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.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More