NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR’S COLUMN DISCUSSES RELIGION IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: CASE IN POINT, IRAN’S PRESIDENT

June 8, 2006

HARRISONBURG—This week’s column for the World Defense Review by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, avails itself of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent letter to President George W. Bush and the United States administration’s decision to offer to join European negotiations with Tehran to recall the significant role that religion plays in international politics.

According to Dr. Pham, “From Bali to Baghdad to Bamako, ‘faith-based’ ideas—no matter how apparently irrational, no matter how much they may upset religious or secular orthodoxies—are a very real force to be reckoned with. Realism requires that we adapt our political interests and security doctrines to take into account the real-life consequences of religious aspirations, both for good and for ill.”

Dr. Pham’s column, entitled “Strategic Interests,” appears every Thursday in the World Defense Review, a twice-weekly publication covering military and defense news and information.

This week’s column, “Faith-Based Realpolitik,” can be accessed by clicking here.