"Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen"I was reading the transcript of the inaugural address President Bush gave on Thursday. This is pretty much the only way I can consume a Bush speech anymore.
He managed the neat trick of sounding like a Messianic Crusader while mentioning the actual word 'God' (by my count) only three times.
There was one passage that caught my eye, however:
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. 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.
If implemented, this would mark a radical change not only in the Bush administration's policies, but in the methods of American foreign policy that long pre-dated Mr. Bush.
If this new vision actually occurs, it would mark an astonishing new direction in America's relations with the rest of the world.
"America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling" would certainly be a change from over a century of US history.
If "the policy of the United States [becomes] to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture [emphasis mine]," it would be a noteworthy change from the previous policy of opposing democratic movements and institutions that were not sufficiently pliant to American commercial and/or military interests.
American history in general and the Bush administration's history in particular makes informed people very skeptical that such an enormous transformation will actually happen or be allowed to happen. But in the extremely unlikely event that it does, I will be the first to unabashedly praise the Bush administration for putting its noble words into action.
If "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," applies to the whole world, and not just to America's enemies, then it would be a great start!