Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, shared his thoughts yesterday on the challenges facing the Obama administration. In the course of his cogent analysis – which wove together economic, political, and cultural factors that affect US interests around the world – Scowcroft frequently returned to and acknowledged the role of religion. He framed it as part of the complexity facing diplomats working in an increasingly globalized world.
As Tanenbaum and its Peacemakers in Action have shown, religion can be a tool for promoting peace and security. However, it will be difficult to broadly promote the work of religiously-motivated peacemakers if religion is left outside of the diplomatic purview. Other former government officials call more pointedly for a religious perspective to foreign policy (Madeleine Albright and Doug Johnston come to mind), however, we are glad that Mr. Scowcroft recognizes religion as an important element in dealing with global conflict. His voice lends even greater credibility to the idea of addressing religion thoughtfully and intentionally. We hope this becomes a trend that strengthens and grows within the diplomatic community.