Topic: Religious Freedom and American Foreign Policy
Developing a foreign policy is a complex exercise. It begins with answering a few foundational questions. (1) Should America’s foreign policy be driven by what is best for the United States (Realpolitik) or by its values (doing good)? (2) Should the United States minimize its involvement in world affairs (isolationism) or actively take the lead on issues facing the planet (globalism)? The way in which presidents and policy makers answer these questions defines policy outcomes. It also determines how the rest of the world views the United States.
One area of foreign policy that has received increasing attention in the United States is religious freedom. American policy makers have decided that advancing religious freedom around the world is good for the United States (Realpolitik). As a central pillar of American democracy, the United States has also concluded that respect for religious freedom serves to advance and protect democracy worldwide (doing good). As a result, the United States has decided to actively taken the lead on this issue (globalism).
With this in mind, your task in this discussion is to examine America’s foreign policy related to international religious freedom. Specifically, you should review the following items. Links to both can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website. They are located under the Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.
International Religious Freedom Act (1998)
International Religious Freedom Report (2013)