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The Real Bush Doctrine
by A.M. Siriano
13 November 2003George W. Bush

In the words of President Bush, "As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export."

On a good day, I am optimistic about America’s future, and the future of liberty around the globe.  After carefully reading the entire text of President Bush’s historic speech to the National Endowment for Democracy (November 6, 2003), I have decided I’m having a good day.

The speech begins by extolling the virtue and foresight of one of the greatest Presidents of all time, Ronald Reagan, whose efforts were instrumental in unlocking the evil grip that Communism had on the world for far too long.  The speech then translates Mr. Reagan’s goals into the present era, in which powers of like evil -- Middle Eastern oppression and terrorism -- demand a war to the death.

Mr. Bush pins down the blame for the mess in the Middle East on Middle Eastern political and economic doctrines and also condemns the West’s tolerance for them and its willingness to placate Arab nations.  “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe,” said the President.  “As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export.”  No more Mr. Nice-Guy is the message, and rightly so.

Every cause that should be championed has its roots in liberty, and the history of the world for over two hundred years, notably since the advent of Ronald Reagan, bears this out.  Parts of the speech outline specifically what it takes to produce long-lasting liberty in the world, points of learning that should be taught as fundamental lessons, in this country and wherever democracy takes hold:

Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military—so that governments respond to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite.  Successful societies protect freedom with the consistent and impartial rule of law, instead of selecting applying—selectively applying the law to punish political opponents.  Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions—for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media.  Successful societies guarantee religious liberty—the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution.  Successful societies privatize their economies, and secure the rights of property.  They prohibit and punish official corruption, and invest in the health and education of their people.  They recognize the rights of women.  And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people.

Talk all you want about preemption, civil liberties and war without an exit strategy, all which, according to liberals, make up the Wild West-like Bush doctrine.  But these are only issues in a greater directive, as discovered in these profound words:

We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty.  And we believe that freedom—the freedom we prize—is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.

Freedom is not easily won or retained, points that President Bush has made consistently since the 9/11 Manhattan Massacre.  Young men and women will sacrifice themselves for this very reason, in glory and in honor, as we have seen almost daily.  The battle rages all around us and will rage long.  We must not be deterred because liberty will not be deterred.  It is the intrinsic value of our nation, “the calling of our time ... the calling of our country.”

That’s the real Bush doctrine, and it carries on the legacy of President Reagan.  On our good days—far more abundant than the bad ones in a place like America—it had better be the doctrine of us all.

A. M. Siriano is a DBA/web developer by day and writes for his own website, amsiriano.com, by night

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