I’m watching video of the Q&A now. He’s going on about Iran; I’ll update if anything exciting is said. In the meantime, I commend the speech to you, which has some elegant passages. Here’s the gist, using Harold MacMillan’s famous line about “events” as a springboard to argue for staying on the offensive:
No matter how clear the signals, sometimes in history even the best of men failed to act in time to prevent the worst from happening.
The United States and the United Kingdom have learned this lesson both ways – in great evils ignored, and in great evils averted. We learned it from a World War that happened and, in the decades afterward, from the World War that didn’t happen.
We must conclude that the greatest test of leadership – in your country or mine, in this time or any other – can be simply stated. We must shape events, and not be left at their mercy. And in all things, to protect ourselves and to assure the peace, the great democracies of the world must stick together. We must be willing to make tough decisions today in order to avert bigger problems tomorrow. We must be prepared to meet threats before threats become tragedies…
We in this alliance have had our own share of hopes mocked and plans upset. And now it is time to shake off the disappointments, to let go of controversies past, and to press on together toward the great objectives. To ensure security for our people. To be a force for stability in the world. To remain the stalwart friends of freedom.
For our part, we in the United States have never had occasion to doubt the fortitude and faithfulness of the British people. As much as ever, we count ourselves lucky to call the United Kingdom our closest ally, and we are proud to call you our finest friend.
The nod to Tony Blair, although only a few lines, is also affecting. More of this, less of the cornpone stuff, and we’re all good.
28-27, baby. This thing might be happening.