(CNN) — In London on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for more Western involvement in Syria to fight ISIS, and praised the U.S.’s British allies for everything from their love of defending freedom to the boy band One Direction.
Perry’s foreign policy address at the Royal United Services Institute, a British national security think tank, was greeted with laughs and applause — especially when he highlighted reasons Americans get along so well with their English-speaking friends across the pond.
“It’s not just because to Americans, you always sound so darn smart and refined no matter what you’re saying,” he said. “And it’s not just because of your many cultural exports from James Bond to Julie Andrews to Simon Cowell to One Direction — well, that might be a bit of a mixed bag. So many good things in the world began in Britain, and so many good things in the world to this day depend on Britain.”
Perry’s stop in London comprises the first leg of his European excursion this week, which also includes visits to Germany, Poland and Ukraine. The purpose of his trip is to explore trade opportunities between Texas and the European countries, according to a press release from Perry’s office.
His decision to travel away from Texas as a second case of Ebola was diagnosed there has drawn the ire of top Texas Democratic party operative Will Hailer, who called the governor an “irresponsible leader,” according to Bloomberg news.
Perry, referring to himself as a “proud patriotic Texan,” outlined a moral argument in favor of robust Western intervention in Syria by drawing a stark contrast between the “so-called religious warriors of ISIS” and the “special strength and character” of Western forces.
“To see to it that security is defended — that is what is required of Western nations and the great alliances we have formed,” he said, admitting that the overseas conflict “will draw heavily on our wealth, our will and our wisdom.”
“The plainest imperative of all is the resources we commit to the common defense, holding nothing back if it will better insure our security.”
He called out his political adversaries at home — and even the United Nations — for their reluctance to get involved in foreign affairs.
“This attitude of cultural relativism, it certainly doesn’t approve of harsher violent actions,” he said, “but it does question the right of Britain, the U.S. or other western powers to do anything about it.”
Toward the latter half of his address, Perry got emotional about the plight of innocent people living in the Middle Eastern war zone, lowering his voice and pausing periodically for effect.
“Who cannot identify with the mother or the father running with their baby, or with an elderly woman who is struggling to keep up with the others?” he asked, drawing similarities between Syrian civilians and victims of bombings over London during World War II. “Who can’t identify with the children who got away but saw what happened to their parents?”
“And when they look up and they see and RAF or a Danish or an American bomber, they feel precisely as you and I would feel. The sight must seem like an answer to a prayer, a prayer that can be understood in every faith: Save my family. Save my home. Save my village. Save me from this evil.”