As individuals, we have the right to free association. We also have that right collectively. As a nation, we choose the terms under which we will interact with other governments.

Practically speaking, we must interact as a nation with other countries. Isolationism is not an option in our global and interconnected world.

Our relationship with each country will vary. On the world stage there are countries we will be friendly with. Countries we will coexist with. Countries that we will count as adversaries.

While peace is the ideal, it is not always achieved without cost. There are times when we decide to act as individuals to defend and assist one another. There are times when that will be true of us as a nation as well.

As a nation, we must stand ready to protect our citizens, defend our interests, and assist our allies. That requires that we maintain a robust and capable military.

The fact that we have such military capability does not mean we need to use it. Social, diplomatic and economic influence are all valid tools on the international stage. We should exhaust all other options before considering the use of force.