When R.R. Reno—then a practicing Episcopalian and a student of theology—was told by his Jewish wife that she fully intended to raise their children as Jews, his first reaction was surprise. Eventually, his exposure to the lived experience of Judaism, from separating meat and milk to witnessing his son’s circumcision, impressed him deeply. Reno, who subsequently converted to Catholicism and is now one of America’s foremost Catholic intellectuals, reflected on his encounter with the Jewish religion in his 2007 essay “Faith in the Flesh,” which he revisits here in conversation with Jonathan Silver. (Audio, 43 minutes.)
A Christian Theologian’s Familial Encounter with Judaism
In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan
When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:
A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.
Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .
The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .
Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.