This article asks the question “Can we bring religious faiths and beliefs to bear in our strategic competition with our competitors?”
We speak often of a values-based approach to strategic competition. In so doing, we usually operate within a mental frame that privileges familiar political and economic values such as those associated with our democratic political systems and practices, and our liberal market-led approaches to economic organization. Less often do we draw attention to the place of religious faiths and beliefs within our value systems. In a context of strategic competition, this omission potentially denies us an opportunity to more strongly differentiate and distinguish ourselves from competitor regimes. More, we may be overlooking potentially productive avenues to strengthen relationships with our security partners.
I’m very pleased to see religious messaging and engagement being discussed and considered at APCSS. I agree that out of our nation’s historical experience we do have positive and useful religious and society messaging well worth bringing into Defense engagement. And a better understanding of those aspects of host nations’ religious beliefs that support our shared values, and those that oppose them is helpful to commanders at all levels. While certainly, US forces always should approach religions with sensitivity and respect. But doing that doesn’t mean we should shy away from religious engagement.
Aloha Richard! Thank you for your insightful comment. I am very encouraged by it. Please do stay in touch. There’s a long road to travel on this initiative – within DoD, but also, with allies and partners. Look forward to a continuing dialogue!