The Russian Federation and the United States face an existential threat no less lethal than the two nations once faced from the Axis powers in World War II – a threat powered by an ideology that literally worships death, an ideology whose adherents literally love death more than the citizens of Russia and the United States love life itself. A threat consisting not of thousands or millions of those willing to die to bring about its final victory and domination over the world – but rather hundreds of millions.
This threat is not new. The first foreign war fought by the United States shortly after its founding was against just one element of this threat. One battle in that war is immortalized in the Marine Corps’ “Marines’ Hymn.”
For more than a millennium, raiding parties kidnapped women for polygamous marriages to support this enemy of civilization from as far north as Ireland and up the Volga River. The adherents of this ideology pirated ships and took American sailors as slaves, and invaded Slavic and Germanic lands several times. Even the Vatican was sacked to finance the terror of the onslaught of this ideology.
Today, this common enemy, believing that every word of a sixth-century warlord is the literal word of God, is massively armed with modern weapons of warfare. The bulk of these weapons are supplied by Western powers as were the cannons that brought down the walls of Constantinople in the 15th century.
During the last century, this threat has entered a new phase as civilians in Russia and the United States are slaughtered in sophisticated acts of terror including bombings of trains, planes, apartment buildings, schools and public squares. Russian children were slaughtered at Beslan, and American kindergarteners killed at the World Trade Center.
Astonishingly, these two great nations, Russia and the United States, have addressed this modern existential threat by supplying even more weapons to various elements of it. As recently as 2012 the United States was training and arming “moderate” elements of what is now the Islamic State. As entire nations cease to exist and become havens for jihadist training – such as in the case of Libya – Russia and the United States focus their attention on defending their nations from each other.
As English and Russian speaking jihadists fighters behead young Christian boys, rape young Christian girls and use the heads of their victims as soccer balls, American spy planes and Russian Bear bombers test each other’s defenses.
Rather than stripping nuclear weapons from the dysfunctional Islamic government of Pakistan, which kills its Christian citizens for crimes of blasphemy against Islam, that nation receives even more American weapons, as Russia continues to arm Iran.
Let’s start with this one simple goal that both nations should be able to agree on – save the single most persecuted group of people in the world today – the Christians under Islamic rule.
Let’s start with compassion.
The Russian Federation can make a first move by opening its doors to some of the tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians whose homes and churches have been destroyed.
The first appearance of Jesus Christ after his Ascension was on the Road to Damascus. There he stopped Saul on his mission to Damascus to persecute and kill Christians.
America can also make a move to help the Christians of Syria by simply stopping the supply of weapons to the Saudi mercenaries who are using that same road Jesus stopped Saul on, to travel to Damascus to kill Christians.
The greatest common cause of Russia and the United States today, the greatest threat, the existential threat, is being ignored.
Yet, this existential threat cannot be whisked away with political correctness or by pretending that an ideology of hatred is peaceful.
This ideology gave the Christians of the Middle East who are fleeing the same three options it offers the Jews of Israel, the Christians of Russia and the secularists of the United States:
Convert, be enslaved or die.
But, for Russia and the United States there is still a fourth option that no longer exists for over one-third of the world – VICTORY.
That fourth choice cannot come about without true American and Russian mutual trust and cooperation.
Let’s at least examine that fourth choice before it is too late for civilization.
Note: William J. Murray is also the director of the Christmas for Refugees program, which provides Christmas dinners for Christian refugee children from Iraq and Syria each year. The program also supplies direct aid to Christian families year round.