For years U.S. foreign policy debates have pitted two sides against each other: Realists (who emphasize what is) vs. idealists (who emphasize what should be). Realists, for example, tend to support corrupt regimes (Hosni Mubarak's, for example) as long as they are friendly to U.S. interests, while idealists press for human rights and "Arab Springs," even if in practice they lead to winters.
Christians have the rare opportunity to be both realists and idealists. Our ideal is evangelism: We want people all over the world to rejoice in Christ. That's also the most realistic way to increase the prospects for peace in the Middle East and to avoid a future war between the United States and China.
A recent article from The Weekly Standard, in a section on U.S. defense policy, noted, "Consider China. The main pillar of U.S. strategy must be deterring or defeating Chinese aggression." That's true from the realist standpoint. China is a crouching dragon almost ready to extend its claws and use its fiery breath to create conflagrations throughout Asia and the Pacific region. But what if the number of Christians in China-100 million is an estimate often heard-continues to increase? Many Chinese Christians see America as friend, not adversary.
And what about the future of Egypt and other Middle Eastern lands? Islamists push for war against Israel, and Iran calls for genocide. Increasing Islamist influence in Turkey has turned that country from an Israeli ally to a likely enemy. But what if, somehow, through God's providence, those countries allow some degree of religious freedom? The number of Christians will increase, and they will wage jihad against the sin within rather than externalizing their anger and blaming Israel for everything that goes wrong.
Christianity at some unusual times in the past has come to communities at the point of a sword, but today we see people freely choosing Christ all over the world, sometimes risking their lives in the process. Today we see China's quasi-Communists and the Middle East's Quranocrats desperately trying to keep the Good News from those under their control. They fear Christianity, the faith that melds realism-we are all sinners-with idealism: Christ changes us and others. Faith in Christ is the alternative to tyranny and cynicism.