What helpful insights can the gospel offer to those concerned with the conduct of public affairs? This is a question many LDS people undoubtedly have wrestled with as they have tried to find political ground that is both practically defensible and morally responsible. In this small book, published by BYU’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, a group of LDS scholars and foreign affairs practitioners have undertaken a collective exploration of ways the gospel can be made relevant in public policy discussions.
Exploring a subject with no easy or obvious gospel answers, the book contains edited papers and extended remarks presented at a symposium of the same title at the Kennedy Center in the fall of 1993. Moral principles have relevance to national security decisions, as in every area of public policy, but general principles usually leave room for disagreement as to the effectiveness and moral superiority of particular policies. Should the United States intervene militarily in Bosnia? Should Russia be admitted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? Should the United States destroy all of its stocks of nuclear weapons and rely on conventional weaponry for military security? Is any kind of U.S. military action short of defense against an actual armed attack on the country justified? Such questions typically raise a host of practical issues that tend to overshadow moral considerations, but when the moral issue is faced, what does the gospel tell us?