Communism’s Challenge to the West
“IF PRESENT trends continue, the United States, a very few years hence, will find itself clearly in second position—with the Soviet Union indisputably the greatest power on earth.”
Those words were not the boasts of a Russian politician. They were uttered by United States President Richard Nixon to legislative leaders in 1970.
Has the world’s balance of power really begun to turn? In particular, is Russia beginning to overtake the United States? What is going on in the struggle for global supremacy? How will it all end?
Communism’s Stated Goal
Although there are strong differences of opinion among the various Communist nations, they agree on one thing. They all would like to see the end of American power. Their ultimate goal is to see Communism triumph throughout the world.
That goal of world domination has long been championed by leading Communist personalities. Karl Marx, the ‘father’ of modern Communism, predicted the decline of capitalist, or Western, society. Friedrich Engels, V. I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin and other Communist leaders have said the same.
Nikita Khrushchev warned, ‘We’ll bury you.’ China’s Mao Tse-tung said: “The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system . . . sooner or later revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph.” Lin Piao, Mao’s heir apparent, stated: “Imperialism is headed for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world-wide victory.”
What progress has Communism made toward this stated goal of world domination? In 1848, when Marx and Engels issued the Communist Manifesto outlining their ideas, Communism controlled no part of the earth. Today it controls about one third of the earth’s population, well over one thousand million persons. Now much of the landmass in Europe and Asia is under Communist rule. Hence, World Book Encyclopedia of 1970 declares: “Communism has become one of the most powerful forces in the world.”
True, Communism is not the monolith it once seemed to be. Not all the Communist nations embrace Russian-style Communism. Each appears to be adapting Communism to its own needs, so that what prevails in these lands is a kind of nationalistic Communism. However, as Professor Leonard Schapiro of London said: “In the last resort every Communist party will side with the Soviet Union against the United States.”
Balance of Power Shifting?
For many decades, the United States, allied with Great Britain, has been the most powerful political combine in the world. Is that now changing in favor of Communism, particularly Russia?
Some point to the date 1962 as being crucial in this matter. Why 1962? In that year the United States forced Russia to withdraw the nuclear missiles it had placed in Cuba. This represented a humiliating retreat for the Soviet Union. But at that time, Russian negotiator Vasily Kuznetsov is reported to have said to his American counterpart: “This is the last time you Americans will be able to do this to us.”
Of that remark writer Charles J. Murphy commented: “Clearly, despite the circumstances, this was a cold threat: At the next showdown, it would not be the Soviet Union that would buckle for want of the strategic military advantage. That ominous danger is now rapidly materializing around us. In the aftermath of the Cuban miscarriage, Soviet planners made a crucial decision: to strike out for military superiority on earth. And, in the years since, Soviet military technology has exploded.”
With what result? On March 1, 1971, the chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas Moorer, said: “I believe it is fair to say that the over-all strategic balance, during the last five or six years, has shifted drastically in favor of the Soviet Union.”
Political commentator Stewart Alsop, writing in Newsweek, observed: “The Soviet Union has been behaving, in fact, as though the true balance of power has shifted sharply in its favor. And that is, of course, precisely what has happened.”
Even allowing for propaganda on the part of those who have vested interests in promoting arms sales, it does appear that the evidence supports these assessments. This does not mean that Russia has replaced the United States in overall might. But the huge United States lead in strategic power has indeed disappeared.
The evidence that analysts point to is the converging of several major trends. Among those usually listed are the following:
(1) The Soviet Union has passed the United States in the number of intercontinental missiles it has. Its lead is already wide and continues to grow, while the United States has been satisfied to maintain its present number, though seeking to improve their efficiency and destructive power.
(2) The overall land, air and naval forces of the Soviet Union and its allies have grown to a point that Western observers refer to as “flood tide.”
(3) The Soviet commitment in manpower, material, money and production to the quantity and quality of weapons is growing, while America’s remains nearly static.
(4) The trend in a number of other countries is toward ‘leftist’ type governments which are more friendly to Communist nations.
(5) There is a mounting hostility by ever larger segments of the American public toward involvement in foreign wars, and toward the ‘military-industrial’ complex in the United States.
Nuclear Striking Power
Of these trends, which one most clearly represents a shift in strategic power? It is the huge and growing force of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s) armed with nuclear warheads.
The New York Times reports: “The number of operational Soviet intercontinental missiles is expected to reach 1,500 by mid-year , compared with 1,054 American missiles.” Defense Secretary Melvin Laird warned: “This force, alone, would be more than enough to destroy all U.S. cities of any substantial size.”
In this arsenal, Russia has a giant missile called the SS-9, for which America has no counterpart. The SS-9 carries a load of 25 megatons, an explosive force equal to 25 million tons of TNT. That is well over a thousand times the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
The number of SS-9’s is believed to be about 300 now, and of them U.S. News & World Report states: “The Soviet SS-9 ICBM force alone is capable of delivering a megatonnage of nuclear warheads several times greater than that of the entire U.S. force of ICBM’s and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.”
To try to counter this threat, the United States, while not adding to the total number of its missiles, has begun placing multiple warheads on their land and submarine-launched missiles. But, of course, the Russians can do the same, although how far they have progressed in this direction is not precisely known. In any event, it is conceded that they have the technical ability to do so if they desire.
Growing Power Elsewhere
Soviet power is also growing in other areas. The editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships says: “While the U.S.A. has been severely reducing her navy . . . the expansion of Soviet Maritime power . . . looks like [it is] rising to a flood tide in the 1970s.”
Many authorities picture the balance of naval forces, exclusive of the merchant marine, generally as follows:
United States Soviet Union
Combat ships 390 550
Auxiliary ships 290 1,900
Among these ships the United States has about fourteen aircraft carriers. The Russians have none, except for helicopter carriers. On the other hand, Russia has from 360 to 380 submarines, compared to 141 for the United States. In this force, America has forty-one submarines capable of launching sixteen nuclear missiles each. Russia is said to have more than thirty of such submarines completed or being built, with no letup in sight. At the present time America has no announced plans for expanding its missile submarine force.
Also, about half the ships in the American navy are twenty years old or older, while only 1 percent of the Soviet fleet is said to be that old. Thus, modern Russian fleets are now prowling all the world’s oceans and vital sea-lanes as never before in history.
These Russian naval forces are being joined by a vastly expanded merchant marine that the Soviets are building at a rapid rate. It is now the world’s sixth-largest and is ultramodern, about 75 percent having been built since 1962. America’s merchant marine, larger at present, is shrinking year by year, and many of its ships are very old. A large number of them date from World War II and are not in active service, but are tied up in rivers and bays, a rusting reserve fleet of doubtful value.
The already huge land forces of Russia continue to grow in power. According to some predictions, by 1975 the Soviet Union will have three times the number of tanks the United States has, and more than twice as many as the United States and all its European allies put together.
Russia’s air force is already larger now and that gap is expected to grow in the years ahead. Some experts also claim it would take six to ten years for the United States to match Russian air defenses even if the effort were made.
In Europe, Russia has formed the Communist alliance known as the Warsaw Pact. It includes Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia. American General Andrew Goodpaster, commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, says that the Warsaw Pact has massed together “a concentration of military power that exceeds anything the world has ever seen.”
Yet, this does not include other Communist countries such as China. While comparatively weak at this point, China has huge reserves of manpower. Its growing military arsenal includes nuclear weapons and missiles that have already launched earth satellites.
Thus, the single-minded purpose of Communist nations to attain military superiority has produced results very unfavorable to the West. This comes at the very time that America’s social and economic difficulties hinder her from spending more money on military budgets.
Industry and Agriculture
The United States is the world’s leading industrial power. But this lead is also being challenged by the Soviet Union, particularly in vital areas.
Note the 1970 production of some key heavy industrial items that have much to do with the sinews of military power. The figures, in round numbers, are in millions of short tons:
United States Soviet Union
Cement 73 105
Coal 590 688
Iron Ore 96 195
Oil 522 389
Steel 131 128
Of course, the overall production of consumer goods is much higher in the United States. But one reason why is shown by U.S. News & World Report: “While investing barely enough in the consumer field to keep the standard of living rising inch by inch, the Kremlin is diverting everything else into military and military-related production.”
In agriculture, the United States has long been viewed as the “bread-basket” of the world. Especially in corn does it out-produce Russia by a wide margin. But note other basic commodities for the 1968-69 crop year, expressed to the nearest million metric tons:
United States Soviet Union
Barley 9 22
Potatoes 13 102
Rye 0.6 13
Wheat 43 79
Thus, the overall challenge of Communism in military might, as well as industrial and agricultural production, grows. It is causing great anxiety in the West.
How Will It End?
Of vital concern is how this struggle for world domination will end. Some say that Communism’s growing power will make her more aggressive, and that more nations will turn toward the ‘left’ as the trend seems to indicate. For example, writing in Newsweek, Henry Wallich said: “Unless the trend somehow is changed, the United States within the lifetime of many of us may confront a Communist Latin America.”
But does this mean that Communism’s challenge to the West will be successful, leading to world supremacy? Humans cannot foretell the future with accuracy. But the Bible does. Do its prophecies actually shed light on this modern struggle for world domination and its outcome? Consider the evidence.
The eleventh chapter of the book of Daniel prophetically describes a struggle between two opposing powers: “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” True, the prophecy’s starting point is in ancient times (Dan. 11:1-5), but its description of the surging back and forth of such opposing powers extends all the way down through history to the “time of the end.” (Dan. 11:35, 40) Note, please, the scene presented at the close of the prophecy and compare it with the modern situation reviewed in this article.
In this final period, Daniel’s prophecy describes the symbolic “king of the north” as demoting or downgrading all older forms of worship, even speaking against the “God of gods.” This “king” exalts himself and gives glory to “the god of fortresses . . . a god that his fathers did not know,” using gold, silver and other precious things to do so.—Dan. 11:36-39.
Ask yourself, do we see an outstanding world power today that is doing this? Is it not true that world Communism, particularly in the Soviet Union, has relegated existing religious worship to a very inferior position, giving glory instead to modern scientific militarism, a “god of fortresses”? Has it not done this at a cost of vast amounts of wealth?
But this is not all. The prophecy further foretells a pushing between the two kings that provokes the “king of the north” to ‘storm with military equipment and many ships and enter into the lands and flood over,’ thereby gaining control of great treasures and having many lands under his influence.—Dan. 11:40-43.
Again, have we not seen, particularly since World War II, a fierce competition between the dominant world power, the United States (with Great Britain as its closest ally), and the next most powerful force, the Soviet Union, with world domination as their aim? Have we not seen the Communist combine’s military strength build up to what modern observers call a “flood tide”? And has this not brought remarkable expansion of Communist influence in more and more lands, to the jeopardy of the Western powers’ economic interests?
What of the final outcome? Does the prophecy say the “king of the north” will topple the “king of the south” from his dominant position? No, it says that the “king of the north” will ‘come to his end with no helper for him.’ Yet it does not say he is destroyed by his opponent, the “king of the south.” (Dan. 11:44, 45) What can this mean?
Other Bible prophecies reveal that this foretold “time of the end” is when all political nations, large and small, are due to meet up with a force far superior to their combined military might. That force is the power of God. It is expressed through God’s own Son, Christ Jesus, whom He appoints to bring all the nations to account for what they have done on earth. Yes, the book of Revelation completes the picture in Daniel’s prophecy by revealing that this appointed world ruler, Christ Jesus, will “strike the nations” and “shepherd them with a rod of iron.” By such destruction he will bring a complete end to the political struggle for world domination and all the economic oppression and bloodshed it has brought. What a blessed relief this will be for all those who now put trust, not in the military power of any nation, but in Christ’s righteous government, his kingdom!—Rev. 19:11-16.
[Picture on page 7]
It is estimated that Russia has 1,500 ICBM’s, compared with 1,054 in the American arsenal