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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

RYAN GIVES... A FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH

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 Interesting. In a speech last night Paul Ryan links the debt crisis to national security. As one observer asked: "I ask you, does this sound like a speech given by a guy focused on winning back a tough house district in Wisconsin?" Uh, no. 

Here is the report on the speech from the Weekly Standard.

Paul Ryan defended America's role as the leading defender of freedom and liberty in a foreign policy address this evening. Speaking to the Alexander Hamilton Society, Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, laid out a vision that defended America's exceptional role as a world leader and drew sharp contrast to those who advocate for isolationism and withdrawal.

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From the speech itself:

 But I’m here to tell you that decline is not a certainty for America. Rather, as Charles Krauthammer put it, “decline is a choice.”

It is hard to overstate the importance of this choice. In The Weary Titan, Aaron Friedberg − one of the founders of the Hamilton Society − has shown us what happened when Britain made the wrong choice at the turn of the 20th century.

At that time, Britain’s governing class took the view that it would be better to cede leadership of the Western world to the United States. Unfortunately, the United States was not yet ready to assume the burden of leadership. The result was 40 years of Great Power rivalry and two World Wars.

The stakes are even higher today. Unlike Britain, which handed leadership to a power that shared its fundamental values, today’s most dynamic and growing powers do not embrace the basic principles that should be at the core of the international system.

A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place, a place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. Take a moment and imagine a world led by China or by Russia.

Choosing decline would have consequences that I doubt many Americans would be comfortable with.

So we must lead. And a central element of maintaining American leadership is the promotion of our moral principles – consistently and energetically – without being unrealistic about what is possible for us to achieve.  

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