Liberty and Power

Liberty and Power: A Dialogue on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy in an Unjust World

J. Bryan Hehir
Michael Walzer
Louise Richardson
Shibley Telhami
Charles Krauthammer
James Lindsay
E.J. DIONNE
JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN
KAYLA DROGOSZ
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 136
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1287bn4
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  • Book Info
    Liberty and Power
    Book Description:

    What role should religion play in shaping and implementing U.S. foreign policy?

    The dominant attitude over the last half century on the subject of religion and international relations was expressed well by Dean Acheson, Harry Truman's secretary of state: "Moral Talk was fine preaching for the Final Day of Judgment, but it was not a view I would entertain as a public servant." Was Acheson right? How a nation "commits itself to freedom" has long been at the heart of debates about foreign aid, economic sanctions, and military intervention. Moral and faith traditions have much to say about what is required to achieve this end. And after September 11, no one can doubt the importance of religious beliefs in influencing relations among peoples and nations. The contributors to this volume come at the issue from very different perspectives and offer exceptional and unexpected insights on a question now at the forefront of American foreign policy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9664-0
    Subjects: Religion, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-x)
    Strobe Talbott

    From the founding fathers on, many Americans have thought of themselves as citizens of a Christian nation. But the United States has always been a melting pot society; the “pluribus” in its motto includes religious diversity, and its Constitution insists on the separation of church and state. In the 1950s Will Herberg titled his classicProtestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology, which laid much of the intellectual groundwork for the introduction of the “civil religion” thesis a decade later. If updated today, it would have to be calledProtestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh. And that would not...

  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. THE PARADOXES OF RELIGION AND FOREIGN POLICY: AN INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)
    E.J. DIONNE JR., KAYLA M. DROGOSZ and JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN

    Bringing religion into international relations scares people, especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It also seems a new departure, even if it is not. As J. Bryan Hehir notes in his pathbreaking essay in these pages, the dominant attitude over the last half century on the subject was expressed well by Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s secretary of state. “Moral Talk was fine preaching for the Final Day of Judgment,” Acheson said, “but it was not a view I would entertain as a public servant.”

    A lot of public servants and foreign policy analysts feel that way. As Louise...

  6. RELIGION, REALISM, AND JUST INTERVENTION
    (pp. 11-33)
    J. BRYAN HEHIR

    Even thirty years ago the topic “faith, morals, and public policy” would not have been a normal topic for reflection among both foreign policy elites and the general public. Certainly, one could explore, at any moment in the history of the republic, the relationship of faith and politics, religion, and public policy, but discussion would have occurred under religious auspices or in certain academic centers, not in a premier Washington think tank.

    For most of the past fifty years the dominant attitude, expressed in Dean Acheson’s words, might have been “Moral Talk was fine preaching for the Final Day of...

  7. CAN THERE BE A MORAL FOREIGN POLICY?
    (pp. 34-52)
    MICHAEL WALZER

    When i saw the topic originally proposed for this discussion, “faith, morals, and foreign policy,” I decided immediately that I would talk mostly about morals, not about faith, which is perhaps a Jewish strategy for dealing with these matters.

    Faith has never played the role in Judaism that it plays in Christianity. But for Jews and Christians alike, and for just about everyone else too, religion has been a powerful force in shaping moral ideas and values, not only generally but also with specific reference to politics and war. For reasons that I describe below, these ideas about morality don’t...

  8. FIGHTING AGAINST TERRORISM AND FOR JUSTICE
    (pp. 53-70)
    LOUISE RICHARDSON

    If there is an academic equivalent of bringing coals to Newcastle, then commenting on the words of Bryan Hehir and Michael Walzer on faith, morals, and foreign policy must be it. Few people have spoken with such care, erudition, and insight on this subject. I cannot resist the feeling that if only our foreign policy were in their hands, and the hands of people like them, then the world would be a better and an altogether safer place for all of us.

    I come to this subject less as a moral thinker and more as someone who thinks about the...

  9. BETWEEN FAITH AND ETHICS
    (pp. 71-94)
    SHIBLEY TELHAMI

    In this chapter, I address four related issues: the role of religion in world politics and in American foreign policy, the sources of political power of religious groups and organizations, the relations between religious and ethical beliefs and foreign policy, and the relationship between the ethical and the religious. I end by drawing specific conclusions about American foreign policy.

    In the discourse about religion and politics, there is often a lack of differentiation between the role of religious ideas and the role of religious organizations. Although ideas often have an impact on political debates and policies, it is clear, as...

  10. WHEN UNILATERALISM IS RIGHT AND JUST
    (pp. 95-99)
    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

    The editors of this volume asked: can religious convictions guide a moral foreign policy? Do they lead to fanaticism? I am not sure that question has any kind of answer. A Bible group I am in has just now reached II Kings. I can assure you that my first travel through Joshua was a revelation. For a book with a reputation of speaking to the deepest moral senses of humanity, Joshua is knee-deep in blood. I am sure one can find any message one seeks in the Bible, depending on where one looks.

    An even more remarkable example, of course,...

  11. “MORALITY IS REALLY HARD”
    (pp. 100-106)
    JAMES LINDSAY

    Bryan hehir made a point in chapter 1 worth stressing: religion is taking on increasing salience in world politics. If anything, Hehir underplayed how important this development is and how much it could complicate international relations in the future. Charles Krauthammer rightly pointed out that religious traditions are diverse. Different trends, strains, groups, and communities exist even within an individual religion. This diversity creates opportunities for division and conflict, especially in a globalizing world that is bringing people into closer contact.

    The increased salience of religion is crucial because international disputes are hard enough to manage and resolve when they...

  12. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 107-110)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 111-119)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 120-120)