A year before Mitt Romney picked him as a running mate, Paul Ryan gave a speech in which he discussed the promise and peril of the Arab Spring. "It's too soon to tell whether these revolutions will result in governments that respect the rights of their citizens or in one form of autocracy…supplanting another," he said. "While we work to assure the former, American policy should be realistic about our ability to avert the latter." More generally, Ryan said, "American policy should be tempered by a healthy humility about the extent of our power to control events in other regions." Senior Editor Jacob Sullum says it was hard to discern any such reticence in this week's presidential debate.
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