October 19, 2007


An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom (John McCain, 10/16/07, Real Clear Politics)

American leadership has helped build a world that is more secure, more prosperous, and freer than ever before. Our unique form of leadership -- the antithesis of empire -- gives us moral credibility, which is more powerful than any show of arms. We are rich in people and resources but richer still in ideals and vision -- and the means to realize them. Yet today much of the world has come to challenge our actions and doubt our intentions. Polls indicate that the United States is more unpopular now than at any time in history and increasingly viewed as pursuing its narrow self-interest. The people who hold these views are wrong. We are a special nation, the closest thing to a "shining city on a hill" ever to have existed. But it is incumbent on us to restore our mantle as a global leader, reestablish our moral credibility, and rebuild those damaged relationships that once brought so much good to so many places.

As president, I will seek the widest possible circle of allies through the League of Democracies, NATO, the UN, and the Organization of American States. During President Ronald Reagan's deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles and President George H. W. Bush's Gulf War, the United States was joined by vast coalitions despite considerable opposition to American policies among foreign publics. These alliances came about because America had carefully cultivated relationships and shared values with its friends abroad. Working multilaterally can be a frustrating experience, but approaching problems with allies works far better than facing problems alone.

Almost two centuries ago, James Madison declared that "the great struggle of the Epoch" was "between liberty and despotism." Many thought that this struggle ended with the Cold War, but it did not. It has taken on new guises, such as Islamist terrorists using our technological advances for their murderous designs and resurgent autocrats reminiscent of the nineteenth century. International terrorists capable of inflicting mass destruction are a new phenomenon. But what they seek and what they stand for are as old as time. They are part of a worldwide political, economic, and philosophical struggle between the future and the past, progress and reaction, liberty and despotism. Our security, our prosperity, and our democratic way of life depend on the outcome of that struggle.

Thomas Jefferson argued that America was the "solitary republic of the world, the only monument of human rights, and the sole depository of the sacred fire of freedom and self-government, from hence it is to be lighted up in other regions of the earth, if other regions of the earth shall ever become susceptible of its benign influence." Since that time two centuries ago when the United States was the "solitary republic of the world," more people than ever before have come under the "benign influence" of liberty. The protection and promotion of the democratic ideal, at home and abroad, will be the surest source of security and peace for the century that lies before us. The next U.S. president must be ready to lead, ready to show America and the world that this country's best days are yet to come, and ready to establish an enduring peace based on freedom that can safeguard American security for the rest of the twenty-first century. I am ready.

Since we're here now we'd like to believe this an especially trying time and a unique moment in our history, but the reality is it's just the end of the Epoch and all that remains is some tidying up.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2007 8:22 AM
Comments for this post are closed.