The Virtues Of A Conservative

July 26, 2021


The Virtues Of A Conservative
July 26, 2021
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Thank you all, thank you all so much. Thank you, thanks everybody, for being here. 

It is awesome to be back here, but it always concerns me when people applaud that much before I speak.  So, we’ll see how you feel afterwards. 

Ben, thank you for those kind words. I’m standing in front of a sign that’s about Reagan’s famous speech. I have to tell you for someone like me; it is so deeply humbling. Bless you all for giving me this incredible opportunity. 

Honored guests and friends.

To be in this place, to be at the Reagan Library and Museum, is a rare honor, and I know that.  For within this incredible structure lies the soul of one of the world’s greatest statesmen. 

This marvelous venue, my wife and I were talking about this tonight as we walked in… I will speak from my heart, I’m no longer a diplomat, so it’s Mike Pompeo unplugged. 

But I’ll do it from my heart because this is a resting place of one of my heroes.  A man who with his beloved wife, Nancy, chose this place. 

The American family, the faith we have in God and our country, and the hard work ─ fused with moral courage and introspection ─ built our nation into the greatest force for good the world has ever known.

But it’s been suggested; it’s a different time and, unless we act now to assert faith and morality, our nation cannot and will not be strong.  And as I saw as America’s 70th Secretary of State, if America is not strong, the world will be at the mercy of tyrants and enter an era we dare not imagine.

I am forever grateful I came of age to serve my country during the Reagan Presidency. He was my commander-in-chief when I was at West Point.   

Now, four decades ago, before I even got my appointment, I grew up not too far south of here in Santa Ana.  I studied the life of my future commander-in-chief – I had no idea.  But he came, even then, to define my conception and that of my entire class of what it means to be truly American. 

That’s what I want to talk about tonight as we think about how our party moves forward. 

Because though Ronald Reagan oversaw the rebuilding of America’s military, he did soin order that our nation would maintain peace through strength.  It was always about peace.  Our 40th president hated war.

He thus set an indelible standard that graduates of my academy, West Point, must always be soldiers of peace.

He reminded me of a story.  I was competing for a graduate scholarship – I came back to California for an interview.  I was asked by the Chairman of the Board of Regents at the University of California why there was no peace academy.  It was not a kind question.

I was very nervous in this interview, but I answered.  I said, “Well, that’s the school I go to.”  That there were these five institutions: West Point, The Naval Academy, Air Force and those of the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine – all aimed singularly at achieving peace.  Indeed, our profession was one of peace.

In January of 2021, I was on the other end of my time in government service.  I designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.  It was the right thing to do – it promoted freedom and peace.  We all need to support their effort to enjoy the liberty and freedom which we have.  Every one of us, every one of us who loves freedom, stands with the sons and daughters of Cuba who simply seek to be outside of the tyranny of the Cuban regime in despots.  May God bless them in their fight, and may we all stand with them.

So, when I was elected to Congress, and then made the Director of the CIA and then later confirmed as a Secretary of State, my thoughts, concerning the challenges that I would face, always placed before me President Reagan’s image, for he truly exemplified a joyous, nobility of spirit, without which no leader can command.

He was, of course, known for his incomparable humor.  I remember the story of when he had a phone call with the Soviet head of state.  And he said to his staff, “We’ve made a breakthrough with the proposal to rid nuclear weapons from the world.  He said General Secretary Andropov agreed to meet us halfway.  He agreed to take our side to zero.”

I had the same conversation with President Putin, but I remember too that Reagan persevered in the conversation for peace.

His vision for the Strategic Arms Treaty led to the elimination of massive numbers of nuclear weapons by both countries, and ultimately the treaty’s ratification in the United States Senate.  His vision backed by crippling sanctions on the Soviet economy and its planned natural gas pipeline to the West caused the empire’s ultimate dissolution and military concessions that otherwise would have been inconceivable.

President Reagan’s statecraft informed my work, that I did alongside President Trump, to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.  It also provided a template for our actions to contain Vladimir Putin.

Unfortunately, what we’ve accomplished has been cast aside by the deep state in Washington in just six short months.

In their backdoor negotiations with Iran and their elimination of the sanctions to inhibit Russia from supplying natural gas to Germany, they have put our world at risk.  It’s weakness, and weakness begets war.

You know, Ben suggested this isn’t about thinking about what President Reagan would do if he was faced with the world of today when we’re so divided.  But I harken back to him for inspiration.  And while I do not pretend to have the complete answer, I do believe I know the path the giant would chart, for it would begin with faith – something Ronald Reagan talked about and believed in.

Faith has, too, been my strength and that of my wife, Susan.

Susan and I know that without God’s grace, it is immensely difficult to lead.  For a soldier to lead his brothers and sisters into battle without faith is almost impossible for the sacrifices that may be demanded exceed any recompense that one might receive in this world.

To those serving in harm’s way, it is the certain knowledge of everlasting life after this existence that conveys undaunted courage to the weary and implacable resolve to the reticence of some.  Indeed, it is faith that imbues fearlessness – we all know this.

This is the truth George Washington understood when he commanded a force of farmers, hunters, merchants to victory over the greatest Army and Navy that the world had at that time known.

This is the very wisdom that President Reagan expressed when he defeated the undefeatable, evil empire – the Soviet Union.  You’ll recall he did that without war but with a heart absolutely full of faith.

We all should draw on these immortal examples if we are to meet the grave challenges that now face our country.  And if we’re to lead our party forward, to reclaim America – which I believe only our party can do – there is literally no more important resource than our churches, our synagogues, our mosques, and temples that grace all of this United States of America.

There is no more important need – none – than to hear their voices when they state that: We must return to our moral core, lest all be lost.

If we do not restore our character, its leadership and its exceptionalism, trouble lies ahead.  The enunciation of faith is absolutely paramount.

Our proclamation within the halls of power that God’s relationship is with the individual and not the collective is at the center of the American dream.

Fellowship and mutual respect are born from this realization, from our spirits, are the creation of God, and what is God’s must never be disrespected, no matter our station in life, no matter our accomplishments in life.

And as conservatives, we need to communicate our belief that everyone is endowed with dignity that must be respected because we all bear the mark of our Creator.

This idea is the means to bring our divided country together without hatred and without acrimony.  It’s also an idea that the statists reject.  This is their Achilles’ heel, and it is revealed by the actions of privileged elites who applaud what they, themselves, would simply not do, as they use and take advantage of those they pretend to support.

This is why true conservatism in America declined after the Reagan presidency.

The administration, which I was a part of, brought grit, we bought populism and a disruptive innovation to revive conservative principles.

I’m proud to have helped President Trump destroy ISIS and its leadership.  In doing so, we fulfilled my highest calling as a Secretary of State.  I made sure our young men and women would be placed in harm’s way with less intensity and with less frequency, and I am confident that we saved innumerable lives, American and other, and ended unendurable suffering.

I’m proud too of the work we did.  I spoke about this on this stage before we terminated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ─ the silly Iran nuclear deal ─ that would have aided this terrorist nation to amass the resources to build a nuclear weapon.  We should never forget the purpose that those weapons were being built was to destroy the United States and, of course, the little Satan, Israel.

I’m proud that we took decisive action to end the reign of terror of Qasem Soleimani, who was headed Iran’s murderous Quds Force, and much like Reagan’s sanctions of the regime of the Soviet Union, we put sanctions on the Iranian regime, and we made a real movement to gain freedom for the Iranian people.

I’m proud too that we moved our embassy, the American embassy, in Israel to Jerusalem.  Too many presidents had taken a pass.  We were prepared to break glass to secure American freedom and to make friends with great nations around the world.  This is what our party must continue to do.  This demonstration of resolve and unalterable support for Israel encouraged four Muslim majority nations to make a real peace with the Jewish state.

In March of last year, I spoke at some length at another presidential library not too far from here, talking about how our administration was the first to stare down China, to hold them to account for the Wuhan virus.  For that tyrannical regime’s orchestrated cover-up that poisoned the world and killed millions and China’s ongoing theft of American technology and prosperity, and most critically, millions of American jobs.

Every nation’s history is made one decision at a time.

Throughout our administration, domestic and foreign policy teams were numerous.  The Left seized upon the President’s presentation, his style, to disrupt his term and to thwart his chances for reelection.

Since the end of World War II, America has made many correct decisions, bringing democratic institutions to former enemies and unending, unprecedented economic security to much of the world.  We averted global nuclear war, but we have also faltered.

Too many times, we have forgotten that our greatest gift to other nations is the American example.  It’s not the force of arms.

At home, we have tarnished our institutions and have compromised our belief in limited government and the necessity for a separation of powers.  You all know this. We see it every day.  We’ve allowed our courts to legislate, we’ve allowed the executive to dictate, and we’ve allowed Congress to exceed its bounds of constitutional authorities. 

Today, in America’s biggest cities, in San Francisco and Chicago and New York, and especially in Washington, these cities symbolize a dysfunction that is grasped by friends and our adversaries too.

We can’t paper over this crisis.  Our party must never do that.  We have an absolute obligation to our children.  We have an obligation to our children to restore what we’ve lost.

In studying our history to map our future, we, as a movement, we, as a party, must reintroduce our nation to conservatism – something I’ve been in the fight for too many decades now.  Today, all of us stand upon a promontory from which we survey our nation’s history: the good, the bad, the fair, and frankly, the unjust.

We don’t shrink away from any of it, not a single aspect, not, not any part of our history, nor are we ashamed ─ because we have overcome, we have prevailed, and we have forsworn that which is corruptive of America’s most relevant ideals.

You talked about optimism going forward.  You should know I’m long America.  Joy and hope must transcend our nation’s present deterioration and discord, and we can do it.  Our party can lead the way.

And it’s with this understanding, for our past, that we must openly understand and profess our faith, our devotion to families, and proclaim, unapologetically, the words that I’m an American.  Now, this is easier said and hard to do, and I have been imperfect – my wife describes me as an authentic Christian.

We must not look upon our opponents in anger, for it is ablative to virtue and corrosive to our judgment.

James Madison, the father of our founding document, our Constitution, believed that both openness and boldness, but not rancor, were vital for American leadership.

President Lincoln described it this way.  He did not look upon as many adversaries and detractors in fury, but in righteousness, for it was in righteousness that King David thanked a loving God, who fortified and enabled him.

Psalm 41:12 recites David’s gratitude.  It says, “Because of my integrity, you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.”

You know, today, many elected officials publicly state that integrity is priceless.  Maybe that’s why so few of them have bought so much?

Virtues.  Virtues are developed.  They’re developed through God’s grace and are the foundation of our Republic and of all human happiness.

It was Frederick Douglass who stated that “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”

He went on to say these words again.  He gave these words again on the occasion of the twenty-third anniversary of the Emancipation of the District of Columbia.  Indeed, I do not believe that any truer words have ever been spoken.

The antidote to strife is a virtue.

America’s virtues are not represented by our wealth.  Our virtues are our wealth.

America is strongest when we act according to our founding documents, which faith has imbued.  We are the weakest when we disregard that absolutely priceless heritage.

I want to talk today about four virtues.  There are many.  I believe these virtues define conservatism and must define our party as we move it forward.  For it is these qualities that will permit our nation to vanquish threats of unparalleled scope and danger, which include internal collapse, China’s reach, terrorism fueled from the Islamic regime in Iran, and new risks that we’re frankly just now beginning to understand.

The first virtue is vision.

What is often most difficult to envision is that it’s right in front of us, the things we see.  It’s right before our gaze. 

Presuppositions distort what we see to the extent that two observers of the very same facts may differ in every detail of what they recall.  This happens to Susan and me all the time. 

Indeed, Congress resembles a carnival funhouse in some ways, for it’s so partisan, the mirrors distort, they compress, they enlarge critical issues that could otherwise be resolved if only they could be observed as they truly are.  This was something I’m proud that we did in how we secured freedom for America.  We saw the world for what it really was, not as we wished it to be. 

Narratives.  Narratives have replaced reality.  Deprecating fictions concerning the establishment of our nation are presented as facts.

I told folks the other day, read the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, and the Bible, not the 1619 Project.  Rather than seek truth, which is hard work, those who seek power demand subservience to stories propagated by disingenuous elites and spewed by unscrupulous politicians enabled by the Internet and by social media.  I see it every day. 

The result.  The result is a nation separated from the truth but bound by narratives that superficially support the dispossessed. But these narratives, these narratives, actually enrich America’s new ruling class ─ the woke billionaire, the star, the politician ─ who believe they are entitled to control the lives of others, though they often have trouble controlling their very own.

This politburo of false virtue believes they are smarter than everyone else, but frankly, in their arrogance, this wealthy and privileged group betrays itself to be destitute, for no government, no elite, and no authority has ever created prosperity and happiness by making itself Lord over men and women who are all born to be free.  President Reagan knew this.

You know another part of vision; another attribute is finding a path forward into the future, a future that cannot be known but which we must all face.

“The challenge of a statesman is to have the vision to dream of a better, safer world and the courage, persistence, and patience to turn that dream into reality.” 

Those aren’t original words. These words were spoken by Ronald Reagan, and I can’t improve on them, but we must observe them.

The second virtue is hope.

The party, which constitutes our opposition, wants to divide us.  They want to drag us down.  It has returned to its roots by generating political power through racial discord and exploitation.  Through these means, the radicals hope to take from us the joy and pride that everyone in this room tonight has in our country.  This, they will not do.

I told my CIA officers on their first day; I tried to meet with the new class every day that showed up.  I told them that if you couldn’t find joy someplace in your day, every day, then you were in the wrong place.  Where there is no joy or pride, hope is forfeit.  Where there is no hope, the value and the sanctity of life are diminished and may well in fact, vanish.

Look, we know no nation is faultless, but no nation has pondered and tried to correct its faults more than this one, than the United States of America.

We are proud, for we are free.  But in this realization, we are obliged to be incredibly humble, for we know that our strength comes from our obedience to the Lord and the inalienable rights which He bestowed upon each and every one of us.

The third virtue.  The third virtue is gratitude.

It is extended to those who provided our inheritance of both liberty and abundance, which we must everyday enlarge and convey to the generation that comes behind us.  This is our solemn duty. 

When we think of gratitude, it is thanks for some past act of kindness that comes to mind.  I believe clearly the most powerful form of gratitude, however, is that which is extended into the future to exist throughout time.

Imagine a young infantryman of seventeen who died while serving in the Continental Army at Yorktown.

What would this boy not have given to be part of America today, to enjoy the plenty and freedom that each of us possesses?

We owe it to that young man in liberty, who gave his life to America, so our country could be born, to cherish the values that he bequeathed to us.

Imagine, for just a moment, a proud mother of two daughters, born into slavery, who perished, establishing a new route for the Underground Railroad.  What would this courageous woman not have given to see her children raised in freedom and opportunities of today, rather than to the life of burden that she knew?

We owe it to all Americans, who lived and died under the yoke of oppression, to celebrate what it is we have, to have gratitude.

For, in doing so, we honor their memory and their many sacrifices, for a nation is not forged in perfection but evolves according to its people and, of course, here in America, according to our principles.

Finally, I’d ask you to spend just a moment imagining a Choctaw warrior in 1918, serving in the American Expeditionary Force during the assault on Forest Farm in France.

Aware from his elders’ oral history of the broken treaties and grievous losses suffered by his people, and knowing that Native Americans could not yet vote in our national elections, this incomparably selfless man nonetheless used his tribe’s unique language to confound the German force before him, becoming one of our nation’s first code talkers.

This gallant action helped bring victory to an American army.

But his deeds, this Choctaw soldier demonstrated that while the past informs the present, it must never be an obstacle to a brighter, more vibrant future.  We don’t have to imagine great Americans like this.  They have existed, and they exist today. 

History is the sum total of all these actions, these decisions both good and bad.  We didn’t get it right every day either during our four years.  Brave and irresolute, our nation must move forward.  It cannot be parsed and strained to remove parts that are offensive, for to do so is to rob our past of the richness and complexity that built the road to our present-day and the one that will drive us forward. 

These three stories, these three stories to which the names of many of our forebears may be applied, represent the giants who formed the foundation upon which this great nation rests.

I asked you to imagine what these three persons would not have given to have been part of America today, yet I don’t believe for one second, I don’t believe any of them would have given up their place in history if in so doing they would have altered our country’s character.  These were brave peoples who knew America was great.

For, as in each of our lives, our sorrows, our joys, our failings and our accomplishments form what we will become.  This is true of our nation as well without our belief in a loving God who forgives our sins, who among us would have the moral courage to peer into his or her own heart to discover and to begin to correct the wrongs that America has committed.

I suggested the fourth virtue earlier.  That fourth virtue is forgiveness.

Because it’s through forgiveness that we advance as a united people, it is truly in the majesty that we observe the course of our Republic and the nature of the men and women and who we are as a people.

For we’re all destined to sin, but we are all blessed with the courage as a nation to acknowledge our sins, to right them, to fight to right them, to overcome what is wrong, to fight to overcome what is wrong, and to reflect on our journey to righteousness, which is forever incomplete, but must forever be a constant.

I want to submit to you today that these four virtues must define conservatism and our Republican Party, of which I am so incredibly proud.  Indeed when our party does that, it will define America.  With intrepidity, we must marshal these qualities to confront extraordinary challenges.

Collapse from within is possible.

Race and open borders have become levers for the Left to sow societal disunity.

Immigration.  Immigration without assimilation, illicit drugs, human trafficking, disputed elections and inflationary risk, they’ve become the tools to disassemble our Republic.

In what must surely be an attempt at national suicide, we allow MS-13 assassins to pass through our borders with gang tattoos covering their faces while we are lectured by our media for our obstinacy.

There’s a Marxist theoretician – I don’t often talk about Marxist theoreticians.  His name was Antonio Gramsci.  He’s an important man in history.  He considered freedom servitude.  He endeavored to rescue communism by positing their Western values are themselves cultural hegemony.  Sound familiar?

Western values have brought democratic institutions, technology, and a vast array of achievements to the world – we know this.

And while Gramsci died years ago, I have to ask, why are children being taught his lessons that derive from his invalidated notions in our schools as we sit here today?  

The histories of our heroes should, instead, be taught, men like President Reagan.  We must do this so students may comprehend the potential for excellence that exists within every single person.

There was a fellow; his name was Dr. Norman Borlaug.  I had the privilege to speak in Iowa at an event there celebrating his life.  He was born in 1914.  He created the green revolution.  It was President Carter who wrote that Dr. Borlaug did more than any “individual in history in the battle to end world hunger.”  Borlaug invented the high-yield wheat and agricultural practices that are used in Kansas today and the practices that averted starvation in places like Mexico and India, Pakistan, China and all throughout Africa.

In destitute villages the world over, Norman Borlaug didn’t see race.  He didn’t see religion or color.  He asked a simple question, “Do these people have enough food?”  In so doing, he saved more lives than any person in history.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and countless accolades all across the world, but today there is scarcely mention of Mr. Borlaug in any of our public schools.  This is tragic, and this must change.

We dwell on our faults as if they were unique and not ubiquitous to every land that has ever existed.  When will we teach our children about America’s triumphs and our greatness?  And that answer is that every one of you and our party must make sure that that day is tomorrow. 

Our country is tearing itself apart, and for what?

Anarchy and the elimination of our police cannot bring but death and fear.  Discrimination can’t be fought with more discrimination.

And the form of socialism that is now being praised by the woke politicians and our billionaires will bring democracy to its knees.  It’ll bring us to its knees by culling dissenting opinions while concealing harmful biases in search engines and in social media platforms.

And if we do not act to secure our elections by demanding voter I.D. and on manipulation, we will be governed by forces that are beyond our control.

Now, I’m sufficiently cynical to always ask the question, “Who benefits?”  Well, it’s not America, but an array of global interests that has amassed power and uncountable wealth through their usurpation of the American dream.

This was done by selling or commoditizing the engines of our economy.

We had whole industries that moved to China.

President Trump and I began to stem this tide.  We formulated trade policies that brought unmatched numbers of jobs back here home to the United States of America.

We established energy independence through regulatory reform, unleashing a massive amount of America’s dynamism.

We addressed intellectual property theft, critical materials, and supply chain insecurities.  We saved jobs that belong here and must never again be allowed to be stolen by anyone. 

I know we’re not supposed to look backwards at this event.  But these last 180 days have been something.  This progress that we made has now been countermanded that’s so inconsistent with who we are and must be as a party.

China’s fusion of business and government has become the model for monopolistic corporations that seek permanent market dominance.

Continuous surveillance, uniformity and indoctrination means stability and growth for the most powerful countries in history.

This is the reason why the same entities that exploit slave labor in China lecture us at home about racism, continue to build their empires.  They do it on the backs of slave labor. 

Do these leaders not hear the cries of Uyghur mothers whose babies are torn from their wombs?  You won’t read much about it in our press.

If our press were indeed fair-minded, it would expose this deceit, but they’re owned, and they are bought, and they are silent.

When dominant social media platforms can suspend and then ban a president of the United States, there is too much power in too few hands.

So how does our party respond?  How do we meet this challenge?  To change the present course, we must inform our citizens of the threats to liberty designed to be subtle or unseen, and we must eliminate the constellation of laws and regulations that has granted these corporations almost unlimited and certainly unearned power and wealth.

There are some basic precepts or antitrust laws, Section 230.  These are things that will begin to restore freedom inside of our country.

Now I have spoken about this at some length, the People’s Republic of China represents an absolute existential threat to our country.

Whether the virus that savaged the world came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or not, the Communist Party of China’s allowance of international travel from that city, while permitting almost no internal travel from that source, is an absolutely unpardonable act.

Our party must lead the way in demanding concrete answers concerning the origin of the virus that has caused immense suffering and death.

China nearly possesses the combination of wealth, strength, and population required to unseat the United States as the most powerful nation on earth.

For an awfully long time, we counted on our military and other forms of power to maintain our preeminence.  But these attributes are now in question.

The Chinese Navy is ascendant.  China has stolen trillion dollars in technology from the United States. 

The extent of this theft has enabled dramatic increases in the lethality of their arms.

And so, while we still hold an edge across all our services, we must fundamentally improve our military procurement system and our means of technical education here in our schools at home, or our superiority may well vanish.

I’ve seen this up close running that enormous bureaucracy we call our State Department.  Waste, politics, irresolution; they have no place inside of these bureaucracies.

Our procurement processes, certainly in most of the government, but deeply in the Department of Defense, are marked by the development of weapon systems that produce an inadequate number of weapons and weapons that were canceled before a single operational unit is fielded.

This is frankly done to fool the public into believing a new administration is saving money, when in fact, the opposite is true.  I must say that both parties stand guilty of this.

In this century, tens of billions of dollars have been wasted.

New tanks, dear to my heart.  New tanks, howitzers and helicopters canceled by the military branch in which I served demonstrate this issue’s enormity.

Our weapons are only of use if we actually feel them and put them into the hands of our amazing young men and women.  The answer and our party will have to lead this is to tackle these big bureaucracies and create incentive-based restructuring of our defense and our security procurement systems.  

We can’t be apathetic.  We have to make these changes.  To move forward, we must eliminate entire levels of bureaucracy.  We should start with an enormous bureaucracy known as the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

I mean no harm to anyone who served there.  It has now become politicized

I observed these things so, so close at hand at the Department of State. These institutions are bloated.  They’re unwieldy.  I was accused of not protecting jobs at the State Department, and I was only saddened that I didn’t get rid of more.

I was operating an environment that was unionized.  I operated in an environment that was blatantly woke and dominated by the Left.  These bureaucracies must be brought to heel because they must serve.

And to be strong, we must never politicize or indoctrinate our military.  We can’t permit this to happen.

We must enhance our alliances all across the world.  We worked so hard to build coalitions that defeated ISIS and a big group called “the quad” to push back on China.  We did this alongside friends like Australia and Japan, and India. 

You know, even before COVID, our media, our popular culture, our universities and our international businesses had been forces for democratic development and market creation throughout the globe.  But I must say this is no longer universally true.

Today, China has infiltrated Hollywood and academia, our technology companies and the conglomerates that control America’s media publishing.

Our strength, freedom, has been turned against us.

Communist influence must be eliminated in our country ─ root, and branch. 

This is something president Reagan knew. He began this work, it’s why I shuttered something called Confucius Institutes that were our universities, designating them as foreign missions.

It’s why I closed this crazy thing that the Chinese called the consulate in Houston, which was actually a den of spies.  We must be fearless.  We must be fearless, and our party must lead this.  We must be fearless and imposing proportionate costs on Beijing.

Strength is what China understands, and today we are showing little of it.

You know, China constructed its first overseas base in a place called Djibouti not too long ago.  From that nation’s location near the southern approach to the Suez Canal, the Chinese Navy can affect our trade.

Coupled with other regional redoubts, China, for the first time in history, is positioning itself as a global military power.

And most crucially, China is empowering Iran, having inaugurated a multi-decade strategic partnership.  Can anyone explain why we are sitting at a table with them in Vienna?

You know, though this compact we may be viewed as part of China’s new imperialism, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the risk is treacherous.

Terrorism, disintegration in the Middle East support the interests of both Beijing and Tehran as well as the interest of Moscow.  Because frankly for China, terrorism instigated by Iran diverts American military capabilities.

Iran’s active nuclear weapons program compounds this danger and has been supported surreptitiously by China for decades.

For Iran, its ties to the East constitute an invaluable source of technology, stolen first from the United States and then transferred from China to them.  And China too represents a secure market for the oil that could otherwise be subject to embargo where surging Iran now has a free hand to set loose the terrorists who constitute Hamas and Hezbollah.

In just this short time, the administration has removed sanctions that we imposed to restart negotiations to limit what Iran will never willingly limit: its nuclear weapons program.

This militant state threatens not only Israel and world energy supplies but the Arab states of the Gulf.

We saw Hamas’s recent assault on Israel.  This would not have occurred if America’s support for the Jewish state had not been altered by ambiguous statements and outreach to Israel’s enemies.

As we look forward, we need to remember what President Reagan did and what President Trump and I recognized too.  America’s relationship with Israel must be absolutely unshakable.

If America and Israel act as one, the opponents of peace understand they will never attain victory.

You know, before our administration, the status of Jerusalem always had been a diplomatic chess piece.  Look at my predecessor’s travels, all fine people but how many times can you go from Jerusalem to Ramallah and back and not realize that this simply isn’t going to work.  We knew it.  And so, the eternal capital of the Jewish people became the home for the United States Embassy.

Our decisive action there demonstrated determination.  In doing so, it removed a key obstacle which allowed the Abraham Accords to move forward.  This saw four amazing leaders and four amazing Muslim-majority nations make a real peace with Israel.

We, too, had American energy dominance absolutely at the center of how we thought about our foreign policy because it was critical to our efforts to ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.  We have amazing means.  The Lord has blessed us to be a net energy exporter of fossil fuels and advanced fission power plants.

Sadly, the production of American energy is now being dismembered.  It’s being dismembered on an altar of radical environmentalism.

Does the Left not know that a combination of fossil fuels and nuclear power is literally the only means to provide enough energy, and clean water and sanitation for the many cities in Africa now experiencing explosive growth that can last for them throughout this next century?  There is no alternative. 

By 2100, many of the nation’s most populous countries and cities will be in sub-Saharan Africa.  It will comprise over 700 million people.

And If energy supplies are inadequate, war, pestilence, extremism and exodus will inevitably be the result, and it will come to the United States of America.  Renewable sources of energy can only be supplementary, for their production, of course, is intermittent.

And defacing once-beautiful landscapes, the blades of colossal windmills in states like mine, in Kansas with wind farms eviscerates countless birds and the greatness of our nation.

And even as our national symbol is not spared by the windmills, we know the real risk.

Is this the line that environmentalism wants to draw, the line that it promised our country? 

Conservatives know that this is not the case.  We know how to get safe drinking water and clean air.  We’ve always been great stewards of our lands.

We know this is true.  We know new threats to America rise often.  We’ve seen pandemics.  We’ve seen genetic engineering on the rise.  We’ve seen the effects of cyberwarfare, power-grid disruptions.  We know what happens when artificial intelligence is in the hands of our adversaries.

In the coming months, I will speak to each of these issues at great length and how conservatives should respond to those threats, but as I said earlier: vision matters. 

Vision is the key to meeting these and other challenges. 

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev established the foundations for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. 

You remember this?  It doesn’t get talked about much.  It was done back in 1985, that seems like a long time ago, and for you young people, it seems like forever.

This facility is now being built.  This project will explore the production of fusion energy.

And if successful, Ronald Reagan’s vision will bring to this century the sun’s power to our planet.  Truly clean energy.  Truly clean energy will actually exist in infinite supply.

It required vision and imagination.  He understood that this was exceptionalism.

And since today in our government, we find little of this type of prescience and grit, we must take back the House and the Senate and the presidency.  We must win elections.

And as a native of California, there’s a governorship I’d like to see us get to.

I want to close with a poem because you know I’m such a great poet.  This is a poem called “The Ruin.”  It was written more than a thousand years ago, and it records the remnants of Roman Britain.  Roman Britain had been built centuries before that but lost to time. The poem reads as follows, “This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it; courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.”

This must never be the future of America.  Events may have pushed our nation into a furnace, but the Book of Daniel tells us.  The Book of Daniel tells us that people of faith cannot be harmed by such a test.

And so, with hands on our hearts, we will turn this glowing furnace into a forge. Within it, will form our “rendezvous with destiny.”

We will renew the dream.  We will honor the past. We will chart a brave path forward, for in so doing; we will light the way.  We will light the way for the entire world just as President Reagan would have had it.

Thank you, and God bless you all.