A manifesto for conservative realism

The truth is, you can’t solve a dignity problem with military force. It was Secretary Gates who warned that our foreign policy has become over-militarized.

Yes, we need a hammer ready, but not every civil war is a nail.

There is a time to eliminate our enemies, but there is also a time to cultivate allies and encouragers among civilized Muslim nations.

Those of you who are familiar with me know that I deeply believe in individual liberty.

But I have learned through experience that this ideal can only be achieved by recognizing, as Bismarck said, that, policy is the art of the possible.

We need a foreign policy that recognizes our limits and preserves our might, a common-sense conservative realism of strength and action.

We can’t retreat from the world, but we can’t remake it in our own image either.

We can’t and shouldn’t engage in nation building, but we can facilitate trade and extend the blessings of freedom and free markets around the world.