The following is adapted from a speech delivered on September 15, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Sixth Annual Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C.
The Founders and generations of statesmen since have recognized the unique advantages with which the United States is blessed. We are a continental nation, and we enjoy the protection of two oceans that separate us from the historic cauldrons of conflict in Europe and Asia. We have abundant natural resources and an industrious society, making us a powerful trading partner. Ours is a people slow to anger, but imbued with a martial tradition and a fighting spirit. Our democratic culture is vigorous, resilient, and cherished by the people. These strengths are channeled by the Constitution into our foreign policy tradition. U.S. strategy abroad—while not successful in every instance—has brought us from being a world-affairs backwater to being the world’s superpower.
As we think about our future and new strategies, it would serve us well to look back at old truths. We must hold fast to foundational principles. We must continue our rich foreign policy tradition, and vigorously fight any efforts to undermine it. While each Congress and president will have particular differences, we should all share the same goal: a world of peace and freedom, of prosperity and opportunity, of hope. We have a duty to be true to our beliefs, to use our great power wisely on behalf of freedom, guided by constitutional principle. As Ronald Reagan admonished in his speech to the British Parliament in 1982, “Let us go to our strength. Let us offer hope. Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable.”