ev. Sun Myung Moon’s philosophy centers on the renewal of peoples and their spiritual cultures. At one special conference, a major announcement was made regarding a massive project which he envisions as a way to unite the east and the west through a cultural and economic milestone: the building of the Bering Strait tunnel or bridge. To place this project into a better perspective and understand this unique vision, let us first look back to a few historical achievements:
In 214 BC, Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang was musing about joining the individual walls from the states of Yan and Zhao with his walls in the Qin state to keep his northern kingdom safe and stable from marauding Hun tribes, thus creating the Great Wall of China. And it was done.
In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary was asked why he wanted to conquer Mount Everest, and he said that although he did not know if it was humanly possible to reach the top, he wanted to do it because it was there. And it was done.
In 1987, standing before the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, U.S. President Ronald Reagan challenged the Soviet Union to tear down the wall that separated East and West Berlin so that both parts of the city could live together to promote openness and break down barriers. And it was done.
In 2005, Rev. Moon announced his vision for a physical union between North America and Russia, to finally join these great powers in the pursuit of peace and economic prosperity, breaking down the misunderstandings. He envisions building the connection because the gap is there—the Bering Strait. A connecting tunnel or bridge would maintain global stability and enhance the economies of contiguous countries as well as people’s personal wealth. The Bering Strait could be the last frontier to conquer. And it will be done.
This vision of Rev. Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, is a project whose time has come. It will bring about world peace, expose contiguous countries and peoples to each others’ cultures, and truly become the global connection between all peoples and cultures.
Rev. Moon’s vision first encompassed programs of peace education that focused on the individual and the society; then it expanded to the national and international levels. The dozens of organizations that he has founded have all been building blocks that have resulted in this final global connection.
A Bering Strait connection is not new. Natural forces created the Siberian-Alaskan land bridge in the Pleistocene Age about 40,000 to 13,000 years ago, during which the oceans and seas near the North Pole froze and the sea level descended about 300 feet. Thus, a natural migration path was exposed between Asia and the Americas, allowing plants, animals and people to travel eastward. Connecting the strait in this modern age is possible since it is about fifty-three miles wide and the water depth is at most only about 300 feet.
Rev. Moon traveled to Alaska and surmised that the Alaskan Railroad from Fairbanks could be extended to a little town on Cape Prince of Wales on the Bering Strait. The tunnel could proceed under the sea past Little Diomede Island (U.S.) to Big Diomede Island (Russia) and on to Naukan on the eastern cape of the Siberian peninsula. Another rail line could extend to the northern route of the Trans-Siberian Railroad and finally to the main route at Never near Skovorodino.
The tunnel is envisioned with two levels: the top level would contain a high-speed train for passenger service and car/truck transport, and the lower level would be used for the pipelines to transport oil and gas between Siberia and North America. Such an endeavor would boost construction and railroad transportation industries. Tunneling beneath the strait would cause minimal impact on the environment since it would restrict traffic to rail transport, avoid weather hazards, protect the habitat of large animals, and minimize any need for massive auto and tourist services. Trade between Europe, Asia and North America would increase exponentially. The vision is to bring together the economies and cultures and to develop the mechanisms for a better understanding between the contiguous industrial powers.
If a tunnel is not viable, then a bridge, about fifty-five miles in length, could link Alaska to Siberia. It would be the world’s longest bridge, with a two-lane open roadway for cars and trucks to use during the short Arctic summer, a middle level for high-speed trains, and a lower level for pipelines to transport oil and gas. It would need to withstand the icebergs and violent seas of an Arctic winter. As with a tunnel, trade between continents would greatly increase, with economies and cultures of contiguous countries tied together for an increased understanding and augmentation of wealth for all.
This monumental concept is not new to Rev. Moon. Since his boyhood in North Korea to his early ministries, from his incarcerations to his eloquence and generosity with his programs for peace, he has never shrunk from enabling his followers and listeners to follow the path of peace and learn to live for the sake of others. Some listeners firmly maintain their own religious or philosophic convictions. Various individuals whom I have met shared with me their reactions after hearing about Rev. Moon’s Bering Strait project.
On a plane trip from Los Angeles to Seoul to attend an interreligious conference, I was seated next to a young man fifteen years of age from the United States who was looking forward to living in Vladivostok, Russia for a year. His inspiration came from Rev. Moon. He felt that Rev. Moon is a visionary who lives and teaches his philosophy of a culture of peace where harmony exists among God, humankind and nature. After hearing of the Bering Strait project, he enthusiastically sensed that he and others his age would create tomorrow’s multicultural world and that it should be a culture of respect for each individual, based on the value of true love. Thus, he undertook this journey to Russia to learn about and value another culture, and perhaps prepare for the new tunnel or bridge.
In my reflection on Rev. Moon’s life, I recall Confucius explaining King Wu’s accomplishments: "He who is broad wins the multitude; he who keeps his word is trusted by the people; he who is diligent succeeds in all he undertakes; he who is just is the joy of the people."