Wednesday, December 2, 2015

America the Indispensable


America the Indispensable 
Like so many naturalized citizens, I felt that I was an American before I formally became one.





Dec. 1, 2015 6:50 p.m. ET


Before I thank Henry Kissinger, and before delivering my modest message, I feel obliged to alert college students, progressive academics and all other deeply sensitive souls that these words may contain phrases and ideas that challenge your prejudices. In other words, I formally declare this room an “unsafe space.”

I was honored when the Hudson Institute asked me to address this gathering, particularly as you, Henry, agreed to make the introduction—at the very least I knew that you would be diplomatic. Having been in China recently, and spent some time with President Xi Jinping, it is very clear to me how much China has changed and how much Henry played a role in that change.

And beyond China’s borders, your insightful volumes have taught us much on the arts of diplomacy and the profound role played by leaders and leadership, a quality in somewhat short supply today.

Leaders sense when difficult decisions must be taken, and that is a rare quality in an age too often defined by narcissism. No leader will fight for values, for principles, if their government is a value-free vacuum. Moral relativism is morally wrong.

For a U.S. secretary of state to suggest that Islamic terrorists had a “rationale” in slaughtering journalists is one of the low points of recent Western diplomacy, and it is indicative of a serious malaise.

For America to be embarrassed by its exceptionalism is itself exceptional and absolutely unacceptable. In his great book “World Order,” Henry writes: “The affirmation of America’s exceptional nature must be sustained.” He continues: “As the modern world’s decisive articulation of the human quest for freedom and an indispensable geopolitical force for the vindication of humane values, America must retain its sense of direction.”

For America to have a sense of direction, two conditions are essential. A U.S. leader must understand, be proud of and assert the American personality. An identity crisis is not a starting point for any journey. And secondly, there must be clear goals informed by values and by a realization of the extraordinary potential of its people.

That second point requires that individuals celebrate their independence and ingenuity, whereas in recent years there has been far too much institutionalization of grievance and victimhood. Reviving our sense of direction and celebrating America’s exceptional nature—that is my subject tonight.

Around our country, there is a restless desire for revival. We see it in the primary process, which, apart from an interesting cast of characters, has articulated a deep distaste for the slow descent of our country.

And, importantly, there is a yearning outside the country for American assertiveness and engagement. As we have seen in Syria and in Ukraine and in the streets of Paris, without this country’s self-confident championing of that “human quest for freedom and humane values,” global affairs collapse into nightmare—the policy wasteland becomes fertile territory for terror.

I was born in Australia, and am proud of my Australian provenance, but I am now an American. Like so many naturalized citizens, I felt that I was an American before I formally became one. F. Scott Fitzgerald summed it up: “America is a willingness of the heart.” There is a similar, essential truth in the anthem’s simple refrain “land of the free; home of the brave.”

We are all often struck by the exceptional qualities of America and by the exceptional and selfless influence America has exercised on the world. We can idly and mildly joke, but if it were not for U.S. intervention in the Pacific, we Australians would not speak with our distinctive drawl, but in the rather polite verb endings of Japanese. So let us not be PC, but frank: There is no way that Australia alone could have defended itself during the Second World War, heroic as Australian troops were.

In the 1950s, America saved the now prospering South Korea from the barbarity of Kim Il Sung. And that sacrifice and intervention provided the buffer that Japan needed to rise from the postwar ashes to be a great economy and a reliable ally. One country, North Korea, is a heartless, ruthless personality cult that runs at the expense of its people, and the other country, South Korea, is a thriving democracy that has created companies that have improved lives around the world.

In the 1960s and 1970s, America intervened in Vietnam, an intervention that has been caricatured and distorted in the days since. The left seemed to be happy for the incarceration of millions, whether in Vietnam under Ho or in China under Mao. Why agonize over inhumanity when you could blithely celebrate yourself?

And in the 1980s, thanks to Ronald Reagan,America stood firm against the Soviet Union, and that very resolve led to reform. It led to one Germany, not two. It allowed the Polish and the Hungarians and the Czechs and Slovaks to be themselves, not political proxies. It recast Europe and emancipated millions. And yet the left still cannot find the words to recognize Ronald Reagan. For the rest of the world, he changed it.

In that same era, the U.S. provided a stable background for the rise of China, which went from the impoverishment of mindless ideology to the magic of market forces, allowing hundreds of millions of people to escape from poverty through their own efforts.

That emancipation of the most populous nation on earth is a modern miracle. Yet this fundamental, irrefutable truth must be denied by those who despise America and detest economic freedom. The Chinese understand, and they appreciate the undoubted efficacy of American influence. Yet the soft left cannot countenance that remarkable human success.

America’s contributions to life itself are many and meaningful, from the mass production of antibiotics, to the banishing of polio, the treatment of HIV, and the wonder of gene therapy and all that means for every disease. Markets produce a messy magic. It is the magic of our collective creativity.

Let us examine the five-letter word “frack.” Not hundreds of millions, but billions of people will benefit from fracking and the cheaper energy it provides. And yet a comfortable elite wants to deny their fellow humans the benefits of this technology. Fracking has become a litmus test of principle. Those governments that forbid fracking are the flat-earth fraternity—yes, including New York state.

They believe that the earth revolves around them. Even the EPA in America has been unable to undermine fracking, despite its efforts—so now EPA perhaps stands for Environmentalists Punish America.

Pollution must be reduced, whether in the water or air, or wherever, and we must evolve to more sustainable, cleaner forms of energy, but the platform for that future, for now, is an oil and gas platform. To deny that reality is to condemn the most vulnerable to the indignity of poverty for the sake of an ideology—that being the ideology of self. The triumph of the me over the needs of the many.

Henry rightly said we should tell the truth about our country, and I would challenge all not to let untruths proliferate. My journey was one that began in journalism in a relatively small city, Adelaide, but the lessons are unchanging in that people’s fears, desires, needs and hopes remain the same.

Among the supposedly elite and powerful individuals I have met, you could crudely classify two classes: those who know who they are, and those who say “don’t you know who I am?”

That we are privileged is not at issue. We are. But mobility must be our moral imperative, regardless of color or class. How can we tolerate stratification? How can we allow self-indulgence to define outlook and opportunity? How can we in this room be content with poverty, intellectual or economic, and how can we be content with a world defined by the ideologies of those who seek to please and appease?

We are here not to apologize for America, but to celebrate America. We are here to reflect upon the world as it might have been without America, a much, much lesser world.

The world, as we know it, depends upon our great country. Let us resolve, here tonight, that we will continue in the tradition of the Hudson Institute and our friend Henry Kissinger. Let us resolve that our country can depend upon us.

Mr. Murdoch is the executive chairman of News Corp., which owns this newspaper. This op-ed is excerpted from his remarks at a Nov. 30 dinner where he received the Hudson Institute’s Global Leadership Award.



  1. Really William Rupert Murdoch. There wouldn't be anything partisan about this clown now would there.

    1. Why don't you dispute the facts presented? Why? Because you can't.

      Hate America first crowd. You're member #1 ric. Congratulations.

    2. "Hate America first crowd."

      This, of course, comes after you post a quote from Ben Carson wherein he claims the left of the most racist people in the world because they demand that blacks think a certain way and then attack them when they don't. It's one thing to disagree political, it is another entirely to jump to accusing people of hating America.

      This, however, has become the new normal.

    3. Changing the subject again are we Max? Why don't you dispute Murdoch thesis? Why?

      Why? (because you drank the kool-aid so very very long ago)

    4. His premise, William, seems to be that liberalism is the root cause of all that is wrong in the world, and that Obama is an apologist pussy. We've heard this before, it's nothing new. His praise of Kissinger for his work in China is dripping with irony. The Chinese are one of the most brutal offenders when it comes to denying liberty and humanity. To some degree, we could look on China the same way we look at Bid Laden, they are built on American hubris. Near the end, Murdoch talks about inequality, but again, when you look at how we handed our entire industrial base to China, it again reminds us of what opening that door to China has brought.

      Then you jump in with a classic and mindless retort that I won't respond because I have drank the kool aid, the kool aid of liberalism I assume. Whatever.

    5. I take it Max that you believe that if the USSR, it's client States in Eastern Europe, Cuba, Angola, had won the cold war that the world would be on firmer footing.

      Have you checked out the economies of N. Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam lately?

      I'm sure if we wait another century or two Cuba's vaunted medical society will reinvent a cure for polio.

    6. Near as I can tell William, the world is very simple to you. There are those who have the correct world view that you have, and then there is everybody else who allegedly believes......well they believe whatever you say they believe in order to make your argument. Today it seems to be a belief that I wish the Soviets had won the cold war. Tomorrow it will be that i want more free shit for slackers. Who knows what it will be after that.

    7. No max, the point is you still hold the belief that if only "the right" socialists (read progressives, communists, liberals) get ahold of power the next time that your utopian wet dreams will work out.

      These are proven failed systems max yet you prop them up over and over again. Obama has one year left max. The next eight years of your life will be very difficult for you mentally. I suggest you line up a shrink at your hospital and put him on retainer. Your going to need him.

    8. "No max, the point is you still hold the belief that if only "the right" socialists (read progressives, communists, liberals) get ahold of power the next time that your utopian wet dreams will work out."

      And on cue, you pronounce again that you know what I think and again it's a pile of bullshit. But, if that keeps things simple and easy to understand for you, God bless. Don't bother yourself details. As for the next eight years, just a reminder, I voted for W Bush in 2000 and I survived when he turned out to be worthless POTUS. In on week I will be done with my school program, and by the end of January, I should be starting a new chapter in my career. I will have plenty to occupy my mind, and I will have plenty of opportunity to help others and find satisfaction. It will be no skin off my nuts if moderate Republican Hillary gets elected, and it also will not make a difference if Trump or some other yahoo gets elected. We will be in a war no matter what and if a Republican gets in, the market will predictably go to shit like it always does when they are in charge. Otherwise, same ol same ol.

    9. I would posit that the smart money exited the market in 2007-2008 when they saw the Obama train wreck approaching. Markets are predictive and they pretty much predicted back then that we would experience moribund growth percentages for the 4-8 "progressive" years.

      I would bet 10-1 that you will vote for Hillary no matter the opponent..

    10. You would posit that because you are a partisan hack and you assume that everyone smart sees the world the way you do. My customers and I saw this coming back as far as 1998. The money went from the tech bubble straight into housing. Did it take a fucking political savant to realize that ninja loans and all the people buying and flipping houses was going to end badly? Seriously William, if you really believe that alleged smart money left because they feared Obama, then you are a clueless hack. Smart money left before Bush got elected because the they saw the bubble popping popping and the same happened before 08, It had nothing to do with Obama, but I realize, there are some pure, dense, fucking idiots who believe this.

      The markets today are a scam. They don't value risk appropriately, and they feed off suckers. The current valuation of the markets today is based one thing and one thing only, that thing is the endless pumping of the FED. Deep down, we agree a lot on the FED, but because you must maintain your attitude that only tea baggers know what's right, your can't agree publicly with that. After all, you are a supporter of Regan and I'm just a socialist who can't possibly understand your intelligent thoughts.

      Would bet that 10-1 because again, you are a partisan hack who can't consider any other possibility. I didn't vote for Gore. Let that sink in for a second. Hillary is not a progressive, and neither was her husband. She is a war hawk, as are all the Republicans, and if she is elected, the Republicans in Washington will endlessly launch bullshit investgations and will treat her they way they treated Obama, which is to say with nothing but hatred. Maybe voting for one of your douchebag candidates might be a good thing, at least it might shut people like you the fuck up for four years.

    11. One wonders max that if you saw the housing bubble why didn't you place your bets and be retired in luxury today?

      Or are you to pious to take advantage if your superior prognostigations.

    12. At the end of 2004, I left the markets and really didn't look back. In one of the Market Wizard books, the author interviewed a trader named Ed Seykota who basically said, "If trading is not your passion, go find what your passion is and let someone who has does have a passion for trading manage your money" That was pretty much what I did. When I had the time and interest, I read IBD and did charting and continued to try and trade for awhile after I left. The bottom line was honestly that I just didn't have the desire to follow it. I started a new career, and that became my passion. I was pretty much flat when the whole thing blew up and I then switched to Fidelity management and have done fine ever since.

      As for being too pious, I honestly had to accept I just didn't have the makeup to be a trader. It's one thing to understand the macro movement of the market, it's another thing entirely to ride the emotional roller coaster when a fat tail event like 9/11 happens and you have a large position on that you can't get out of. I watched what that did to my customers and knew it wasn't for me. I actually enjoyed being a broker and I was good at what I did. As for cashing in, I'm not really sure what vehicle I could have used. The guys that were able to short stuff did really well. I guess I could have used futures as that's what I was the most familiar with, but again, by 08 I was well out of the game.

      I never made big money working in the markets. I did well enough to have a condo and to go back to school full time without working and to also pay cash for my masters degree and still have no debt. I'd say that's not to shabby for a high school drop out. I'm tingling with excitement waiting for another dismissive response wherein you call me a communist, socialist, asshole or whatever other label you have in mind at that moment.