Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Freedom, George W Bush Redux

In foreign policy, Opinion on February 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

The Wall Street Journal makes the point at length HERE.

When former president, George W Bush, addressed the nation at the event of his second inauguration, (full text here) he spoke of a new era, an era that would be marked by a profound change in America’s approach to its foreign policy.  He said:

America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.

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President Bush was mocked for his ambitious, utopian goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”  Yet today, we watch as the loudest among his critics ask for praise having watched from afar the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.  Having ignored Mr. Bush’s attempt to place America in the middle east as the voice and force for human liberty, having let the yearning for democracy swell in those countries without any support from America, the foreign policy establishment wants to jump on the freedom bandwagon and take a bow.

I think Mr. Bush would say “Welcome aboard!”  I know the freedom-loving men and women among us are glad to have any and all join the fight to end tyranny.  But, we must also be mindful of other of Mr. Bush’s words:

Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.

The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations.

The work of generations, generations spent building the foundations – the rule of law, protection of minorities – that must undergird any democracy, any nation that aims to be governed by free men.  “Can free men govern themselves?” is the question of the ages.  That question is now front and center again, both at home and abroad.  I pray we rediscover our ballast – the US Constitution – at home and that we lend our moral and, where possible, material support to like-minded men and women in places like Egypt, Iran and Libya – to name just a few.

An uprising here, a protest there does not produce a new nation-state.  Years and years of concentrated work, not a speech in Cairo or a few phone calls to a falling dictator, are the calling of our time.  We need leaders who have the vision to see beyond tomorrow’s headline.  George W Bush had that vision.  May God grant that vision to his successors.

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