Alan Keyes: On Bosnia

Dr. Alan Keyes on Bosnia relations, taken from the November 17, 1995 debate on LARRY KING/CNN prior to the Florida Republican Straw Pole (he followed Pat Buchanan, to whom the implicit references are made):

If you are actually going to step into the office of commander in chief and be responsible for our international relations, I think you have to be careful: the Europeans may be our competitors -- it's not a good idea to talk about them like they are our enemies, because they are not. We had to spend a lot of lives and blood already once in this century, acting the fool, like we didn't have an interest in different parts of the world, waiting until things got SO bad that we had to send troops by the hundreds of thousands. It doesn't make sense.

So I think it's irresponsible to talk overall as if we have no stake in cooperation with Europe. But in the case of Bosnia: that is a civil war. That IS a situation the Europeans can take the lead in handling. We can provide leadership in identifying what's at stake there, and helping people to understand the situation.

But we should not send our own troops. Because although we have a leadership responsibility, there's a difference between leading stupid and leading smart. And leading smart means that you shape the environment and the situation so that others also understand THEIR responsibilities and fulfill THEIR role, and in this case that means "Europeans first." But leading stupid means that you send our men and women everywhere there is a problem, thinking that we are God and can wave our magic wand of power.

The fundamental principle of our foreign policy, the fundamental principle that we should never forget in foreign policy: there is a God, and we are not Him, and we shouldn't act like it.

The following is taken from Alan's speech on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 1995 to the National Jewish Coalition.

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 judgement 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 the chance to say NO. And I believe we should exercise that constitutional right.

The following comments were made during an interview with USA Today that was printed on Jan. 23, 1996:

Q: On the foreign affairs front, do you support President Clinton's Bosnia policy?

A: No. Every single argument that was raised with respect to Bosnia on humanitarian grounds applied over 150 times to Rwanda, and we sat on our hands and did nothing. Why do we need to send 20,000 troops to Bosnia when all those European countries can do the same job we can? Our neighboorhood is our neighborhood.

Q: What about Haiti which is closer to home?

A: I wasn't very fond of the Haiti intervention, but at least we didn't go scrounging around Europe to find people to send down there. We thought there was a job to be done in our neighborhood, and we did it.