Imbued with this mission, we need to take a clear-eyed look at home and abroad to decide what needs to be done to keep the United States strong and the cause of liberty alive. Here “Liberty’s Best Hope” proves particularly valuable. Holmes takes us on a tour of the world’s hot spots and leading actors -- one you’ll never get just watching the evening news. Consider his unflinching take on Russia and China:
“They talk a great internationalist game but are not averse to threatening their neighbors (China against Taiwan), allowing genocide (China in Sudan), or scuttling peace efforts in the Balkans or the Mediterranean (e.g., Russia backing Serbia and Cyprus in the U.N.) when it suits their national interests. China and Russia are not what they pretend to be.”
Those who think the solution is to work out our differences at the United Nations will get a much-needed education from Holmes. Despite the fact that the U.N. charter calls for the expulsion of member nations that fail to uphold basic human rights, the U.N. is home to some of the world’s most repressive regimes, which routinely work to subvert the actions of freedom-loving nations. Yet we keep trying to make it work. The result? “Through countless efforts to work with the U.N., Washington has unwittingly fallen into the trap of conferring more legitimacy on the United Nations than it deserves,” Holmes writes.
The fact is, you sometimes have to play tough in a dangerous world -- you have to confront evil head on -- if goodness is to survive. And if this makes some nations unhappy, so be it. Because of the global nature of America’s interests, we’re always going to be ruffling some feathers, Holmes points out:
“The only way around it is for the U.S. president and his cabinet to understand at times they will have to endure some bad feelings and controversies from friends and allies. … Other countries drive hard bargains because they believe in their own values and interests. China and Russia are ready examples. We should do the same without apology. If tone and style matter, then do it with a smile and without bluster. By all means, learn other customs and be sensitive to them, but be no less forthright in the assertion of our interests than other nations are.”
“Liberty’s Best Hope” reminds us that America truly is the beacon of hope for the world, as President Reagan so eloquently said. Our grandchildren and their grandchildren, and the offspring of people we will never meet living in far away places around the world, are depending on us to be true to our sacred calling.