Donate

The American Civil Religion, and the Dangers That Would Follow Its Demise

Revisiting his 2004 essay “The Soul of a Nation,” Wilfred McClay describes the importance of civil religion—from holidays like Thanksgiving, to such symbols as the flag, to the sense of a unique American mission—in the life of the United States. He explores American civil religion’s origins in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and New England Puritan thinkers, its roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition, its relevance in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and his fear that it is disintegrating in the face of deep political and cultural divisions. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 46 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)

Read more at Tikvah

More about: 9/11, Civil religion, Religion & Holidays, Religion and politics, U.S history, U.S. Politics

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.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy