looking for

Foreign policy and Religion or Secularism

Besides security and warfare, it is also essential to evaluate the influence of religious factor in foreign policy and other inter-state affairs.

“Religion being a soft power influences foreign policy in an irregular manner.”[1] Most often policy is taken considering state interests. Even in religion based pre-Westphalian international order there were constructive relations between dissimilar religious countries. For example, in peace time Byzantine and Abbasid two contending empire had diplomatic cooperations. To some extent Christian Evangelists, Muslim Ulemah, Hindu Pundit and Buddha Bhikkhu can act as a pressure group to manipulate state foreign policy. “In USA, India, Iran various religious actors seek to influence outcomes by encouraging foreign policy makers to adopt policies informed by their religious tenets and beliefs.”[2]

Values, beliefs and norms derived from religion influence states’ foreign policy. “Also some religious actors influence state foreign policy by encouraging policy makers to take into account religious beliefs, norms and values.”[3] Here, state policy is the product of religious norms. But, whether religion will be influential is dependent upon the constitutional status of religion of a particular country. Simultaneously, whether constitution will prioritize religion is dependent upon the religious sentiment of the people of that country. For this reason, modern states of the world show dissimilar attributes in case of representing religious norms and values in their foreign policy and decision making.

[1] Jeffrey Haynes, “Religion and Foreign Policy Making In the USA, India and Iran: Towards A Research Agenda,” Third World Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 1 (2008): 144, http://psi305.cankaya.edu.tr/uploads/files/Religion%20FPDM%20USA.pdf ( accessed June 23, 2012)

[2] Ibid.
[3] ibid.,161.