In recent days, Liam Fox has resurfaced after his resignation as Defence Secretary. In two internventions, he has focused on security issues – and, in particular, on the link between fiscal conservatism and the values of the west.
In an article for the Washington Times, Dr Fox repeats a theme that he and William Hague have long emphasised: debt is a security issue. Writing for an American audience he warns that American power will decline seismically – in the same way debt killed Habsburg Spain, Bourgogne France and the Ottoman Empire – if the next resident of the White House doesn't get borrowing under control:
"The United States, with its huge debt interest payments burden, not only over borrows and over taxes the American people but is, of necessity, cutting its defence spending to help make ends meet. The irony seems to be lost on some that much of this debt interest will end up in Moscow and Beijing. In other words, America has been more enfeebled by welfarism and big government than it ever was by the ideology or practice of communism. There is no doubt a wry smile or two inside the Kremlin."
Don't think of today's debt crisis as a temporary issue, he warns, but as a pivotal moment in our history – if we don't change course. The crisis and its remedy will dominate for "a decade." "This," he continues, "is a structural correction to Western economies that are still living beyond their means, placing too little importance on sound money and failing to adjust to the ultra competitive nature of the globalised economy."
Visiting Georgia where he spent an Orthodox Christmas with the President, Fox gave a short speech in which he set out the importance of defending our own values in fighting external aggressors:
"Fundamentally, Western leaders, particularly Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, instinctively recognised that defence and security was not simply a matter of military hardware. They recognised in the Cold War that it was necessary to de-legitimise the views of the Communist world not least by having a clear and credible alternative of their own based on liberty, law and the application of constitutional government. That fundamental dynamic has not changed today. Freedom is not the natural state of affairs. It has to be plucked from the forces of disorder, anarchy and oppression. It must be fought for in every place and in every generation and then nurtured and protected. Its enemies are many- the pursuit of personal power, external aggression and internal complacency."