Wall Street Journal article: The World Again Needs American Leadership

This article was first published in the Wall Street Journal

For as long as most of us can recall, America has led the free world. During the Cold War, for example, it was American power that successfully held off the communist threat from the Soviet Union. Working in tandem with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Ronald Reagan was unflinching, calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

The world would benefit from more of that kind of American leadership today. I hope that a Republican will be returned to the White House in 2024. There must be conservative leadership in America once again, bold enough to call out hostile regimes as evil and a threat.

Too many of us in the Western world became complacent about the defeat of our communist enemies and believed that victory was everlasting for freedom and democracy. In reality no such victories are permanent.

The West allowed China to join the World Trade Organisation as a developing nation—on beneficial terms it enjoys to this day—as President Xi Jinping proceeded to make himself president for life, clamped down on democracy and freedom of speech in Hong Kong and presided over human-rights abuses in Xinjiang province.

Meantime Iran is backing terrorists such as Hamas and developing its own nuclear capability—all while the U.S. waits in vain for Tehran to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. And Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions are ever more hostile.

Is it any wonder these regimes have proceeded with impunity when their actions have not properly been called out by others? The failure to enforce, for example, the red line in Syria, and America’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, only emboldened these regimes further.

I saw the effect of these actions during my time in the British Cabinet as foreign secretary and prime minister. And while I was proud to ensure that the U.K. was the first country in Europe to supply weapons to Ukraine, I would rather that we had not been in that situation in the first place.

Russia, China and Iran are seeking to defeat democracy. Any victory will give succour to the others and further embolden these dictators. We must ensure a total Ukrainian victory and defeat of the Russian invaders.

To tilt the balance in favour of Ukraine, we must ensure that Ukraine has a quantitative military advantage when it is facing off against a Russian military backed by Iranian weapons and diplomatic support from the Chinese. Today, Ukraine most urgently needs to establish air superiority either through stealth jets or advanced drones that can support front-line troops. We should also be fast-tracking its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Moscow has been lulled into a delusion that its military can stand up to Washington’s might. But the West must ensure Ukraine has the weapons it needs to deliver a knockout blow to Russia. This would send a blunt message to Russia’s authoritarian benefactors in China and Iran.

On China, we must provide weapons and defence capability to Taiwan, which we know Beijing has in its sights. Western business leaders should stop ingratiating themselves with President Xi, who needs to be called out for the totalitarian dictator he is.

And on Iran, the nuclear deal should be abandoned, tougher sanctions imposed on Tehran, and no more cash should be funnelled to a regime that we know has been funding terrorists and their murderous exploits.

During the Cold War, the U.S. led an alliance of the free world including the U.K. and Japan on the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls on China and Eastern European communist countries. The U.S. should lead the free world again in ensuring we are not exporting technology or goods that could be used against us—an economic NATO.

Finally, all of us in the West must halt the rot we have allowed to develop within our own societies which attacks the Anglo-American values of patriotism, freedom and family.

Whether it be the anti-capitalist excesses of extreme environmentalists or the radical woke agenda being promoted in our schools and on our campuses, we urgently need to counter ideologies that undermine our way of life and give succour to our enemies. The future of the West depends on it.

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In Ten Years to Save the West, Truss, who as Prime Minister sought to champion limited government and individual freedom, will argue that the rise of authoritarianism around the world and the adoption of fashionable ideas propagated by the global left give us barely a decade to preserve the economic and cultural freedom and institutions that the West holds so dear.