Magazine April 30, 2012, Issue

Faith and Foreign Policy

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Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy, by Andrew Preston (Knopf, 832 pp., $37.50)

There is no vocabulary in modern politics to describe the point at which the heavens touch the earth. Which is why Andrew Preston, when he was yet a graduate student at Yale in 2003, was puzzled that George W. Bush should guide his nation into war with Iraq by “consistently” framing “the crisis in terms of religion.” There were three possible explanations: First, Bush was simply “a premodern aberration in a postmodern world,” which would have brought all further discussion to a convenient end; or, second, Bush was merely manipulating the minds of the religion-and-gun-clingers to his own cynical political

Allen C. Guelzo — Mr. Guelzo is the Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

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