Neoconservatives are distinguished, first and foremost, by their unbridled and unrivaled support for using the American military for the sake of promoting “Democracy” throughout the world. . . . America, neoconservatives think, has a unique role to play in this crusade . . .
Both conservatives and neocons favor a robust US military. But most conservatives express greater reservations about military intervention and so-called nation building. Neocons share no such reluctance. The post 9/11-campaigns against regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate that the neocons are not afraid to force regime change and reshape hostile states in the American image. . . . Many other conservatives . . . view this as an overzealous dream with nightmarish consequences.
Having witnessed and digested the last Presidential debate on foreign policy, we should ask ourselves: How is the Obama administration’s foreign policy essentially different from the posture of neo-conservatism? What has he done or not done that doesn't come right out of the neocons’ play-book?
And then ask: How would a Romney foreign policy be essentially different from that of the Obama administration? One thing is clear from the aforementioned debate: When it comes to foreign policy—specifically the military’s role in the world—there’s but a hair’s breadth between them.
Take a step back from the President and his challenger. Forget political parties for a moment.
1) Why have we been engaged in unnecessary and undeclared wars for over a decade now?
2) Why have we been giving millions of dollars to Egypt, supporting an Islamic fundamentalist regime?
3) Why did we funnel arms (a proxy war) into Libya? Why were we dropping bombs there? How did Libya pose a direct threat to the security of the U.S.? When did Libya attack us?
4) What vital self-interest does the U.S. have in Syria (Russia's only warm water port)?
5) Why are U.S. troops in 148 countries and 11 territories (that we know of)? Why are there 716 military bases in 38 countries (that we know of)?
6) Why are we itching to wage war in Iran? What imminent threat to the security of the United States does Iran pose?
We should contemplate these things, not only as Americans, but as Christians. How many of our wars meet the muster of “Just War” philosophy? (Depending on who's counting, in our short history we’ve fought 26 or so wars.) What are the theological implications of our militarism? Joel McDurmon observes,
Whether under the guise of spreading civilization, education, protecting citizens from themselves, serving the expansion of transportation and commerce, purging the land of dangerous savages, saving the Union, modernizing the world, making the world safe for democracy . . . the use of government force to spread peace is a false version of the Christian mission. (The Bible & War in America, p. 94)
Should we as American Christians be so willing—or even eager—to beat the drums of war? Is it unpatriotic or un-American to question the use of government force? More importantly, is it unchristian or unbiblical to critically assess these things? I think the answer to all of these queries is “no.”
I close with John Calvin’s colleague, Pierre Viret:
War is so exceedingly dangerous and full of hazard that there is nothing of which Christians must have a greater horror than of taking up arms . . . there is nothing which Christians should be more wary to employ, nor which is less suited to their profession.