I’ve been here only a short time, but I’ve noticed that the tradition of free speech – exercised with enthusiasm – (laughter) – is alive and well here in London. We have that at home, too. They now have that right in Baghdad, as well. (Applause.)
At Wilson’s high point of idealism, however, Europe was one short generation from Munich and Auschwitz and the Blitz. Looking back, we see the reasons why. The League of Nations, lacking both credibility and will, collapsed at the first challenge of the dictators. Free nations failed to recognize, much less confront, the aggressive evil in plain sight. And so dictators went about their business, feeding resentments and anti-Semitism, bringing death to innocent people in this city and across the world, and filling the last century with violence and genocide.
The hope that danger has passed is comforting, is understandable, and it is false. The attacks that followed – on Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Bombay, Mombassa, Najaf, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Baghdad, and Istanbul – were not dreams. They’re part of the global campaign by terrorist networks to intimidate and demoralize all who oppose them.
America and Great Britain have done, and will do, all in their power to prevent the United Nations from solemnly choosing its own irrelevance and inviting the fate of the League of Nations. It’s not enough to meet the dangers of the world with resolutions; we must meet those dangers with resolve.
Our first choice, and our constant practice, is to work with other responsible governments. We understand, as well, that the success of multilateralism is not measured by adherence to forms alone, the tidiness of the process, but by the results we achieve to keep our nations secure.
Europe’s peaceful unity is one of the great achievements of the last half-century. And because European countries now resolve differences through negotiation and consensus, there’s sometimes an assumption that the entire world functions in the same way. But let us never forget how Europe’s unity was achieved – by allied armies of liberation and NATO armies of defense. And let us never forget, beyond Europe’s borders, in a world where oppression and violence are very real, liberation is still a moral goal, and freedom and security still need defenders. (Applause.)
Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and not prejudice final negotiations with the placements of walls and fences.
Arab states should end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, and establish normal relations with Israel.
Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause. And Europe’s leaders – and all leaders – should strongly oppose anti-Semitism, which poisons public debates over the future of the Middle East. (Applause.)