The Corner

National Security & Defense

Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson: Anders Fogh Rasmussen and America’s Will to Lead

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the 39th prime minister of Denmark (2000–2009) and the twelfth secretary general of NATO (2009–14), joins Peter Robinson to discuss why America is the only proper policeman for the world. He argues that America’s failure to act, especially in cases like Syria, can lead to more harm than intervention. He determines that the problems the United States faced in Iraq after the war were not because the United States intervened in the first place but because President Obama decided to pull the troops out too early in 2011. He also argues that NATO allies have begun spending closer to the requisite 2 percent of their budgets on defense due to Russia’s encroaching on Ukraine. Rasmussen believes it would be dangerous for America to allow Putin to disrupt the international order and retake lost territory without a response.

Rasmussen shares his personal assessments of leaders he has come to know personally, including George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. Additionally, Rasmussen offers a bold plan for a strengthened American and European alliance, joined by like-minded democracies (not the U.N.), to create a military, political, and economic bulwark against the forces of tyranny. Rasmussen argues that, like it or not, America is the world’s indispensable world leader and must act as the world’s policeman because no other country can. If America steps back and leaves a leadership vacuum, then someone else will step in and be harder to deal with down the road. The world learned this lesson from World War II, which is important to remember in today’s political climate. Rasmussen emphasizes that the United States cannot escape its fate as the world’s policeman and global leader.