The annual JP Morgan lecture at the British American Project
"It is an honour to be speaking to the British American Project today, on this sombre anniversary.
Your organisation is one of the most illustrious of the countless ties that connect our two countries.
Today we remember the almost three thousand dead, killed in the most callous and indiscriminate act of terrorism in modern history.
There is much we owe to their memories.
To find and defeat those responsible for planning international terror.
To do everything we can to stop further outrages.
And, above all, to make the world safer for the future.
Fighting terrorism is the most consuming concern for modern government.
I know that if my Party wins the next election, the moment I walk through the front door of Downing Street I will have the huge responsibility of protecting the British public from this threat.
It will involve action to support and enhance our security response.
It will involve action to make our society stronger at home.
And it will require firm action on the international front.
It is the international dimension that I'd like to focus on today.
FOREIGN POLICY IN OPPOSITION
It is important to take care when developing foreign policy in opposition.
First, we are Her Majesty's loyal opposition - and I take the 'loyal' part seriously.
Where possible, we should offer support to the Government so ministers can speak abroad with the authority of the whole country.
And second, we should use the time and space available to us seriously.
Foreign policy-making should not be a narrow discipline: we should bring a wide range of experts into the process.
William Hague has been developing our thinking in a range of areas, with, for example, a new Conservative focus on human rights.
And I have established a Foreign Affairs Council to access the advice of a wide range of senior former diplomats and service personnel.
It includes, for example, Charles Powell and Charles Guthrie, as well as historians and former ministers, and will help me formulate foreign policy for the next Parliament.
A MATURE DEBATE
I also believe that we should try to debate foreign policy in a mature and responsible way.
It is not responsible to try and polarise debate through simplistic exercises in political positioning.
If you question the approach of the US administration, you're "anti-American."
If you support what the United States is doing, you're "America's poodle."
If you care about civil liberties, you're "soft on terror."
If you back an extension of our security laws, you're "building a police state".
These are not mature contributions to debate.
Foreign policy decisions are not black and white, something which the public well understands.
We need a sense of balance, judgement and proportion in handling the complex and dangerous challenges of foreign and security policy in the twenty-first century.
In analysing the threat we face today, I'd like to go back to September 11th, 2001.
At lunchtime on that day I was working at home in my constituency in Oxfordshire.
When the news came that America was under attack, the first thing I thought about was Sam, my wife.
She was in Manhattan.
She'd flown there to open a new store, one that she had designed.
It took several hours to get through to her on the phone.
Like so many others, I watched those towers come crashing down.
I used to go for meetings there when I worked in business before becoming an MP.
Like everyone in this room, I looked on with horror and wondered what kind of world had dawned that morning.
9/11 was a wake-up call indeed…
…although with hindsight, the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, the horrific bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and the assault on the USS Cole should have woken us up already.
But 9/11 alerted us all to a security threat on a new and unprecedented scale…
… to a world of connections and complexity, conflating religion, foreign policy, domestic security policy, even economic policy in an unstable mix…
… and to a world in which we urgently needed new thinking to match these frightening new challenges.
All that we have learned since 9/11 confirms this picture.
Yet there are some who still do not appreciate the new realities.
They believe that the threat is no different in nature from that posed to Britain by terrorism in the past, for example by the IRA.
I am afraid that this view simply does not reflect reality.
This terrorist threat is clearly different from those we have faced before.
We are dealing with people who are prepared to do anything, kill any number, and use suicide attacks to further their aims.
These people include a number of our own citizens.
They are driven by a wholly incorrect interpretation - an extreme distortion - of the Islamic faith, which holds that mass murder and terror are not only acceptable, but necessary.
As I said in a speech on this subject in August last year, "there is no list of demands we can accept and no group of terrorists we could meet and negotiate with - even if we wanted to - to stop the attacks."
This terrorism cannot be appeased - it has to be defeated.
And as I said in August this year, the actions we must take domestically, in partnership with other countries, could not be more pressing.
Expanding the security services and unfreezing the Home Office budget.
Improving anti-terrorism law.
Deporting those foreign nationals who threaten or directly encourage terror.
All of these things are vital and urgent.
But true success in this endeavour, and true progress in making the world a safer place requires a deep understanding of what we're dealing with.
We will not defeat the terrorists unless we cut off their life support systems.
And the deformed vision of Islam which inspires some of them is part of a wider picture that includes…
…the perception by many Muslims that Islam is under attack…
…the suppression of political freedom and economic opportunity by ruthless dictatorships…
…the relative lack of progress in some Muslim societies…
…and the belief that the West deliberately fails to resolve issues of crucial concern to
Muslims, like Palestine.
The clear implication of this is that we cannot just rely on conventional counter-terrorism.
We need a broader and highly co-ordinated strategy…
…identifying and thwarting terrorist plots…
…separating the terrorists from their recruiting base…
…and winning the trust of the majority Muslim community…
… addressing the geopolitical issues that constitute direct and indirect security threats.
THE CURRENT RESPONSE
In foreign policy terms, how have we dealt with this threat over the past five years?
Broadly, the response can be summarised as 'neo conservatism.'
There is a wide-ranging debate about exactly what neo-conservatism is.
But for the purposes of my argument today, we can focus on three propositions that are most commonly understood to represent the core of neo-conservative thinking.
First, a realistic appreciation of the scale of the threat the world faces from terrorism.
Second, a conviction that pre-emptive military action is not only an appropriate, but a necessary component of tackling the terrorist threat in the short term.
And third, a belief that in the medium and long term, the promotion of freedom and democracy, including through regime change, is the best guarantee of our security.
THE LAST FIVE YEARS
We must be honest in looking at what has happened in the world during the five years that these beliefs have been the guiding principles of British and American policy.
It is, of course, a mixed picture.
We have managed to avert further terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11, and our security services deserve all our thanks for the brave and painstaking work they do.
And yet across the globe, terrorists are being recruited in increasing numbers and are active in many more areas than before September 11th.
Hundreds of people have died at their hands: here in London we lost fifty two people in July last year.
Two of the world's most repressive regimes, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been removed.
I supported both these actions, and I support our ongoing work in those countries.
And yet both continue to suffer appalling levels of violence.
These countries used to suffer barbaric dictatorships.
Now they suffer terrible civil conflict, and our own troops are continually exposed to murderous attacks.
Libya, once the greatest terrorist threat to the West, has abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.
But North Korea continues to make steps towards developing its own arsenal.
Syria has withdrawn its troops from Lebanon.
But as we have seen in recent months, Hezbollah still poses a grave threat to democracy in Lebanon and to stability in the region.
And at the epicentre of global instability, in the Middle East, Israel is in the slow and painful process of disengaging from Gaza, and free elections have been held in the occupied territories.
But those elections delivered Hamas to power - an organisation which remains publicly committed to the destruction of Israel and prepared to use terrorist methods.
Finally, there is Iran.
There is little positive to report on this front.
The regime in Tehran has encouraged parts of the insurgency in Iraq and is widely suspected of involvement in the murder of British troops around Basra.
It is the principal sponsor of Hezbollah.
Worst of all, it is now only a few short years away from developing its own nuclear weapons capability - and it remains to be seen whether the world's great powers have the will and the ability to stop it.
So: continuing instability in the world.
An ever-present threat of terrorism.
Democracy struggling, often unsuccessfully, to take root in the Middle East.
The threat of a nuclear Iran.
On any reasonable measure, the challenges are greater today than five years ago.
And we must recognise something else - that the way we have tried to meet these challenges over the past five years has had an unintended and worrying consequence.
It has fanned the flames of anti-Americanism, both here in Britain and around the world.
I find it extremely troubling how many people - not just in countries affected by war and instability, but here in the West, here in Britain…
…regard America not as a beacon of freedom and a pro-democracy superpower, but as the world's worst power.
Anti-Americanism represents an intellectual and moral surrender.
It is a complacent cowardice born of resentment of success and a desire for the world's problems simply to go away.
I and my Party are instinctive friends of America, and passionate supporters of the Atlantic Alliance.
We believe in the alliance for both emotional and rational reasons.
Emotional - because we share so much.
A set of values and beliefs about the world - a common language, common institutions, and our common belief in individual liberty.
Profound memories too - our soldiers fighting together to liberate Europe; our joint effort to withstand and defeat the Soviet Empire.
But there are rational reasons for the Atlantic Alliance as well.
The fact is that that Britain just cannot achieve the things we want to achieve in the world unless we work with the world's superpower.
So when it comes to the special relationship with America, Conservatives feel it, understand it and believe in it.
All Conservatives share this attitude.
I cannot think of a single Conservative Member of Parliament who does not think the same way.
That is a source of great strength for any Conservative leader in their dealings with America.
We do not have to worry about a divided party at home.
It is precisely this strength of feeling that gives us the confidence to speak freely to any American administration.
I believe that it is now vital for our strategic and security interests that we challenge anti-Americanism.
That means reviving the best traditions of the special relationship.
And it also means developing with America a tough and effective foreign policy for the age of international terrorism - a policy that moves beyond neo-conservatism, retaining its strengths but learning from its failures.
Britain does not need to establish her identity by recklessly poking the United States in the eye, as some like to do.
But we will serve neither our own, nor America's, nor the world's interests if we are seen as America's unconditional associate in every endeavour.
Our duty is to our own citizens, and to our own conception of what is right for the world.
We should be solid but not slavish in our friendship with America.
It all comes down to a sense of confidence.
Your long-standing friend will tell you the truth, confident that the friendship will survive.
Your newest friend will tell you what you want to hear, eager to please so as not to put the friendship at risk.
We have never, until recently, been uncritical allies of America.
We have for more than half a century acted as a junior partner to the United States.
Churchill, though he found it difficult, was junior partner to Roosevelt; Margaret Thatcher to Ronald Reagan, John Major to George Bush Senior in the First Gulf War.
It is not an easy part to play, but these three Prime Ministers learned to carry it through with skill and success.
I worry that we have recently lost the art.
I fear that if we continue as at present we may combine the maximum of exposure with the minimum of real influence over decisions.
The sooner we rediscover the right balance the better for Britain and our alliance.
This is not anti-American.
This is what America wants.
As Senator John McCain has said:
"not only do we seek European leadership, we believe it is necessary to make the world a better, safer place for our interests and our values. This means true leadership, not a group of countries that merely follows American directions, as some fear; nor a coalition that opposes American power simply because of its country of origin, as others suggest."
THE NEXT STEPS
In that context, what should be the outline of British and American foreign policy in the post-neo-conservative world?
Let me start by making clear where I agree with the neo-conservative approach.
I fully appreciate the scale of the threat we face.
I believe that the leadership of the United States, supported by Britain, is central to the struggle in which we are engaged.
I believe that the neo-conservatives are right to argue that extending freedom is an essential objective of Western foreign policy.
And I agree that Western powers should be prepared, in the last resort, to use military force.
We know from history that a country must be ready to defend itself and its allies.
More than that, we and others are justified in using pre-emptive force when an attack on us is being prepared, and when all means of peaceful dissuasion and deterrence have failed.
Furthermore, I believe that we should be prepared to intervene for humanitarian purposes to rescue people from genocide.
But I believe that in the last five years we have suffered from the absence of two crucial qualities which should always condition foreign policy-making.
Humility, and patience.
These are not warlike words.
They are not so glamorous and exciting as the easy sound-bites we have grown used to in recent years.
But these sound-bites had the failing of all foreign policy designed to fit into a headline.
They were unrealistic and simplistic.
They represented a view which sees only light and darkness in the world - and which believes that one can be turned to the other as quickly as flicking a switch.
I do not see things that way.
I am a liberal conservative, rather than a neo-conservative.
Liberal - because I support the aim of spreading freedom and democracy, and support humanitarian intervention.
Conservative - because I recognise the complexities of human nature, and am sceptical of grand schemes to remake the world.
A liberal conservative approach to foreign policy today is based on five propositions.
First, that we should understand fully the threat we face.
Second, that democracy cannot quickly be imposed from outside.
Third, that our strategy needs to go far beyond military action.
Fourth, that we need a new multilateralism to tackle the new global challenges we face.
And fifth, that we must strive to act with moral authority.
Let me touch on each of these in turn.
THE NATURE OF THE THREAT
Part of the problem we have encountered these past five years is that the struggle has been perceived - as the terrorists want it to be perceived - as a single struggle between single protagonists.
The danger is that by positing a single source of terrorism - a global jihad - and opposing it with a single global response - American-backed force - we will simply fulfil our own prophecy.
We are not engaged in a clash of civilisations, and suggestions that we are can too easily have the opposite effect to the one intended: making the extremists more attractive to the uncommitted
This is not to deny the connections between terrorist activity in different parts of the world.
It is simply an appeal for us to be a little smarter in how we handle those connections.
Our aim should be to dismantle the threat, separating its component parts, rather than amalgamating them into a single global jihad that simply becomes a call to arms.
DEMOCRACY CANNOT QUICKLY BE IMPOSED
The second proposition of a liberal conservative foreign policy is a recognition that democracy cannot quickly be imposed from outside.
In part, this is because democracy takes time.
The transformation of a country from tyranny to freedom does not begin and end with regime change and the calling of elections.
Put another way, democracy is not the foundation of freedom.
Democracy itself has foundations, without which it cannot stand.
A great American President once stood on an American battlefield and reminded his audience that their forefathers had "brought forth in this continent a new nation."
As Lincoln said at Gettysburg, America was "conceived in liberty."
But though that new nation was born in 1776, it had been long in the womb.
It takes longer to build a democracy than the time it takes to draw up and sign a constitution or a declaration of independence.
The foundations of democracy are the rule of law, including the freedoms of speech and association;
...civil society, meaning the network of independent organisations which sustain social life independently from the state;
…an independent and impartial judiciary;
…and a free economy, including the freedom to trade and to register property.
The ambition to spread democracy is noble and just.
But it cannot be quickly achieved to suit a political timetable.
Because it takes time, it cannot easily be imposed from outside.
Liberty grows from the ground - it cannot be dropped from the air by an unmanned drone.
In the last month I have visited both South Africa and India.
These countries show that democracy can flourish everywhere there are people.
And the key to this flourishing is growth from within.
Roelf Meyer, co-architect of South Africa's new, non-racial constitution, told me why he thought the handover from apartheid to majority rule was achieved with such relative peace and stability.
One of the main reasons, he said, was that political and community leaders inside South Africa took ownership of the process, and responsibility for their people's future.
So in many ways the debate about whether Britain, or America, or any other external power, should engage in nation-building misses the point.
You can't carry out nation-building unless the people inside a country want to build a nation.
As the Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has put it, "We can help countries reach their destination but it must be on their terms and their way."
A good example is the EU accession process, through which countries have voluntarily embraced democratic and institutional reform in order to gain the benefits of EU membership.
Let us remember that it took Britain and America decades to emancipate women and the male working population, to clear slums and to conquer killer diseases like cholera and typhoid.
So we must show sympathy for the sheer difficulty and desperation of life in many countries that we would like to move forward on the path to democracy.
They face huge pressures and challenges - like the basic battle for water supplies, or a high birth rate leading to an overwhelmingly young population.
BEYOND MILITARY ACTION
Recognition of these circumstances leads us to the third proposition of the liberal conservative approach: that our strategy needs to go far beyond military action.
As I have made clear, there may be circumstances in which military intervention is the best way to deal with security threats: we should never shy away from that reality.
I thought carefully about this responsibility before deciding to stand for the leadership of my Party.
I know that sometimes it will have to be done.
Sending troops into battle is one of the most difficult decisions a Prime Minister can ever make.
I've always had the greatest faith in our armed forces.
I was in Afghanistan earlier this summer. Seeing our servicemen and women at work in Kandahar, in Kabul, and at Camp Bastion in Helmand province has redoubled that faith.
But it is not military might alone which will deliver security to us, or freedom for the world.
If we accept that democracy takes time; that it is founded on the institutions of society, and that it cannot easily be imposed from without…
…then we must put far greater effort into helping undermine dictators and tyrannies from within, and helping moderate regimes to move forward.
Bombs and missiles are bad ambassadors.
They win no hearts and minds; they can build no democracies.
There are more tools of statecraft than military power.
Intelligence, economic development, educational training, support for pro-democracy groups, international law, foreign aid, sporting and cultural initiatives can all play their part.
Britain has a huge contribution to make here, from the knowledge and experience of our diplomats abroad, to the work of the British Council, to our expertise in culture, media and communications.
As the limits of military power become more obvious, we must use our non-military power to better effect.
So force should be a last resort.
Even in a technological age every war produces innocent civilian casualties.
Every war, however skilfully conducted - and our own armed forces have shown unmatched skill in such conflicts - produces its quota of sorrow and anger, with consequences hard to predict.
The prospect of war may attract too readily those who look for quick dramatic answers.
Such answers often turn out to be illusory.
A NEW MULTILATERALISM
Whether our chosen method of intervention is military or non-military, I believe that the new and highly connected nature of the threat we face demands a new emphasis on multilateralism…
…the fourth proposition underlying the liberal conservative approach.
We should not be naïve or starry-eyed about multilateralism.
But a multilateral approach is essential if we are successfully to tackle some of the biggest security challenges we face - for example the challenge of nuclear proliferation.
Of course, a country's right to decide its own foreign and defence policy, and - within a framework of rights and responsibilities - to act alone when necessary, is a cornerstone of nationhood.
But as we have found in recent years, a country may act alone - but it cannot always succeed alone.
The United States has learnt this lesson painfully.
As Senator Joe Biden has put it:
"There was never any doubt that we could defeat Saddam Hussein without a single foreign soldier. But because we chose to wage war virtually alone, we have been responsible for the aftermath virtually alone."
A new multilateralism should have two dimensions: international institutions, and international alliances.
There has always been scope for multilateral action that involves NATO, the UN, the G8, the EU and other similar institutions.
But I believe we will need to both reform existing institutions, and develop new ones if we are to have the range of response mechanisms we need for the range of security challenges we face.
In deciding the most appropriate instrument for action, we will need to balance two factors: legitimacy, and effectiveness.
These factors tend to work in opposite directions.
The United Nations, for example, confers the ultimate legitimacy on any multilateral action.
But the very process of securing that legitimacy can undermine its effectiveness - as we saw, for example, in the Balkans.
We have seen another example more recently. Darfur is at the risk of genocide from the Government of Sudan.
Yet Sudan has been able to ensure that the UN is effectively unable to act.
So we may need to fashion alliances which can act faster than the machinery of formal international institutions.
We must also use our considerable historic, cultural and trading links with Islamic governments that seek cooperation rather than confrontation, to strengthen their position domestically and within the Islamic world.
For instance I regret that our Government has been so indifferent to the views, and neglectful of our friendship with, the Gulf states.
And from Malaysia, to Egypt, to Jordan, to the Maghreb, there are governments with whom we work closely already, and with whom we could do more.
This does not mean uncritical acceptance of all their views or actions.
But it does mean persistent engagement at all levels, and it means basing our actions on real sensitivity and understanding of their domestic circumstances.
Most of all Turkey, with its very substantial Muslim population, should be a principal ally of the West.
Turkey is a democracy, an aspirant EU member, and a key strategic partner in the post 9/11 world.
The fifth and final proposition of a liberal conservative foreign policy is the vital importance of moral authority.
I believe that the values we hold dear in Britain and America are the common values of humanity.
Human dignity, personal freedom, national self-determination - these are the aspirations for all people everywhere.
But if we assume - and I think we should assume - some responsibility for extending these values internationally, we must strive to do so in a way that is consistent and honourable.
A moral mission requires moral methods.
Without them, we are merely war-makers.
Might becomes our only standard of right.
And we sink in the esteem of the world.
If the West is to help other countries, we must do so from a position of genuine moral authority.
This means we must strive above all for legitimacy in what we do.
We need to ensure that we only deploy troops as a last resort, and that a British Government takes with the utmost seriousness any decision to send our servicemen to kill and be killed anywhere in the world.
And I believe that the consent of Parliament should always be required for any substantial deployment of troops on active service.
But legitimacy means more than going through the right channels.
It means doing the right thing.
That is why we must not stoop to conquer.
We must not stoop to illiberalism - whether at Guantanamo Bay, or here at home with excessive periods of detention without trial.
We must not turn a blind eye to the excesses of our allies - abuses of human rights in some Arab countries, or disproportionate Israeli bombing in Lebanon.
We are fighting for the principles of civilisation - let us not abandon those principles in the methods we employ.
We must not forget the lessons of the Cold War.
A firm stand military stand was essential.
But it was only part of the strategy.
We did not defeat communism on the military battlefield.
We defeated communism in the battle of ideas.
Equally, we are today facing an enemy which ultimately will not be defeated by military force, but by moral force.
We must therefore present to the world a genuine and attractive alternative to the fanaticism of terror and dictatorship.
We must not merely be stronger than our enemy, but better than our enemy.
The problems we face are unique to our times.
But for centuries politicians have had to grapple with the issue of when and whether to intervene in the affairs of the world.
I have said I am a liberal conservative.
Let us remember the words of the perhaps the greatest Liberal Prime Minister, and the great Victorian advocate of moral interventionism abroad.
WE Gladstone's famous Midlothian campaign was founded on the proposition that, and I quote, "the foreign policy of England should always be inspired by a love of freedom."
But he also warned against imperial hubris and international arrogance.
As he said, "even when you do a good thing, you may do it in so bad a way that you entirely spoil the beneficial effect."
In short, we must be wise as well as good.
This is a struggle which requires all our might and all our conviction.
But it is a long struggle, and it also requires our intelligence, our patience, and our humility.
I have set out today the principles according to which I would conduct that struggle:
Passionate support for the Atlantic Alliance within a rebalanced special relationship.
Retaining the strengths of the neo-conservative approach while learning from its failures.
And basing our actions on a new approach to foreign affairs - liberal conservatism, which I believe is right for our times and right for the struggle we face."