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Church and State
Can Americans Count to Three?

The Anglo-Protestant basis of U.S. foreign policy.

Published on: March 9, 2018
Adam Garfinkle is editor of The American Interest. An earlier and slightly different version of this essay was published in Orbis, Winter 2018, under the title “The Anglo-Protestant Basis of U.S. Foreign Policy,” and by FPRI.
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  • D4x

    The essence of Adam’s essay seems to be 1) a reminder of Wilsonianism’s 100-year enduring dominance of America’s foreign policy blob, 2) and persistence in delegitimizing the Trump Administration, whose Realist foreign policy for more than one year is based on security, especially energy and water security, security that leads to prosperity, which does need sovereign governance and rule of law.
    It has been remarkable to observe it in action since February, 2017, and, from March 6-13, 2018 with Sec Tillerson in Africa. USAID re-worked and relaunched POWER Africa at State’s 39-nation ministerial on Nov. 17, 2017, followed by SecEnergy Rick Perry impressive meet with Africa’s energy ministers in Capetown.

    USAID’s Water for World program was launched Nov. 15. “Water may be the most important issue we face for the next generation.” -Donald J. Trump, President of the United States
    […] [page 6 of 70]
    Our vision is a water secure world, where people have sustainable supplies of water of sufficient quantity and quality to meet human, economic, and ecosystem needs while managing risks from floods and droughts. This means:

    ● Increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation and improving hygiene practices, especially in regions where there are significant populations without such access;

    ● Improving water-resources management, especially in countries where water issues may be impeding social and economic development or contributing to state fragility and/or failure; and,

    ● Promoting cooperation on shared waters in regions where water is, or may become, a source of tension and conflict. The Strategy aims to reduce disease and save lives, eradicate poverty, and promote sustainable economic growth, increase food and energy security, build peace and security, and open up international markets to U.S. technologies and approaches.
    [..] [page 13 of 70]
    The following countries and geographic areas will be high priority under the Water for the World Act for October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Haiti, South Sudan, Indonesia, Uganda, Jordan, West Bank/Gaza, Kenya
    Sec Tillerson’s visit includes Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria.

    • D4x

      As for Garfinkle’s enduring reminder of TAI’s Russia obsession hysteria, recommended reading, coincidentally from March 8 at

      “Who Believes in Russiagate? Knowledgeable reporters on the left and right are frightened by the spread of an elite conspiracy theory among American media” By Lee Smith|March 8, 2018 12:00 AM
      […] Where Watergate was a story about a crime that came to define an entire generation’s oppositional attitude toward politicians and the country’s elite, Russiagate, they argue, has proved itself to be the reverse:
      It is a device that the American elite is using to define itself against its enemies—the rest of the country.

      […]And if you think Russiagate is a campaign of political warfare waged in the shadows by bureaucrats who violated the privacy of American citizens in order to undo election results they disagreed with, […]

      • D4x

        The Editor-writer needs a punctuation editor, and serious training in how to understand art. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s ceiling fresco, “Allegory of the Planets and Continents,” does NOT rank “the cultures from primitive to refined by their distance from the epicenter”. Würzburg Residence, Main Staircase: Attribution: Deutsches Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F079088-0003 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 Dec. 12, 2008

        The Prince-Bishops built Würzburg Residence, 1720-1744, when outdoing Versailles was an expression of absolute monarchy. The palace-building von Schönborn family had one of the Holy Roman Emperor–making Electoral College
        seats in Mainz. Tiepolo was hired in 1750 to paint the ceiling fresco in order to enhance the awesomeness of the Prince-Bishop greeting guests as they approached on the Treppenhaus, the very grandiose main staircase.
        G.B. Tiepolo, ceiling fresco at Würzburg Residence. Myriam Thyes 4 January 2013,

        At 7287 square feet, it is the largest ceiling fresco ever painted, and made Tiepolo the favorite allegorical fresco painter in Europe. There are several contemporary portraits, advertising the Prince-Bishop, architect Neumann, and Tiepolo. The arrangement of Asia, Africa, and the Americas, all depicted as less than ‘civilized’, is geographic.

        The imagery is meant to entertain, awe, enhance the grandeur of the Palace as a political statement and expression of wealth. In the 18th century, before there were movies, guests gathered after dinner to view and chat about the wall
        tapestries, and allegorical frescoes.

        Photos of each of the four sides of the ceiling fresco at:

        It’s so cool that the Schönborn Palace in Prague, Czechsia is the U.S. Embassy.

      • AaronL

        Read it. Brilliant. Thanks for bringing it to the attention of other American Interest readers.

  • D4x

    Next time anyone ‘considers Woodrow Wilson’s embrace of self-determination, and “his insistence upon the abstraction of collective security, as written down in the Covenant of the League of Nations”, finally enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, consider the epic failure of the UN since January 20, 2018, silent on Turkey’s assault on one million citizens of Syria, under siege in the City of Afrin on March 10, 2018. 03 10 2018 Turkish army and “FSA” have taken control of Khalidiyah, Qara Tepe heights 135 Brigade on Qibar mountain, overlooking Afrin city

    Two tweets from IC Afrinresistance @ICafrinresist Direct daily news from Afrin and Northern Syria. We are
    available via email: [email protected]. Details at: Weekly News Bulletin from Afrin # 4 01.03.2018 – 08.03.2018

    9:25 PM – 9 Mar 2018 Turkish warplanes bombed Afrin city/ Afrin district, starting 04:00 am. The city is full of people, residents,
    refugees and hundreds of the women’s convoy and the solidarity convoy #Syria #Rojava #DefendAfrin #NATO #US #Russia #UN 02 13 2018 Syrian Kurds fleeing their village to safety in Afrin City from Turkish forces and their allies
    1:12 AM – 10 Mar 2018 “The second biggest army in #NATO, along with the “FSA” is attacking #Afrin, a city that has maintained
    relative peace and stability throughout the civil war, in order to invest in the nationalist voter base and also pursue expansionist regional policies” links to letter to UN about City of Afrin (Jan 25, 2018 photo from Mutlu Civoruglu, VOA) March 9, 2018: Open letter by our Şırnak MP Faysal Sarıyıldız, HDP People’s Democratic Party of Turkey, to Secretary General of the UN:
    Dear Secretary General Guterres,

    The Turkish State’s operations against Afrin, initiated on
    20 January 2018, is in its 47th day. According to figures given by
    international human rights organizations at least 250 civilians, mostly women
    and children, have been killed in bombardments with 600 people wounded. After
    rising civilian deaths the United Nations decided to declare a 30-day ceasefire
    on 24 February 2018. Although it is a member of the UN, Turkey has disregarded
    this decision and continues its bombardment of Afrin with civilian casualties
    hitting new heights every day. Despite this occupation occurring in front of
    the world’s eyes, the lack of action by the UN is having a detrimental effect
    on the organization’s respectability and reliability. This is being watched with anger by the Kurds and all the peoples of the world.

    Mr. Guterres,

    We have seen many times in the past that states can be
    stopped and punished by international organizations that they are a member of.
    Turkey’s Afrin operation has no legitimate grounds. The Turkish state is using
    UN’s article 51 to legitimize its attack. As a matter of fact, there has been
    no attack against Turkey from Afrin. The local administration in Afrin has
    stated that a observational delegation can come to Afrin to investigate
    allegations of Turkish state atrocities. The Turkish state has also not
    received any permission from the Syrian state to enter its territories.

    The YPG, who is defending its people in Afrin, is responsible for the defeat of ISIS in Kobani, Raqqa and other parts of Syria.

    Erdogan, who possesses the second biggest army in NATO,
    along with the “Free Syrian Army” is attacking Afrin, a city that has
    maintained relative peace and stability throughout the Syrian civil war, in
    order to invest in the nationalist voter base and also pursue expansionist regional policies.

    The UN should have prevented this occupation, which has the
    potential to destabilize the whole region, from the outset. While this is what
    should have happened, instead the UN Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane
    Dujarric said “local administrators in Afrin are preventing civilians from
    leaving Afrin.” I am sorry to say that statements like these only serve to encourage
    Erdogan. The people of Afrin do not want to leave their lands. Where else can
    the people of Afrin go? Afrin was actually a safe haven for over a hundred
    thousand people who had fled the war in Neighbouring Al-Bab and Jarablus. Right
    now it is an area where people from all ages are dying from bombardments night
    and day. Footage of the FSA, who are fighting alongside the Turkish army in
    Afrin, mutilating a woman fighter’s dead body is only one of many documents showing the brutality.

    Dear Secretary General,
    The Turkish President Erdogan has already turned into a war
    machine. Erdogan is proud of being the leader of a country where the people who
    ask for peace are punished, and the people who want war are rewarded. Everyday
    he announces civilians who are being massacred like a match score. The worrying
    statement by Turkish Prime Minister, Binali yildirim, “we will place 350,000
    Syrians into Afrin” is absolutely an indication of the planned ethnic cleansing
    based on demographic change in Afrin. The Turkish state’s previous assaults in
    Jarablus, Azzaz and Mareh resulted in the Interior Ministry appointing
    governors and heads of security for these towns, effectively turning these areas into Turkish run territories. The
    Turkish state, which has been encouraged by the fact that international
    institutions such as the UN have largely remained silent, continues its
    aggressive and invading stance now in Afrin. The Turkish state is denying
    killing civilians in Afrin. However, in wars the truth is lost first. The
    three-month-old Miray Ince who was killed in Cizre and three-month-old Diyana
    Xazî Salih who has been killed in a bombardment in Afrin are the victims of the
    same silence. If we look at what has happened so far, the Turkish state and
    FSA’s progress towards Afrin may lead to a horrific massacre. If this is not avoided, the position of the
    UN, if it remains a mere on-watcher, will be questionable. The UN, which was
    created after the destruction caused by the Second World War, must take a more
    active stance against this tragedy in the Middle East. The offensive initiated
    by Turkey against Afrin has the potential to ignite a new regional war. We invite the UN, as an organization responsible for pursuing global peace, to fulfill its mission by pressuring Turkey to end its occupation of Afrin.
    9 March 2018

    Dear Guterres,
    I am a live witness of the massacre that occurred in the
    town of Cizre on 14 December 2015, on the 79th day of the blockade. I was there
    as an elected representative of my people. 280 people were massacred, from
    three-month-old babies, to eighty-year-old mothers. I was fired upon, and
    almost killed, while trying to take injured civilians to the hospital. Two
    weeks after this incident, the Turkish state and its state of the art equipped
    army burned 143 people alive in the basements of buildings in Cizre.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, had stated that what had occurred in both Sirnak’s town of Cizre and Diyarbakir’s town of Sur were “shocking”. The subsequent report that
    was released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had deemed what had happened as “chaos”. The report stated that two thousand people had been killed, half a million people had been displaced, and that the towns were systematically destroyed. The report had also called upon the Turkish state to respect the fundamental rights of civilians.

    Turkey did not respect both the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on protecting civilians and the UN’s ‘humanitarian plea’. The
    subsequent silence of the European Union and the United Nations had only served
    to encourage the Turkish state. With time, the Turkish government became more
    and more authoritarian. The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, said in a statement published last week that they were concerned by the rising cases of torture and malpractice in Turkey.

    Fiddling while the Liberal International Order continues, for the 101st year, to handwring the new refugees, descended from Woodrow Wilson’s first refugees:

  • Civilitas

    As a reader from outside the United States, I have to say that the description of US foreign policy as “messianic” and springing out of historical Anglo-Protestantism yields little surprise. That is how the US has been viewed by many outsiders for decades. On the other hand, the parsing of the effects of this history across various different policy issues is useful and illuminating. One issue that bothered me, however, is the near fatalism in the concluding paragraphs where Mr. Garflinkle posed the question about “which” creedal anchors would underpin future policy. This implies that there is a fixed group of creedal anchors from which to choose, as opposed to the possibility that such anchors are themselves evolving over time into different beasts. Is this a bias on Mr. Garfinkle’s part, as a history-facing academic, that there is “nothing new under the sun”, so everyone is doomed to just pick from among past behaviours? He is not necessarily wrong, but the lack of optionality in the statement seemed a bit weak.

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