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:
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:
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.
Email A.M. Siriano
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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