George Bush: Making the World Safe for Democracy?
In the aftermath of President Bush' second inauguration, there is a widespread consensus that taken literally, his address would commit the United States to a global campaign of democratic proselytization. American friends and foes, puppets and pawns, the wistful and the wary, all are understandably concerned.
Before starting a panic over the President's apparent Wilsonian idealism on steroids, it is worth remembering that Bush has not always been the outspoken proponent of democracy, individual liberty and human freedom:
"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...America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed."
- President George W. Bush, Second Inaugural, January 20, 2005
"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."
- President George W. Bush, July 26, 2001.
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
- President-elect George W. Bush, December 18, 2000.
"You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier."
- Texas Governor George W. Bush, July 1998.
So,in China, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel and, for that matter, in the United States, people can take a deep breath and calm down.
As the President himself said on Thursday, "some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty." After all, he should know.