The Middle East And Democracy

I hadn’t had the chance to delve into the President’s important but little-notice speech on the Middle East and democracy last week. It’s odd that this speech didn’t get much attention as it sets a bold and important new policy precedent for the United States. In many ways this could be the speech that history will remember as one of the turning points in this war.

Some highlights:

Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe — outposts of oppression in our world. The people in these nations live in captivity, and fear and silence. Yet, these regimes cannot hold back freedom forever — and, one day, from prison camps and prison cells, and from exile, the leaders of new democracies will arrive. Communism, and militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand with these oppressed peoples until the day of their freedom finally arrives.

Our commitment to democracy is tested in China. That nation now has a sliver, a fragment of liberty. Yet, China’s people will eventually want their liberty pure and whole. China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. China’s leaders will also discover that freedom is indivisible — that social and religious freedom is also essential to national greatness and national dignity. Eventually, men and women who are allowed to control their own wealth will insist on controlling their own lives and their own country.

Our commitment to democracy is also tested in the Middle East, which is my focus today, and must be a focus of American policy for decades to come. In many nations of the Middle East — countries of great strategic importance — democracy has not yet taken root. And the questions arise: Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.

This speech establishes that the metaphor for this war isn’t Vietnam – it’s World War II. We’re fighting an enemy that is every bit as bad as Nazi Germany, and we have to do what it takes to defeat and discredit them. We have to stick to our guns and be willing to fight. Nor can we rely on the foolish and arrogant assumption that the Middle East neither deserves nor could it support democracy. It’s a bold and important new vision, and it is a vision worth supporting and defending.

4 thoughts on “The Middle East And Democracy

  1. Hi everyone,
    you all know the “National Journal”, don’t you?

    Today’s main title:«les Français avaient vu juste»

    Just for the record.

  2. Jay,

    You are sounding like the conservative victim again when you say that the Bush speech was little noticed. Everyone has been talking about generally in favorable terms. It was an important speech, everyone acknowledges it was important, you feeling aggrieved does nothing but make you look bad.

  3. Hi everyone,
    you all know the “National Journal”, don’t you?

    Today’s main title:«les Français avaient vu juste»

    Just for the record.

    History will be the judge of that.

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