Video Video Audio Transcripts Pictures
Speech to the National Jewish Coalition
Alan Keyes
November 28, 1995

Gary Pollard: We now have the honor of hearing our third candidate for the office of President. I think we have an outstanding field for our presidential candidates as Republicans. It's a great honor for me today to be given the honor and responsibility to introduce to you Ambassador Alan Keyes. I think it can honestly be said that Alan Keyes has seen the worst the world has to offer. As a radio talk show host, as an educator, as an orator he has had the opportunity to talk with people from all over this great country and see the wealth of spirit, and courage, and compassion of the American people. And as well as that, he has seen the bad things.

As US Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and as an Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, he saw how terrible life is for people living without freedom, and how brutal and nasty things can get in the international arena. And sometimes we forget that, even in today's world, most of the world does not live in a free country.

Today he comes to us with a compelling message, that all Americans who care about the future of our country must hear. It's a message that's very important for us as Republicans and for us as Americans and for us as Jewish Americans.

It's a great honor for me today to introduce to you Ambassador Alan Keyes.

Alan Keyes: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to be here, and come up on stage. You've got to know that I feel good when I come up on stage and the first face I see is Chuck Lichenstein's face! Hi, Chuck! How are you? A reminder of my days at the United Nations when we were fighting the good fight against those tendencies and forces in the world that denigrate American policy and freedom and all of those other important values that we hold dear, or profess to hold dear.

It's interesting. We have them in our mouths all the time. I wonder sometimes how serious we are about them? I guess the test comes at critical moments when we're called upon to do something about it--called upon to make judgments or accept responsibilities that will actually require that we meet sacrifices and bear what turns out to be sometimes the very difficult burden of being a free people that can never deny its interest in maintaining and preserving that justice which is the foundation of human freedom.

And I think I can be pretty sure that I share with this audience a sense of how important that is. But there again, you know, I wonder sometimes. We don't always think things through. And that can create great problems. I used to think about this when I was at the United Nations--in those times, particularly, when I was called upon, as I was frequently while I was there, to deal with what was an orchestrated hostility in the UN context toward America's relationship with Israel.

You know, Israel had--I imagine it still has, unhappily--some countries in the United Nations that don't care for it very much, and don't respect its existence. And they were, in the course of my tenure there--they're very vocal, and they do it everywhere. And you'd actually think it very odd, I was the Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council, and yet I would have to say that I spent 50-, 60-, 70-percent of my time dealing with political issues and dealing with issues like the US-Israeli relationship, our policy toward the Middle East, because in every environment out there in the UN, wherever I was--could be a population conference, it could be an economic conference, could be anything in the world, they would bring up their criticisms of the US partnership with Israel.

And I don't know, maybe out of some peculiar judgments about my predilections, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, for whom I was working then, seemed to think it was good idea to send me out as the paladin to fight these battles. And so I ended up, quite often, going into these forays and dealing with these issues. And you know what I discovered, particularly in the course of those battles, and talking to Americans thereafter about why it was important that we maintain the US-Israeli partnership?

What I discovered was that at one level, it's not always an easy argument to sustain, at one level--and that is the level where people start dealing in purely material factors, and they talk about the geopolitics, what we have to gain, what we have to lose, who we have to please, where the oil is, where it comes from, how much it means to us, all of these kinds of geopolitical, and geo-economic, and strategic considerations.

And it occurred to me in the course of my time dealing at great intensity with those issues that, you know, in the end, you can't sustain the argument in favor of a strong partnership with Israel on the basis of those considerations.

The world has an unwieldy way of changing, so that folks can actually believe that there might even be geo-strategic reasons why we should abandon the partnership. Folks in the State Department have a tendency to think this way, you know. They actually see our relationship with Israel as a pain in the neck--as something that interferes with our ability to deal, in friendly fashion, with the more numerous countries of the Arab world. I sometimes think that that affected their mind very greatly, because being as how there were more Arab clients, the "go along to get along" attitude of the State Department meant that they were more interested in trying to smooth the relationships with those clients--and very often, the need to stand firmly in our relationship with Israel interfered with that.

Leads you to wonder, why sustain it, then? What is the best case that we can make? And it turns out, of course, the best case that we can make is not at a geo-strategic level. It's at the level of our moral identity. With the nature, with the goals, with the aspirations, with the principles, with the values of the people of the state of Israel.

I actually found that to be true over all in the world. I find it to be true right now as I contemplate Mr. Clinton's speech last night, in which he says we must commit our forces to Bosnia, because--I don't know; his speech seemed to be written without any particular attention to the details of this situation. So we are to commit our forces to Bosnia because we like Europe, and Europe is important, and it's there, therefore we should do this.

Didn't sound like a really good argument to me. But what occurred to me was that if you get into a situation like that with a vague understanding of what is at stake, and then, God forbid, you know the world works this way sometimes, things get difficult, and it really starts to test your will--what do you think is really going to sustain the country at that point? Just as, a for instance, we get into Bosnia and it turns out that we actually find that the peace breaks down and peace-keeping becomes war-making, and our troops start to die, and we start to ask ourselves questions about why we're there and what we're doing, and so forth--what do you think is going to be the way it's handled? See, I think I know. Because when we really get down to it, and issues of war and peace--all of those geo-strategic things go by the boards. And you go back and you look at the speeches of our great Presidents and statesmen, and it turns out that when push comes to shove in those moments, the arguments they appeal to are arguments that stir the moral sentiments of this nation, and that call upon our willingness to moral commitments, to the things that we believe are right.

It's very difficult, in fact, to ask people to go out and risk their lives and die, particularly citizens of a free country, when what you're telling them is that they're risking their lives and dying for simply materialistic considerations. Because at the end of the day what does that boil down to for people who are about to die, or who are risking death? It amounts to arguing to them a prosperity they will not enjoy, houses they will not live in, and material things that they will not be able to make use of are the reason that they should give up their lives.

This doesn't really cut it in human affairs, and it never has. In the end, when you deal with war and peace, you deal with the moral dimension of human life. It's inevitable, anyway, because when you send folks into a battle situation we always think about it as I just put it, you know, risking death.

Do you know what you risk even more than death? You risk taking someone else's life! I would think that that's an even greater burden, because that's a burden that can kill the spirit, if wrongly done. That's a burden that can leave you alive and yet a walking wounded--never to be healed of the sense that, somehow or other, you were complicit in an act that put you on the wrong side of the most important issues.

See, that's what would weigh most on my conscience as President. Because, re: the old saying, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, "Oh, it is sweet and proper that one should die for one's country." There is, in fact, a certain almost satisfaction and glory in a death given for the sake of one's nation. So there is always a redeeming aspect to the grief one feels, something that allows us to be elevated and to look back upon the life lost as a life nonetheless fulfilled.

But even a life kept burdened by the thought that you have gone out and committed what is, after all, the most ambitious deed most of us can commit, which is to kill another person, and that you've done it for the wrong reasons, that would be hard to live with--harder to face even than death, I would think, for a person of decent conscience.

So in the end, the most important argument you have to make about war is not the geopolitical one, it's not the strategic one, it's not the interest-based materialistic one. It's the moral one. Because, for a people like ourselves, it is that understanding that will sustain us through the darkest days of war and will give to those who fight for us the heart to do so with a will. And you know, it's will that wins, in the end, in war. That, and nothing else.

And so when I look at things like Israel, when I look at the international situation, I guess I think about it a little differently than some. Because, in addition to all the other things we have to think about, I'm always wondering what these situations look like in the light of what ought to be our standards for judging of right and wrong and justice and injustice--so that we not only use the fair words of freedom and idealism when the crunch comes, and we're not trying to stir the nation up to support policies we never thought through on that basis, but instead we think them through on that basis before we commit our forces to situations that will face us, in the end, with these moral challenges.

And that's why, these days, you know, I'm accused of being a candidate who talks about morality all the time. There was a young lady in New Hampshire who accused me of that. She came up to me and said, "You're the candidate who talks about morality all the time, aren't you? How can you DO that," she says, "when it's such a divisive issue, and we can't agree about that?!" And I was really taken aback by this, because it struck me as sad that we are raising a generation of young people who believe that, as Americans, there is no ground for moral agreement.

You realize, of course, that if what I was just saying about our international life is true, and there is no ground for moral agreement, then in the end there is no basis on which we will sustain the will, successfully, to prosecute war when we must. Lose the moral understanding that allows you to come together for the sake of the moral goals for which you are willing to give your lives--lose that, and you won't be able to sustain yourself in the adversity of war, and in the face of its more gruesome challenges. So as long as it's easy, of course, we'll be all right.

That's why Clinton was absolutely correct. If you've got to make a bad decision to go into another country, Haiti was the right one. Because, to send the world's most powerful military force against what's arguably the world's least powerful, this was the situation in which to test your mettle, in the event that you don't really have any. [laughter, applause]

I think maybe, though, Bosnia may prove to be a little different than that. Now I could be wrong here, but the little that I know of the history of that region--these were at least some of the people who held the Nazis at bay during World War II, which was no mean achievement, by the way, because my little reading in that area suggests to me that the Germans, man for man, were actually the best fighters in Europe. You hold them at bay, and you were doing something, especially when you didn't have much to work with.

So I hope that the President is right in his judgment, and I certainly hope the Secretary of Defense is right when he says we're putting our troops into no danger. I think it's kind of a stupid remark for a Secretary of Defense, though, because if you're putting your troops into no danger why don't we send them there armed like the bobbies?

I'll tell you why we send them armed to the teeth: because there is danger. Because every time you deploy military forces into a volatile situation where war has gone on and may go on again, there is danger--and we'd better be prepared to deal with its consequences. And that means that we'd better be prepared to know that for the sake of which we have committed ourselves to this struggle.

And in the end, when I used to go around talking about the US-Israeli relationship, that was the point I always used to stress most of all, because I think it is the moral identity between the United States and Israel that is most important. But to sustain that, you know, requires that we have an understanding of our common moral ground. And believe it or not, that's how I can come before this audience and focus your attention on something that, well, some of you probably don't want to hear--but I have a tendency to talk about things people don't want to hear.

The moral principles that this nation stands on are not principles lost in the mists of time. They're not things that we are making up as we go along. In fact, we know what they are. They were clearly articulated when the nation was founded. They have been at various reprises in our history hallowed with the blood of our patriots, and called upon by those who were in this nation living without justice. And they have been used successfully to motivate our will in war, and to move our conscience in times of peace, to shape this nation's institutions in light of its better principles.

And I'm grateful for that. It's one of those things I'm thankful for every day about being in America. Not that this was a perfect country, or people did things right, or all those stories the leftists like to tell about how nasty we were to the Indians and to black folks, and so forth--I mean, this is true! Should I deny this? Don't expect me to. But at the same time, at the beginning of our history, we set down certain principles, and those principles are so true that, in spite of all our human frailty and weakness, and in spite of the whole weight of human history which was against the quest for real justice, we have managed decade by decade through these two centuries and more of our existence to move in the direction of greater and greater respect for what they mean.

You know what I'm speaking of, of course, especially if you were not educated in the last ten years. I'm speaking of the words in the Declaration. You know, sadly speaking, that's not funny because our kids really don't know this document any more. I'm encountering it all over the country, including people who come up to me grateful that I should talk about it because, oh yeah they had that in school, but, one young lady was telling me that when they did that section where they were supposed to talk about the Declaration, they handed it out on a paper where the writing was so small they couldn't really read it. And they didn't talk about it much except to comment on its various deficiencies. Yeah.

But its words still ring down through our history with a decisive truth: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." Everything we are, everything we claim to be as a free people is summarized in that principle, depends on those words being true. If those words are not true, then this whole experiment in self-government is absurd, and has no real foundation in the human desire for justice and right.

And when we have gone abroad and we use those wonderful ringing words of freedom, and so forth and so on--which of course Mr. Clinton was applying again last night--it is those principles, summarized with those words that give content to our understanding of the liberty for the sake of which we fight for ourselves and for the rest of humankind. So what happens, do you think, if we back away from those words and sort of toss them down the toilet of history, if, in our practice, we abandon them in favor if an understanding of freedom that disregards the meaning and consequence of those principles?

What happens to us? Well, I think we lose our way like someone who drops his compass in the wilderness, or when the stars disappear behind the clouds on a night when you've forgotten to take a reading and your ship sails on, but you know not where--because our guiding star, our guiding principles, our essential selves would be lost, be gone. And that was one of the powerful arguments that was used during the course of the 50's and 60's in the civil rights movement. A lot of people forget that, but it was. We were very conscious of the fact that if we continue to disregard our basic principles at home, those principles would lose credibility and we would lose our will in the struggle to defend them around the world.

People said it. It made an impression, because it is true that if you let the principles crumble at home, you will not have the will to defend them to the death anywhere. So then how are you going to send people out to risk their lives in the name of a freedom that has no more than a cynical significance to any of this, because we are violating it in what we do, and what we think, and what we are? Doesn't work.

So that gets me to my concluding point, since I want to leave a few minutes for questions. [Keyes turns to host] Would I be doing that? Because I forgot to bring my watch up! I always bring it up, put it back on and so forth and so on. But that brings me to my concluding point because, you see, those principles have certain implications. Their implication in the 19th century was that slavery was wrong--we had to do something about it. It took us a while, we struggled hard with it, it cost us a terrible war and lots of bloodshed, but in the end, to reconcile ourselves with our principles, we had to do away with this institution that violated them.

You come forward into the 20th century, and again, we had allowed an accretion to develop in the nation's life--racism, discrimination based on race, and we had to deal with that too! And then along the way there were other things, how we deal with our children, and how we regard the equal rights of women, all under the same rubric that we must respect those basic principles of the Declaration.

Now, I've got to tell you that we are, today, in the midst of a crisis quieter than those others, but more deadly--in which we are, once again, embroiled in this business of throwing the Declaration down the toilet, because it's inconvenient for us today. And it's not going to work any more than it did in the past. See, because the Declaration is very clear, you are human beings. If I get the sudden urge to walk through the audience and kill you, according to the Declaration, I will have transgressed against your basic rights. I have no right to do that.

Now, it could be that when someone asks me why I did that I could say, "Well these are just Jewish people, and they're not human." The Nazis did that: "They're subhuman. We don't have to care about their lives. We can slaughter and exterminate them because that's a judgment we get to make. Our scientific experts have said this. They have panels that determine these things, you all know this."

And some human beings met the test of "real humanity" and others did not. Many of us here would not. We didn't qualify. And therefore our lives meant nothing, and when you took them in whatever numbers, that also meant nothing. It had no moral significance. You could do your day's work at the gas chambers, and then sit around drinking and singing the Horst Wessel song in the evening and feel real good about yourself. Because, according to the moral premises that were infecting your mind, if people were not human enough for you, they could be exterminated without regard for any principles of conscience.

See, those principles of conscience are real important. And what are they based on? They're based on this notion that you can't just disregard the humanity of others because you choose to do so. Can't do it. And our Declaration's really clear about that--you know why? Because it says, not that we are all equal because we agree on it, or that we are all equal because the Constitution says so, or the Bill of Rights says so. This is what this young lady said to me. I asked her whether she thought she had rights, and she said, "Yes." And I said, "Where do they come from?" and she said, "From the Constitution." And I sort of shook my head and she said, "Well of course, from the Bill of Rights!"

This is what they're teaching them these days, and I said, "Well, this would be kind of strange, because when the Revolution was fought, there was no Constitution and no Bill of Rights, and yet the Founders said they were doing it in the name of their human rights"--kind of strange isn't it?

You see, the Declaration tells us clearly where rights come from: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed," not by the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Supreme Court, or anybody else, they're endowed "by their Creator."

Very important word, that, you see, because what it means is that you and I don't have anything to do with it. Our will and our judgments and our choices have nothing to do with it. Our humanity and the unalienable rights attendant upon our humanity depend only upon this, the will of the Creator, God. The will of the Creator, God--not at a moment of our choosing or involvement, but at the moment of creation, which is a moment reserved exclusively for His power and will.

See, that puts us out of the picture. That's why I don't get to disrespect your humanity because I have no choice about it. God made you human, that's it. I don't get to choose. Now you know where I'm going, don't you? See, because we have a movement in this country now, calls itself "pro-choice," but it, once again, is like the people who were like Stephen Douglas, they were pro-slavery, didn't care if it was voted up or voted down so long as it was done by popular choice and state vote. And then Lincoln stood up, good Republican, Lincoln--a defining Republican, in fact. We need to remember him, because he had a rather better understanding of these things than some people these days, including the person you just heard from who's one of these Stephen Douglas Republicans who thinks that we get to vote up and vote down the principles of the Declaration.

We don't get to do that in our state legislatures. We don't get to do that in the Congress. And we don't get to do it in the Supreme Court, and we don't get to do it with our choices and our hearts with respect to the innocent lives of unborn children in the womb, because it's not our choice.

We have no right to violate those rights and that humanity which come not from our choice but from the hand of God! [applause]

And I'll tell you something. I say it with a will here knowing that there may be people offended by it, but I think we'd better wake up! I'm smart enough to understand that if we take the principles of the Declaration and toss them down the toilet, you can be confident, the first people they will come for will be mine, but you will not be long after, when they have decided once again that humanity is a matter of choice, when we know it is a matter of God's will beyond our choice!

And if we lose that ground to stand on, then there will be no safe refuge for any of us, for human will and human ambition have proven themselves in this century to know no barriers of shame, no barriers of conscience whatsoever.

Power armed with that shameless immorality will never cease in its thirst for our innocent blood!

So I think that, as a nation, we really need to wake up here. I don't see how we can come to the end of the 20th century and not realize how deadly is the effect of disregarding the moral principles which make it clear to us and to all the world that human dignity has a ground that no human being has any right to deny or to "choose" to disrespect.

And that not only means Nazis at the gas chamber, it also means women in the quiet of their hearts, in their choice to respect or disrespect the humanity of their unborn children!

I wanted to leave that thought with you. See, I'm not sure it will win me any votes. [laughter] Oh! You think that's funny! Yes, everybody thinks this is funny because America is about winning votes.

No, it's not.

People are going to win elections, they're going to lose elections. If this country keeps on electing people who either do not understand or are not willing to stand up and respect its principles, it won't matter who wins and who loses, because the Republic and our freedom will be lost.

And that's what you need to take to heart today. Because whatever choice you have to make in the electoral season, it ought to be made in light of the history of the 20th century, where it was not the material conflicts in all this that really led to war. It was the shameless destruction of human conscience by devilish demagogues who understood how to unleash the principles of righteousness on the side of evil!

And there's only one way to prevent that from happening, and that is to remember that there is a God. And we are not Him.

Thank you very much.

(thunderous applause)

Q & A session

Gary Pollard: Alan Keyes, thank you very much for inspirational words, and for bringing to close . . .

Alan Keyes: . . . let me take a couple questions?

Gary Pollard: Take a couple questions?

Alan Keyes: Sure! I like questions.

Gary Pollard: Yeah. Sure, Alan. Good.

Alan Keyes: They tell me I actually have time for a couple of questions.

Question: I really admire your passion on the subject of pro-life. And I'm kind of in the middle of all of this. But it seems to me we are so completely torn between the Republicans on the right and the left of this issue, couldn't there, based on the Jewish Bible--because there are some leeways, women are allowed to have a choice of having a child up until life which is considered to be 3 months. Couldn't somewhere along the line, these positions have some kind of a meeting place on the issue that is not the only issue that matters to our society?

Alan Keyes: Well the question is, isn't there some way that we could compromise on this issue, short of what I am talking about? The question was, isn't there some way that we could, because it's very divisive. "It's tearing the Republican Party apart. It's going to tear the country apart." Isn't there a way we could compromise, short of, you know, the principle I've articulated?

The short answer to that question is: no, there isn't.

See, because I'm very careful. I did not refer to biblical principles in anything that I said today because this is a country that rests on a foundation that harmonizes with biblical principles but is not, in any explicit sense, resting on them, because the Declaration of Independence is the ground.

But the Declaration's very clear! And it doesn't say we have leeway on this point. It says our rights come from God, and that they are unalienable--which means that we don't even have the right to surrender them, much less take them from anybody else!

Everybody seems to think that freedom is simply a choice, and it's not. Our understanding of freedom is also a constraint upon our use of that freedom. We cannot act in such a way as to give away or destroy it. And that leaves us with no choice. And it is true, some people can stand up and say, "It's not so vital to our future." Yes, it is. This Republic will not survive if we don't get this issue right. It corrupts everything!

It corrupts our heart for family life. It corrupts our understanding of freedom, and it corrupts our understanding of responsibility. Without family, without a right understanding of freedom, and without a sense of responsibility, this Republic can't survive! [applause] It can't. (applause growing louder) We have no choice. (applause building) The money will flow. Things will be here. The science will march on. But what we are supposed to represent as a people will be gone!

What it will be replaced with, I don't know. Probably some form of corporate socialism that looks an awful lot like, in its principles, the feudalism of the past. But nothing like what we're supposed to be.

So I don't think we can escape it, and I also don't think it's a divisive issue. The only reason it's a divisive issue is because there are people who don't want to go back and think seriously. Either we are a people of the Declaration, or we're not.

If we are, I challenge and defy anyone to break the logic that I presented here today. Break it, and I'll follow you. Find a way out of it, and I'll follow you. But if those are our principles, the consequence is that every human life must be respected and we have no choice about that. Because once you start making choices, you've got to tell me what the ground of choice is, and if the ground of choice can be applied to any child in the womb then it can be applied to you!

You see? And this is the danger. Don't tell me it won't happen! It has already happened! It has happened to your relatives and ancestors. It has happened to mine! Don't tell me this is not possible.

How can we sit here at the end of the worst century for injustice in the history of the world and not understand how important it is to respect those principles which shape the human conscience for justice!!

It can't be. So I think we've got to face this--not just for our own sakes, but for the sakes of those people around the world whom we still profess to care about.

Question: The United States has certain moral and strategic relationships with certain nations--say, through NATO--where we agree if those nations are attacked that the United States will consider that an attack upon itself. Would President Alan Keyes feel that since we have a moral and maybe a strategic relationship with the State of Israel that we ought to consider an attack upon Israel as an attack upon ourselves? And to further that question, or maybe make it more specific, would you as President feel that we should allow US peacekeeping forces or US military forces to intervene in a peacekeeping arrangement between Syria and Israel?

Alan Keyes: Well, can I answer the latter part first? I don't think it's possible to answer a question like that in the abstract. For instance, I am not in the abstract, in some sense of, you know, rigid rule, against the US intervening in Bosnia. I can imagine circumstances where an intervention in Bosnia would be necessary. If, for instance, we did in fact conclude that systematic genocidal atrocities--ala Nazis--were going on in that situation, if this were our conclusion, then we certainly should intervene. We should have intervened long before now! Because we paid a heavy price for the little bit of progress humanity made as a result of the Second World War. Wasn't a great deal, but it was some! And one of the little bits of progress we made was that human beings don't have to tolerate that kind of thing, and should not, because it leads to much larger consequences. We would have to move. I don't believe that anybody has come to that judgment--because if they have, they would have been immoral to have waited this long to act.

I think the incidents of war are terrible. I think the terrible emotions and passions of war can indeed produce atrocity, but we know that there's a difference between atrocity and genocide. And we must respect that difference or we will never cease to war in the name of peace.

So, I think we have to be careful about that. I don't think the present circumstances in Bosnia justify this intervention. And I think the notion that, right or wrong, we back the President when he makes commitments that, in the light of honest judgment, we do not feel this nation can sustain--that doesn't make any sense. The Constitution wasn't put in there, you know, just as a kind of a thing we disregard. One of the reasons that they had that business about declaring war was that it was understood that Presidents were not to commit us to things like this without consulting the Representatives of the people. And that consultation was not meant to be a rubber stamp on decisions that can't be justified. It was meant to force that justification, and if the justification was not satisfactory, it was meant to give the people a chance to say, "No." And I believe we should exercise that constitutional right.

In the case of Israel, I can imagine circumstances, and most of the ones I imagine at the moment leave me wary of making a commitment beforehand of--i.e., "Yes, the US will put troops on the ground"--because there are certain things I don't want to encourage. And I never like to encourage wishful thinking, especially not when survival is at stake for a country and a people I greatly admire. And wishful thinking in foreign policy greatly characterizes our people at the State Department, who very often mistake the hope for peace and their wish for peace for concrete and objective circumstances that will actually make peace possible.

If and when I saw such circumstances come together, in an agreement that looked to me to reflect objective facts and reality that would sustain it and so forth, certainly I would entertain the possibility of a US role and US help in making that agreement work.

Under present circumstances, I've got to tell you that I don't see that. Because I'm not a big fan of the so-called "peace process" in the Middle East as presently constituted. [applause] I do not think it rests [applause] . . . I do not think it rests on sound and reliable assessments of the objective realities there and of the people we're dealing with. And if somebody were to turn to me and say, "Well, for the sake of an agreement (much like this agreement we just achieved on Bosnia) would you commit US troops?" I would say, "No. Go back and work harder to get an agreement that makes better sense." [applause]

But that would be a judgment that I'd make under the circumstances, because, you know, in foreign policy it's one of the things you've got to understand. You can have a general principle that guides your judgment, but you can have no rigid rules. What you do in foreign policy is adapt judgment to circumstance, and if you don't do that, you're not serving the country's interest.

Is that it? Thank you. [applause]

Gary Pollard: Alan, thank you.
Terms of use

All content at, unless otherwise noted, is available for private use, and for good-faith sharing with others by way of links, e-mail, and printed copies.

Publishers and websites may obtain permission to re-publish content from the site, provided they contact us, and provided they are also willing to give appropriate attribution.