Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Religion and Foreign Policy

Wow. Different topic this time!

I went to a lecture by Jack Miles, a Pulitzer Prize winning author of "God, A Biography". He was hosted by ASU's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at the Old Main building this afternoon. Several hundred people in attendance as he spoke about some of the situations we are in globally and how some of our foreign policy leaders have no insight to some of the basic religious differences that exist in countries where we are trying to have an influence; in particular, the lack of basic historical knowledge and lack of understanding differences within the Islamic community (why are Shites and Sunni different) was astounding.

The biggest takeaway that I had was related to how we counter the growing fundamentalist threat (Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Jewish) is through openness not confrontation.

The author espoused the theory that relationships between countries that support freedom of religion will be resistant to warefare brought about by Al Qaeda type organizations. My analogy to this is how our current United States National Security policy is economic security (see: and that strong economic relationships with free market economies define a network of connected nations that will be resistant to warfare amongst themselves.

Throughout this country and many others, organizations are springing up with the sole intent of providing openness and a forum for discussion about religion and conflict. We've proven that conflict only yields eye for an eye. Maybe we should try this light and openness thing ...

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