Will Inboden makes a Tertullian reference, but apparently doesn’t know Tertullian’s answer to the rhetorical question:
“What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?” famously asked the early church father Tertullian. His question in the third century addressed the relationship between the reason of Greek philosophy embodied by Athens and the revelation of Judeo-Christian religion embodied by Jerusalem. Today’s foreign policy equivalent of Tertullian’s query could be “What hath Damascus to do with Darwin?”
Tertullian set up this opposition to insist that the two were antithetical:
What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from “the porch of Solomon,” who had himself taught that “the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart.” Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief.
It’s a strange quote to use for several reasons. It undermines what Inboden is saying, since Inboden wants to make the argument that there is a meaningful connection between what is happening in Syria and the decision to base a contingent of Marines in northern Australia. Presumably, he rejects the view that the U.S. must choose “pivoting” to East Asia or maintaining regional hegemony in the Near East, but if we took his use of the Tertullian quote seriously it would imply that the two are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable. A better question would be what either of these things has to do with U.S. interests, and the answer would appear to be nothing at all.