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Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik 1st Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195367935
ISBN-10: 0195367936
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Some have concluded that religion plays the devil in its contribution to conflict in different parts of the world. This study, however, shows how religious men and women of conflicting traditions can expel that devil. Rajmohan Gandhi In a world that is burdened by an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, deadly conflicts of identity, permeable international borders, weapons of mass distruction, and sucidal terrorism, Faith-Based Diplomacy is a compelling and intellectually sound piece of work that bravely points the way toward a more promising future. Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Former US National Security Adviser

About the Author

Douglas Johnston is the President and Founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. Prior to that, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He has served at senior levels in government, the military, and in the private sector, including Harvard University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195367936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195367935
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let's start with the award. I was so impressed with this book that it received one of the ten Golden Candle Awards for most constructive and innovative work in the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) field. It represents the second book in a body of work that may eventually be worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. The citation reads:
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.
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By A Customer on March 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Faith-based Diplomacy, Trumping Realpolitik offers a fresh perspective on how to deal with religious militancy. It goes beyond traditional notions of power politics to get at the heart and soul of how to deal with religious terrorism, thus superseding in effectiveness Washington-centric notions of guns and missiles. The creativity of the authors offers much grist for policymakers to "think outside the box" of how traditional power politics are conducted and offers new insights into the process of conflict transformation. A very interesting, insightful, and helpful book for the politician, religious leader and educated layperson.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the high notes, this book takes a good look at the background to a few religiously loaded conflicts: Palestine, Kashmir, Sri Lanka. Religion has not been taken seriously, especially by those who think religion is foolish and would rather sweep it under the rug in favor of 'extremist' language.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The positions within are based on presuppositions that depend on the "evolution" of religion and "experience" over "text." To think that the players in the world of religious conflict in Sudan, Nigeria, Ukraine and Syria would benefit from these arguments is naive. With all the best liberal intentions these authors have tried to offer and alternative to the status quo. Their arguments fall short and events since the release of this book point to its irrelevance. To expect fighters to water down their beliefs ignores the fundamental issues altogether.
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Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik
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