Slow Fade

Obama, the Bishops & the Bomb

In a July interview with NBC, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sought to counter charges that the Obama administration has not done much to change the foreign policy of George W. Bush. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Gibbs insisted to Meet the Press host David Gregory, has helped give the United States “better relationships with virtually every country in the world.” Yet critics on the left—pointing to such evidence as the stepped-up war in Afghanistan, the failure to close Guantánamo, and mixed signals regarding detention and rendition—continue to claim that, in effect, the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Is this true? Does the Obama administration represent a departure from Bush foreign policy, or a continuation of it? By way of answering, I will focus on one aspect of that policy—the intention, which Obama announced in Prague in April 2009, to move toward abolishing nuclear weapons. The president himself admits it may take generations to reach this goal. His plan for multilateral disarmament will inevitably cross paths with the moral aspirations of the Roman Catholic Church.

For decades Catholic social teaching has condemned...

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About the Author

William Werpehowski teaches theology at Villanova University.