Religion

The essay on “Public Diplomacy in an Age of Faith.” has similar weaknesses. It is much too presumptuous that religion carries the answer to democracy and wealth (among other presumptions). The authors state that “A more expansive religious freedom agenda should seek to promote regimes that consistently apply religious liberty tenets rooted in constitutional government” (emphasis added). There are two major developments left out of the authors’ arguments. First are the evangelical right wing Christian organizations in the U.S. that support Israel and that tend to deny religious liberty to others, especially Islam and those that do not hold any belief.

Secondly — and this a major problem — is Israel. This “Jewish and democratic state” that is yet to exist within defined boundaries and occupies most of Palestine, is neither democratic (yes it has the institutions, but it does not have the laws or the rationale) nor is it a constitutional government. Without discussing this issue, in light of events in the Middle East, without discussing the power of the AIPAC lobby, without discussing the huge amount of aid, much of it military, and support, much of it military, given to Israel, then any arguments about liberty and constitutional governments becomes worthless.

To make it more worthless, the author’s conflate through statistical co-relations the idea that religious practice promotes economic growth and development. Certainly the first world countries have a good degree of religious freedom, but cause and effect are certainly not defined but assumed and implied in this argument. One could also co-relate science and technology with economic growth and development and have a far stronger case for proving it.

Again, there is a significant difference between a co-relation and a cause and effect relationship — it’s like saying because trees sway and bend in the wind that swaying and bending trees cause the wind. It is the obverse with the wind — the wind causes the swaying and bending — as it probably is with society; development and economic growth promote religious freedom, although even that is arguable, as it is more than likely that a true democracy with well-developed judiciary and other social systems will cause — or allow — the occurrence of religious freedom.

The authors’ final statement leads back to Israel and a constitutional government, “The [U.S.] needs an overarching policy that communicates a consistent message about the importance of religion and religious liberty in a constitutional order.” That will be seen when Palestine and Israel come to grips with each other, when the “crusade” in the Middle East “war on terror” is finished, when AIPAC no longer drives the U.S. Congress, when the U.S. stops profiling those of Islamic and Arabic descent. A very tall order.

The military

This essay, “The U.S. Military and Public Diplomacy,” comprises nothing more than a huge extended oxymoron and is not really worth any deconstruction. Just one line of arrogance, nay, ignorance, to highlight that: “Public diplomacy is too important to be left entirely to civilian agencies, particularly as the actions of the U.S. military critically affect the way other countries and their citizens view the United States.”

This statement in particular dumbfounds me. It is so…oblivious…?…to the actions that the rest of the world detests that it simply does not make any kind of sense, unless…here I go again….viewed through lenses clouded with arrogance and ignorance.

Four words

So there, four words to describe this book – arrogant, ignorant, image, FAIL. It would certainly make my critique shorter if that was all I wrote, but my pen ran over in disgust.