Ryan embraces "American exceptionalism" and rejects isolationism in a foreign policy speech fourteen months before he knew he might be on a national ticket as VP. Text of his speech: " ... Thank you so much, Rich, for the kind introduction. Some of you might be wondering why the House Budget Committee chairman is standing here addressing a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy. What can I tell you that you dont already know? The short answer is, not much. But if theres one thing I could say with complete confidence about American foreign policy, it is this: Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power. The unsustainable trajectory of government spending is accelerating the nation toward the most predictable economic crisis in American history. Years of ignoring the real drivers of our debt have left us with a profound structural problem. In the coming years, our debt is projected to grow to more than three times the size of our entire economy. This trajectory is catastrophic. By the end of the decade, we will be spending 20 percent of our tax revenue simply paying interest on the debt and thats according to optimistic projections. Our fiscal crisis is above all a spending crisis that is being driven by the growth of our major entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In 1970, these programs consumed about 20 percent of the budget. Today that number has grown to over 40 percent. Over the same period, defense spending has shrunk as a share of the federal budget from about 39 percent to just under 16 percent even as we conduct an ambitious global war on terrorism. The fact is, defense consumes a smaller share of the national economy today than it did throughout the Cold War. If we continue on our current path, the rapid rise of health care costs will crowd out all areas of the budget, including defense. This course is simply unsustainable. If we continue down our current path, then a debt-fueled economic crisis is not a probability. It is a mathematical certainty. Some hear these facts and conclude that the sun is setting on America that our problems are bigger than we are that our competitors will soon outrun us and that the choice we face is over how, not whether, to manage our nations decline. Its inevitable, they seem to say, so lets just get on with it. Im reminded of that Woody Allen line: More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.