In putting forth his foreign policy, President George W. Bush speaks of the United States having a "calling" or "mission" that has come from the "Maker of Heaven." Yet, while he uses explicitly religious language more than his immediate predecessors, there is nothing exceptional about a U.S. president resorting to religious themes to explain his foreign policy. U.S. goals in the world are based on Protestant millennial themes that go back to seventeenth-century England. What has distinguished Bush from some of his predecessors is that these religious concepts have not only shaped his ultimate objectives but also colored the way in which he viewed reality— sometimes to the detriment of U.S. foreign policy.

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About the Author
John B. Judis is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a senior editor of The New Republic. He is the author of five books: William F. Buckley: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (Simon and Schuster, 1988), Grand Illusion: Critics and Champions of the American Century (Farrar Straus, 1992), The Paradox of American Democracy (Pantheon, 2000), The Emerging Democratic Majority (with Ruy Teixeira) (Scribners, 2002), and The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (Scribners, 2004), from which this essay is adapted.