Paul Ryan gave an excellent speech to the Alexander Hamilton Society tonight that began like this:
Some of you might be wondering why the House Budget Committee chairman is standing here addressing a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy. What can I tell you that you don’t already know?
The short answer is, not much. But if there’s one thing I could say with complete confidence about American foreign policy, it is this: Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power.
This is an important point, and obviously meshes well with Ryan’s speciality as a fiscal policy wonk. But he went on to lay out a detailed vision of America’s role in the world. From balancing American values and American interests in the Middle East to managing our relationship with China to expanding free trade, he gets everything exactly right. Read the whole speech here.
His dive into foreign policy is mentioned in this Jon Ward report on hints that Ryan might jump into the presidential race. I’ve long thought that a member of the House becoming president without ever having won a statewide race is highly unlikely, and that the Budget Committee is where Ryan’s talents are needed — as Dick Cheney put it last week, a presidential run could “ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do.” But this speech, coupled with his smart and sophisticated domestic policy views, makes clear that we could do a lot worse than Paul Ryan in the White House, and probably will.