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Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
To Dr. Douglas M. Johnston, president and founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, for his path-finding efforts with regard to Preventive Diplomacy as well as Religion and Conflict Resolution. Among his many works, two stand out for defining a critical missing element in modern diplomacy: Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft (Oxford University Press, 1994), and Faith-based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik (Oxford University Press, 2003). He has restored the proper meaning of faith qua earnestness instead of faith qua zealotry, and this is a contribution of great importance.
With a foreword by no less than The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton, today a leader of the 9-11 Commission, the book drives a stake in the heart of secular "objective" negotiation and focuses on how faith (not zealotry, but earnest faith) can alter the spiral of violence in such places as Sudan, Kashmir, and the Middle East.
The editor and contributing author has assembled a multi-national and multi-religion cast of experts whose work in the aggregate completely supports the premise of the book: that the 21st Century will be about religion instead of ideology, and that what hopes we might have for reconciling "irreconcilable differences" lie in the balanced integration of religious dialog and conflict prevention, rather than in pre-emptive military action and unilateralist bullying.Read more ›
Interestingly, Sri Lanka has since died down, not due to religious negotiation but the death of a leader; realism again gets the spotlight. But did it have to be that way?
The basic idea of studying and understanding religion in Foreign policy is sound. Foreign policy has not dealt very well with religion and this is understandable considering the cultural, American value of religion and state separation.
This book does well in saying that religion cannot be ignored and cannot just be regarded as 'foolish' or even misinterpreted by its users. It must be respected according to the interpretations of its sects. On the other hand, this book seems to advocate that the solution to conflict is to support the middle ground, the watered down, syncretic, non-orthodox version of all faiths.
There is a problem with this notion. To rally for the 'sufi' or 'universal' equivalent of faiths within a conflict is to reject the sacred scriptures in many cases. Indeed, in the end, the authors call for a re-interpretation of Shar'ia in order to make it more accommodating. It's hard to find a solution using religion without compromising theology from any orthodoxy.