Barney Frank: "I Don't Want To Be The Indispensable Nation"


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: What does it mean when we say to a government we don't like, we think you should give up. Don't we have to have an alternative plan for these bad guys? 'Okay, Gaddafi, we'll let you go stay in Sandals somewhere down in the Caribbean for your life.' What are we asking them to do? You can ask Assad this week, he's not giving up.

FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MASS.) It's not up to us. I mean, we can express our opinion. This is part of this problem that it's somehow America's capability and responsibility to -- look, I wish that we could go into a lot of these places and make things work well. I wish we could bring democracy and peace, but I wish I could eat more and not gain weight. And I found that when I act on unrealistic wishes, the results are not so good.

The answer is, we can voice our opinion. I guess what we ought to encourage is a deal, whereby people like who are in power can leave. Not because they're good people, but because the alternative is them fighting to stay.

But my basic point is, that in any case we haven't got a lot to say about it. And, you have this notion -- look, here's my disagreement with President Obama on this one issue, because I think he does an extraordinarily good job and I'm very supportive. He says, America is the 'indispensable nation.' By which they mean we got to be everywhere there's trouble. We can't do it, we can't afford it anymore. It's not our obligation to do while wealthier nations are sitting back and given the resentment of America and a whole range of other things, we often wind up -- despite good intentions that I think we often have -- doing more harm than good.

I don't want to be the indispensable nation. I think that there are parts of the world that have got to learn to dispense with us. (Hardball, January 10, 2013)

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