I would like to propose – just for the sheer orneriness of it all – a preposterous foreign policy: a foreign policy based on Judeo-Christian values. Now, I know we are supposed “to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s,” but perhaps God might be pleased if Caesar rendered a little consideration to God.
Certainly, the conventional basis of foreign policy, “Do unto others before they do it to you,” doesn’t seem to work very well; that is, one war after another isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of a successful mode of operating. Now, admittedly, it’s hard to imagine effectively applying any ethical or Christian principles to stop a Hitler or a Milosevic. But, then, cozying up to and supporting folks like Pinochet and Pol Pot isn’t too effective, either.
So, how about this as a goal: to eliminate poverty and ignorance across the globe (it might be quaint to make it a domestic goal, as well). Jesus had a great deal to say about the evils of poverty, and it is fairly clear that poverty and privation are a major cause of terrorism. So instead of consistently supporting tyrants who exploit their own people, but who play an economically subservient role with the USA, why not support grassroots democracy across the globe, provide aid to poor countries in the form of health, education, culture, and economic opportunity? If the USA were perceived as part of the world’s solution to social injustice, instead of a major contributor, then perhaps we might be less susceptible to hatred and terrorism.
So why not lead the world in building hospitals and schools instead of building and selling arms?
Why not lead the world in the percent of GNP applied to foreign aid instead of being at the bottom of the industrial nations list?
Why not lead the world in exporting culture and the arts instead of junk food and plastics?
Why not provide economic opportunities for indigenous peoples, in South America, for example, to preserve their languages and cultures instead of neglecting them and thereby dooming them to extinction or to survive only by destroying what is left of the rain forests?
Why not lead the world in disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation rather than ushering in a whole new arms race era?
Why not lead the world in conservation of natural resources rather than consumption and creation of waste?
I believe that if we were to practice such a foreign policy, after recovering from shock and amazement, the world would respect us and all humanity would be safer.Yes, this is a preposterous set of proposals; it could never happen. Caesar demands his due and we greedy and unenlightened folks are all too eager to satisfy our appetites by rendering unto him. Still, it’s nice to dream.