welcoming home to Christians, is now a ravaged nation divided between a tyrant holding onto power by killing his citizens and an invading army of zealots gaining power by beheading and crucifying Christians.
The Western voices of freedom, which so inspired the world only 35 years ago, are conspicuously silent.
Putin’s move into Syria has been met with curiosity over who will be the next to be bombed, but as to his ultimate goal — silence.
Russia’s economy is crumbling due to crashing oil prices. Most of Putin’s problems could be fixed with more oil.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Maxim Shipenkov/AFP/Getty Images)
Putin will make quick work of Assad’s amateur opposition and his 150,000 Special Forces will then crush the Sunni Islamic State on behalf of his Shiite ally, Iran.
From Beirut through Damascus and Baghdad to Tehran, the arc over the Levant will be complete and the focus will turn to the world’s largest oil field. The tanks will head south.
Saudi Arabia, which has spent much of the past 60 years paying off its problems, will be isolated and unable to defend its vast oil reserves.
The King of Saudi Arabia and its 6,000 Princes and their families will decamp to Switzerland to get reacquainted with their fortunes and the people of that once nomadic nation will return to their tents, their camels, their goats and Shariah law.
In just four years, from our withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in December 2011 through our capitulation to the coming Russian-Iranian control of the Levant in December 2015, President Obama will not only have transformed America, he will have transformed the world.
Putin will not need to invade the Baltic States, Eastern Europe or even Ukraine. So long as the American Left controls our energy policy and refuses to allow its export, the entire European continent will be forced to genuflect before communist Russia and fundamentalist Iran for its energy.
And the pews in the Christian churches across Europe and Asia, once the redoubt of humble souls praying for their salvation, will be demolished and gone.
And President Obama will remain — silent.