Paul Ryan Embraces American Exceptionalism, Rejects Isolationism in Foreign Policy Speech
By Michael Warren
Paul Ryan defended America's role as the leading defender of freedom and liberty in a foreign policy address this evening. Speaking to the Alexander Hamilton Society, Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, laid out a vision that defended America's exceptional role as a world leader and drew sharp contrast to those who advocate for isolationism and withdrawal.
Ryan spoke at length about American exceptionalism as it relates to America's role in the world. "America is an idea," he said. "And it was the first nation founded as such. The idea is rather simple. Our rights come to us from God and nature. They occur naturally, before government."
This belief in the American idea, Ryan said, should inform the nation's foreign policy. "Now, if you believe these rights are universal human rights, then that clearly forms the basis of your views on foreign policy," he said. "It leads you to reject moral relativism. It causes you to recoil at the idea of presistent moral indifference toward any nation that stifles and denies liberty, no matter how friendly and accommodating its rules are to American interests."
Ryan squarely rejected the position of increased isolationism. "Today, some in this country relish the idea of America's retreat from our role in the world," Ryan said. "They say that it's about time for other nations to take over, that we should turn inward, that we should reduce ourselves to membership on a long list of mediocre has-beens."
He continued, "Instead of heeding these calls to surrender, we must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen."
Ryan also called for China to liberalize and become "integrated into the global order." But, he said, Chinese leaders should not count on the decline of the United States as a great power. "We must demonstrate that planning for the post-American era is a squandered effort on their part and that America's greatest days lie ahead," he said.