Bret Stephens on Paul Ryan’s Foreign Policy Views

Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, known for his support of a hawkish, forward-leaning U.S. foreign policy, has a new column in praise of Paul Ryan’s foreign policy instincts, drawing on a speech the conservative Wisconsin congressman made last summer:

“America’s foundations,” he says, are not our own—they belong equally to every person everywhere.”

So what follows? “If you believe these rights are universal human rights . . . it leads you to reject moral relativism. It causes you to recoil at the idea of persistent moral indifference toward any nation that stifles and denies liberty, no matter how friendly and accommodating its rulers are to American interests.”

Note the consistency of the logic. Note the quality of the language. Note, finally, Mr. Ryan’s understanding that America’s real interests are derived from our deepest values. For most other countries, it’s just the opposite: The interests come first, and “values” are a synonym for justifications.

In the event that Ryan does serve as vice president, however, I assume that his influence will primarily be brought to bear on domestic issues, unlike former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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