In an address recently delivered to an AIPAC audience in New York, New Jersey governor Chris Christie articulated a responsible view of America’s role in the world, stressing the importance of us standing by our friends and taking action against our adversaries.
“America should stand by its friends and its democratic allies, even, and sometimes especially, when it’s unpopular to do so,” Christie said, outlining his foreign policy vision. “And you know I know, that it may not be fashionable in some of the chancelleries, the foreign ministries, and salons around the world to talk about why America stands with Israel – but that’s no excuse not to be saying, and saying it loudly.”
Christie continued: “I read a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt which I thought made this point much better than I ever could. He says, ‘Please judge me by the enemies I have made.’ In that same spirit, I would like to say to all of you tonight: I admire Israel for the enemies it has made.”
The New Jersey governor went on to explain that Israel’s enemies are America’s, and that the two countries share important values. “We both believe in self-government, we both believe in democracy, and unalienable rights,” Christie said. “From what I understand, the Knesset and Israel’s free, vibrant news media make Trenton seems like a cordial and sleepy atmosphere. You’ll find that hard to believe, if I say so myself.”
On Iran, the New Jersey governor warned how dangerous it is to allow Iran to acquire nuclear capability. “Both Americans and Israelis believe – we know deep in our bones – that if the Islamic Republic of Iran acquires a nuclear weapons capability, it will be an existential threat to Israel, to America, and to world civilization itself.” Christie warned President Obama he would be directly responsible if this happens. “I believe, like you, that stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability must be a top priority of the United States of America. Any president, Republican or Democrat, who allows such a thing to occur on his watch, would be acting in a way that is profoundly against the national security interests of the United States and the security interests of our friends in Israel.”
“It’s only by speaking the truth boldly, or by speaking the truth to power that we will prevent this from happening,” Christie continued, explaining his stark warning to the president. “It is only by decisive action by leaders who truly understand that a threat to Israel is a threat to America. A threat to the Israeli way of life is a threat to the American way of life. Not only for here in America, but for all the nations that emulate our democracy or are trying to emulate our democracy around the world.”
As a governor, Christie is more known for policies that directly effect New Jersey. This speech suggests that he has given serious consideration to formulating how he sees America’s role in the world—and how he might seek to advance that vision if ever he to, say, consider running for another office.