Recommended: Johnstons’ New Book on Religion and Foreign Policy

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 6:33 am

Recommended: Johnstons’ New Book on Religion and Foreign Policy

Douglas JohnstonAs we pulled together this week’s show with Scott Atran, I was reminded of my conversation a few years ago with Douglas Johnston on “Diplomacy and Religion in the 21st Century.” He is a quintessential diplomatic and military strategist who, at 27, was also the youngest officer in the navy to quality for command of a nuclear submarine. And he is, in my mind, one of the wisest and most pragmatic thinkers (and actors) on the role of religion in the modern world.
"Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement"In our conversation, he offered whole new ways to think about the possible democratizing role of Islam in places like Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan. He told us amazing stories of work he is doing in these places, even in madrasas in Pakistan and with leading religious figures in Iran, that fall under the diplomatic and journalistic radar. And he has a new book out, Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement. This is that rare thing — a readable nonfiction book that both challenges experts in its field and simultaneously translates these challenges into a real resource for non-experts. I recommend it highly.

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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