SENATOR LIEBERMAN ADVOCATES RESPONSIBLE FOREIGN POLICY IN ADDRESS AT HUDSON INSTITUTE

The Weekly Standard on June 21, 2011, reported on an address by Senator Joe Lieberman at a Hudson Institute event, in which he urged both political parties not to “retreat from the world.”

Senator Lieberman said:

We do not live in a ‘post-American world. We live in a world in which American leadership and American power are more important than ever. The American people intuitively understand that. The fact is we live in a world in which our own security, freedom, and prosperity at home are inseparable from the security, freedom, and prosperity of people in distant lands.

A policy of a limited American defense, said the senator “must not and cannot balance our budget by retreating from the world.”

We will not grow our economy by embracing protectionism. We will not close the deficit by gutting the defense budget. The path to restoring fiscal responsibility and economic growth at home is not through strategic irresponsibility abroad. It is through disciplined and bipartisan leadership at home and abroad.

Beginning with Herman Kahn, the great futurist who breathed life into this extraordinary institute, Hudson has been strengthened and sustained by the leadership of Wally Stern, Herb London, and Allan Tessler, with whom I am proud to stand tonight, and by my good friend, Ken Weinstein, whose intellect and purpose have so enlivened and enriched the Hudson Institute as they, incidentally, have the Georgetown synagogue in Washington where we both regularly meet to pray and “kibitz.”

At this time when we most need to be strong and steadfast, we increasingly hear voices of fear and insecurity who are calling for America to turn inward.

This is not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last, but it always ends up hurting our country and our people. In the 1930s, it was the isolationism of the “America Firsters” on the political right that denied the threat posed by Nazi Germany, insisted that Hitler was Europe’s problem, and thereby helped bring about a world war.

In the 1970s, it was the American left that shouted, “Come Home, America”— insisting that the threat to freedom and peace was not from Soviet communism but from our own “irrational fear” of communism, and thereby inviting Soviet aggression

The best interests of our country require not only the policies of American internationalism and the strength of America’s moral example, but also the exercise of American power—including, when necessary, the determined use of America’s military might against our enemies.

This is the muscular internationalist view that links Democratic Presidents like John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton with Republican Presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

This shared view grows out of a shared non-partisan commitment to America’s founding cause—which has animated our national purpose since America began. One of our nation’s great poets, Walt Whitman, wrote that in America, “Past and present and future are not disjoined but joined” and for this reason, as Whitman put it, “The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.”

That great cause will not be advanced nor our destiny achieved if our leaders today yield to the short-term political appeal of a neo-isolationism. That will only weaken our security, limit our freedom, and diminish our prosperity.

One cause that I promise to fight for is the need to strengthen and deepen a bipartisan center of internationalism in this country on key national security and economic issues. Although this will require the understanding, leadership, and support of both Republicans and Democrats, the fact is, the real divide when it comes to foreign policy is not between Democrats and Republicans.

It is between those who understand that our national interests require us to remain involved in the world and those who would rely on big oceans and hollow hopes to protect us. It is a divide between those who believe America cannot afford to be a world leader any more, and those who understand that America cannot afford NOT to be a leader in the world.

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