Monday, June 20, 2005

Secretary Condoleezza Rice's Remarks at the American University in Cairo

I think Rice's speech at American University and Bush's second inaugural are going to be long remembered.
We should all look to a future when every government respects the will of its citizens -- because the ideal of democracy is universal. For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people. -SecState Rice
The book that explains why is Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy :
In the prisons, the inmates would communicate with each other by tapping on the walls in Morse code, or talking through toilets after the bowls had been drained of water. Reports of a collapse in the Soviet economy offered threads of hope to the beleaguered prisoners. Above all, news of the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States offered the prisoners hope. When Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the "evil empire," the word spread rapidly through the walls and plumbing of the Soviet prisons. "The dissidents were ecstatic," Sharansky remembers. "Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth--a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us."
and...
Sharansky poses the reality like this: "The great debate of my youth has returned. Once again the world is divided between those who are prepared to confront evil and those who are willing to appease it. And once again, the question that ultimately separates members of the two camps remains this: Do you believe in the power of freedom to change the world?"
and finally,
Tracing a tragic pattern of Western naivete and complicity with dictatorial regimes, Sharansky warns that a "failure to appreciate the inherent belligerency of all nondemocratic regimes results in the dangerous illusion that they can serve as reliable allies in preserving international peace and stability." With his warning, Sharansky argues that fear societies, whether of the right or the left, cannot be trusted as allies, regardless of the admonitions of the foreign policy realists.

"Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you," Sharansky asserts. "Indeed, it is the absence of democracy that represents the real threat to peace. The concept of the friendly dictator is a figment of our imagination because the internal dynamics of nondemocratic rule will always require external enemies. Today, the dictator's enemy may be your enemy. But tomorrow, his enemy may be you."

There can be no mistaking Sharansky's intended point--in the context of the War on Terror, he is advising America and other Western nations that autocratic Arab regimes like the government of Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted as reliable allies. Much like the Communists in the Soviet Union, the royal house of Saudi Arabia is propped up by a regime of fear, he claims, and as such it will inevitably fall of its own weight.
So listen Senator Durbin, no one will remember you in ten, twenty years, just as we now seek to forget those who defended appeasement and detente with the Soviets in the 70s and 80s. You'll only be remember as a sad historical footnote. Someone who slandered his country and it's service members in some odd quest for political gain.

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