The US State Department has just released a new International Religious Freedom Report, highlighting nations with problematic records. If there’s any lesson to be learned here, it’s that there appears to be absolutely no correlation between US support of a regime and that regime’s record on religious freedom.
Of 18 countries listed “that face challenges in protecting religious freedom,” some are no surprise; specifically, American nemeses such as North Korea and Iran. But two of the honorees are American examples of nation-building: Afghanistan and Iraq. We have substantial military and bureaucratic presence in both countries, and their constitutions (which explicitly establish Sharia as the primary basis of the law) were created under our watch.
Other not-so-free regimes include Egypt (recipient of more US foreign aid than any nation aside from Israel), Saudi Arabia (one of the most repressive nations on the planet, the only place in the world where it is illegal for women to drive, and one of our closest “allies” despite the fact that 15 of 19 of the 9/11 conspirators were Saudi nationals), and China (America’s second largest economic trading partner). Apparently we are unwilling or unable to use our economic clout to effect any substantial societal improvement in either friend or foe.