‘We must find in ourselves once again the courage to stand up for our values internationally’
It is conventional wisdom that history repeats itself. But the world should hope—and pray—that this maxim is off-base when it comes to our global security. Security arrangements, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which through 71 years since the end of World War II have kept us safe from yet another global conflict, are quickly showing signs of coming undone. And if history is indeed repeating itself, we can’t say we haven’t been warned, and we must take steps now to change our current course.
As governor of a state that is restoring its fiscal well-being by keeping pace with the demands and rewards of a global economy, I am increasingly concerned about the future of international alliances that has long ensured the United States and its partner nations of a stable world and the free flow of ideas and trade. These are not new concerns for me, having served nine terms in Congress, including 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee. From those perspectives I have feared this unraveling for some time, but my concerns are redoubled by recent threats to our alliances, both here and abroad.
Growing tensions across the world, fed by intemperate voices at home, have caused many in this country to second-guess the international alliances and relationships that have served us so well across seven post-war decades. As a result, those alliances have lost credibility with growing numbers here who say they prefer that we stay at home instead of supporting our allies overseas. In many of our allied nations, similar doubts are taking root.
Why is it essential that we support our allies? It’s more than a matter of protecting our own borders and preserving our national identity, essential as those goals may be. It’s also about protecting the collective human values that have for so long sustained the United States and what we rightly call the Free World—values such as freedom of speech; universal respect for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion; and a world open to free enterprise, travel and trade. These are the shared values that we and our allied nations believe in; the same values others scorn and deny to those they rule.