The former secretary of state for the Clinton administration recently published The Mighty & the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (HarperCollins). She spoke with CT senior writer Tony Carnes.
You wrote that since 9/11, you have realized that your views on religion and foreign affairs had been stuck in an earlier time.
I was part of the school of thought that felt [foreign policy] issues were complicated enough without bringing God and religion into it. But what I have learned, and 9/11 was the epicenter of it, is that if we don't make religion a force for peace it will remain a source of conflict. It became evident to me how little understanding there is of the force of religion [and the role it] plays in how policy is made.
Are you wary of conservative religious people being involved in foreign affairs?
I think there's a difference between conservative and extremist. I think an extremist is somebody who is totally disrespectful of other people's views. An extremist is unwilling to make any movement toward finding common ground. Conservative is a way of interpreting things that may not recognize much change, but it is respectful of other people's views.
What steps should we be taking in Sudan and Darfur?
When I was in office, a number of evangelical groups and children came to talk to me about Sudan, though not yet about Darfur. So I credit a lot of the religious movements with having brought some of the horrors to light in southern Sudan. In Darfur, I am shocked that more is not being done. The U.S. government could provide troops to go into Darfur in support of nato operations. I am talking about airplanes or logistical support, and a communications network. There don't have to be troops on the ...1