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

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy