By Mohammad Mazhari

Professor says U.S. foreign policy is driven by greed and powerful military-industrial complex

September 14, 2021 - 14:2

TEHRAN - Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, professor of politics and religious studies at Northwestern University, says that the U.S. foreign policy is based on greed and the military-industrial complex.

“It (U.S. foreign policy) cannot be justified. It is best understood as driven by greed, and in particular, a powerful military-industrial complex as identified by President Eisenhower decades ago combined with certain ideas and ideals of American exceptionalism,” Hurd says in an interview with the Tehran Times.

U.S. behavior in West Asia, especially when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan, has prompted political pundits to ask about the logic of U.S. foreign policy. 
While American officials claim to defend human rights and democracy, their foreign policy is based on greed and militarism.

Following is the text of the interview with Professor Hurd:

Q:  How do you evaluate the position of religion in U.S. decision-making given that modern politics has marginalized religions?

A: I don’t think there is a generic category of “religion” that can be separated from other aspects of human social life for the purposes of explaining politics or political outcomes.

Q: Some people try to attribute extremism to religions while other pundits say that this is political interest that causes extremism under the pretext of religion, not religion itself. What is your comment?

A: Politics and religion are enmeshed in each other and cannot be disentangled so as to place “blame” on one or the other for extremism.

Q: How could religious values be used to tackle modern woes including environmental crises, invasions, racism, etc.?

A: Again, I’m not sure which values are “religious” and which aren’t, so this is not the right question for me. The question is how (and if) we want to live and flourish in a community with others should we organize our public lives, laws and institutions? There are all kinds of resources to address this question including, for example, great literature.

Q: Regarding U.S. foreign policies many outside the U.S. believe that they are immoral and colonialist. How can we justify U.S. behavior (faults) when we look back at U.S. fundamental values promoted by founding fathers? I mean faults like the Iraq war, supporting tyrannical regimes in the Middle East, or selling more deadly weapons to regional countries.

A: It cannot be justified. It is best understood as driven by greed, and in particular, a powerful military-industrial complex as identified by President Eisenhower decades ago combined with certain ideas and ideals of American exceptionalism. I recently co-edited an open-access free volume called “Theologies of American Exceptionalism” on these issues.  
 

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