Q: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is recommending that the U.S. government develop a strategy to make religion ‘integral’ to American foreign policy. Should U.S. foreign policy get religion?
One of the truisms I learned in college was that nations have interests. So do religions. Sometimes those interests are mutually exclusive. In most cases, religious interests focus on a “kingdom not of this world,” to invoke a biblical analogy. But one — Islam — has an interest here on earth and large numbers of adherents to that faith believe not only that they have the only truth — a characteristic found in most religions — but that they have been ordered by Allah to impose it by force on everyone else. This imposition also includes the taking of land that can spread the Islamic kingdom on earth. This is not bigotry. This is fact as stated in the sermons of their imams and the media in many Islamic countries.
Any diplomatic “outreach” must understand this truth. It must also include at least some common principles in order for that outreach to produce objectives in the best interests of the nations involved, most especially the United States. The stated objective of the radical Islamists is to destroy America and impose Sharia law. It is hard to find common ground with such belief. Do we agree to less destruction if they will leave us alone? What more is there to understand about “you are infidels and deserving of death”? There doesn’t appear to be any diplomatic wiggle-room there.
Islam makes no accommodation for those of other faiths, or no faith, as America does. Name an Islamic country where Jews, Christians, Hindus, Baha’is, converts from Islam (a condition deserving of death, they say) and atheists can co-exist under the protection of their governments. That happens best only in America. Why would we be willing to discuss or negotiate away one of our most cherished rights for the sake of some elusive foreign policy objective.? Do we think that by sitting down with such people they will recognize Israel and come to like Jews? Do we imagine that through diplomacy they will cease characterizing Christians as “cross-worshippers”?
I am all for talking to adversaries so long as there is a likelihood such talks will serve American interests and not just make certain people “feel better.” It is when feelings are paramount and not hard-headed reality that America runs the risk of having her pocket picked and her interests damaged.