Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The “Culture Wars” go global: Three cases of religious conflict in foreign policy

The “Culture Wars” go global: Three cases of religious conflict in foreign policy

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Abstract

Religious identities based on both religious tradition and religious commitment have been increasingly influential in domestic U.S. politics for several decades, but the assumption remains that such identities are mostly unrelated to foreign policy. The authors suggest that domestic political incentives to expand the culture wars have combined with other trends, including the increasing use of unilateral executive power in foreign policy, to create an environment in which policymakers increasingly are tempted to make foreign policy based on domestic political incentives. Three case studies are highlighted: the “Mexico City” policy requiring foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving U.S. aid money to pledge not to provide or educate about abortion, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and efforts in the Trump administration to ban travel to the United States from majority-Muslim nations.

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