June 19, 2019

How Evangelical Christianity Influences American Foreign Policy

“The Trump administration’s foreign policy really isn’t consistent enough to be placed into any single ideological camp. The president is an isolationist critic of military engagement who has repeatedly let hawks like John Bolton and Marco Rubio drive policies that depend on the threat of military force. Administration surrogates use human rights rhetoric to criticize the governments of Venezuela, Iran, and China (including an unexpectedly strong statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre this week) while the president defends and praises the most brutal dictator in the world. The Pentagon warns of a world defined by “great power competition,” while the president seems convinced that Russia has nothing but good intentions. The administration hates multilateral security alliances except when it’s trying to create new ones. Its Mideast strategy is guided by a single-minded focus on countering Iran, except when it’s not.

This incoherence makes it hard for foreign governments to make sense of the administration’s intentions, and it means that almost none of Washington’s foreign policy camps feel very happy right now. I say almost because there is one group that’s consistently and effectively—if quietly—pushing its foreign policy agenda in Donald Trump’s Washington: evangelical Christians.”

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