Sunday, February 09, 2003

EDITOR'S CHOICE: God and American diplomacy
LONDON, 6 FEB 2003 (ECONOMIST)--ONLY one thing unsettles George Bush's critics more than the possibility that his foreign policy is secretly driven by greed. That is the possibility that it is secretly driven by God. War for oil would merely be bad. War for God would be catastrophic: the beginning of a “clash of civilisations” that would pit Christians and Jews against Muslims.

Is there anything to this? The war-for-God crowd can certainly point to bits of evidence. The current White House is the most religious since Jimmy Carter's days. In his memoirs of his time as a presidential speechwriter, David Frum says that the first words he heard in the Bush White House were “Missed you at Bible Study”. Mr Bush, a born-again Christian who turned to God after many years of hard drinking, starts each day kneeling in prayer. Michael Gerson, his main speechwriter, is a master at clothing public policy in religious language.

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