Stateside

What’s your problem?

Here’s George Bush’s London speech in full.

Here are a few excerpts:

In democratic and successful societies, men and women do not swear allegiance to malcontents and murderers; they turn their hearts and labor to building better lives. And democratic governments do not shelter terrorist camps or attack their peaceful neighbors; they honor the aspirations and dignity of their own people. In our conflict with terror and tyranny, we have an unmatched advantage, a power that cannot be resisted, and that is the appeal of freedom to all mankind.

As global powers, both our nations serve the cause of freedom in many ways, in many places. By promoting development, and fighting famine and AIDS and other diseases, we’re fulfilling our moral duties, as well as encouraging stability and building a firmer basis for democratic institutions. By working for justice in Burma, in the Sudan and in Zimbabwe, we give hope to suffering people and improve the chances for stability and progress. By extending the reach of trade we foster prosperity and the habits of liberty. And by advancing freedom in the greater Middle East, we help end a cycle of dictatorship and radicalism that brings millions of people to misery and brings danger to our own people.

The stakes in that region could not be higher. If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export. And as we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life. If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source.

The movement of history will not come about quickly. Because of our own democratic development — the fact that it was gradual and, at times, turbulent — we must be patient with others. And the Middle East countries have some distance to travel.

…..

Perhaps the most helpful change we can make is to change in our own thinking. In the West, there’s been a certain skepticism about the capacity or even the desire of Middle Eastern peoples for self-government. We’re told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture. Yet more than half of the world’s Muslims are today contributing citizens in democratic societies. It is suggested that the poor, in their daily struggles, care little for self-government. Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites.

Peoples of the Middle East share a high civilization, a religion of personal responsibility, and a need for freedom as deep as our own. It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it.

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found………..

Erm, can someone help me out here but what is exactly the problem with any of this?

What exactly is conservative, isolationist, racist about any of this? I know he has a really bad and unnerving habit of producing an inane looking grin after making a deadly serious comment but looking at the content rather than the delivery, what is the problem?

Democratic revolution? Opposing tyranny? Shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East? No toleration of oppression? Freedom for all mankind?

Tell me please if I am going mad but didn’t the left used to come out with visions like that?

It gets worse/better.

In their recent demonstrations the anti-war movement have combined opposition to democracy in Iraq with the more positive (albeit ambigious) slogan of ‘Freedom for Palestine’.

So what did Bush have to say about that?

We seek justice and dignity. We seek a viable, independent state for the Palestinian people, who have been betrayed by others for too long.

Oh. And Israel?

We seek security and recognition for the state of Israel, which has lived in the shadow of random death for too long.

Yes. But what about all the bad stuff the Israeli government has been doing?

Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and not prejudice final negotiations with the placements of walls and fences.

Sorry but what is the problem again?

Ok, I know, its a speech, it’s just fine words, lets see them put into practice, judge him by his and his administration’s deeds.

Well, yes, why not?

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