Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fred Thompson Speaks to Policy Exchange

You will find the entire speech here at Townhall. Go read it. There's a good chance Thompson will be the GOP nominee; you might as well learn what he's saying to our most important ally. My favorite part is addressed to those in Europe who think the world needs a balance to America:

For many Americans, there is a concern that even among our friends, some people are instinctively uncomfortable with U.S. power. Some on the Continent speak of the need for Europe to balance U.S. influence. Americans worry that this sentiment could, over time, lead to an uncoupling of the alliance. And if constraining U.S. power is that important, would our European friends be comfortable with other powers serving as a counterweight to the United States?

Some who seek to check U.S. power believe that legitimacy may only be conferred by international consensus as represented by the UN Security Council. They ask, “If a country can invade another nation for its own good reasons, what is the logical stopping point?”

The American response is to ask how, then, does one justify non-Security-Council-sanctioned actions, such as Kosovo? What are nations allowed to do when the UN cannot muster the political will to act? How many countries must be involved in an action before legitimacy is conferred? Is it just European countries that count? And, how do we deal with problems in concert when many of us don’t agree on the extent or nature of the problem?

For our part, we in the United States must make a better case for our views and our actions. It is possible that things that are perfectly obvious to us may not be so obvious even to those who wish us well. We must be willing to listen and we must be willing to share our intelligence to the maximum extent appropriate.

We must be prepared to make our case not just privately, but to the people of Europe and the world in order to build political support for cooperation. The world is not stronger if America is weaker – or is perceived to be weaker. The same is true of Britain and truer still of our NATO alliance. And we must be capable of making that case.

In return, it is fair to expect that our allies will not put their trade and commercial interests above world security. It is also fair to ask that Europeans consider the consequences if they are wrong about the threat to the Western world.

Even with Britain, France and Germany now led by people who are more or less pro-America, there's no question that there's a substantial constituency in Europe for a check on American influence. Given the unlikelihood that a strong and united Europe can play that role, there's probably no such counterweight that available that Europe would probably find acceptable. So they're stuck with us.

The question is how to make that work better for all concerned. Thompson's formulation is not 'rocket science,' but it's good to lay it out nonetheless.

Update: By the way, Dick Morris argues that Thompson won't win the nomination because -- basically -- he doesn't look good on TV. I may be going out on a limb, but I bet he'll do just fine.

Update II: Here are a few videos from the Q&A (apparently) where he addresses Iran and Lady Thatcher. They're from the Britain and America blog (which is loading slowly)

Iran is particularly important, since there's a good chance that Iran will be a more salient election issue in 2008 than will Iraq.

Hat Tip: Glenn

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well Kosovo is a poor example of his point, as this was a NATO exercise and America was answering a chapter 4 submission from an ally. Therefore the choice in Kosovo was to act, or reject the premise of the NATO alliance. A better example is the one he, understandably, did not want to use--Iraq.
Iraq is clearly a non-NATO non-security council invasion, and it is difficult to come up with something similar on the same scale