Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Douglas Johnston at Westminster on Religion, Terror, and Error

Last night I had the pleasure of attending this lecture by Dr. Douglas Johnston, Founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. The event was put together by the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy.

This presentation was a summary of his book with the same title as his lecture. The book description provides a better feel for last night's presentation:
How should the United States deal with the jihadist challenge and other religious imperatives that permeate today's geopolitical landscape? Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement argues that what's required is a longer-term strategy of cultural engagement, backed by a deeper understanding of how others view the world and what is important to them. The means by which that can be accomplished are the subject of this book.

The work realizes three important tasks. It shows how the United States can reposition itself to deal more effectively with the causal factors that underlie religious extremism; offers a successor to the rational-actor model of decision-making that has heretofore excluded "irrational" factors like religion; and suggests a new paradigm for U.S. leadership in anticipation of tomorrow's multipolar world. Describing how the United States should realign itself to deal more effectively with the factors underlying religious extremism, this innovative treatise explains how existing capabilities can be redirected to respond to the challenge and identifies additional capabilities that will be needed to complete the task.
 You can order the book through

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