President Bush may not have the oratorical skills of FDR, Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan or even Bill Clinton, but his speech contained a treasure trove of insight to where President Bush wishes to take this country. And a bold vision it is!
What I believe the mainstream media missed with Dr. Rice's testimony I expect them to miss on Bush's speech.
The speech seemed more directed at an audience on foreign shores than it did for the domestic audience. We become immune to hearing the words "democracy", "liberty", and "freedom" because they are used so often. President Bush used them today, but instead of them being the usual color for a speech, they were policy points and deep-held convictions.
President Bush's charge and the heart of his message came early:
"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
The speech brought to mind John F. Kennedy's inaugural address when he eloquently said:
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
While the United States did help promote democracy during the Cold War, it did not do so with the passion and energy our nation needs to now pursue it. The Cold War was about pragmatic compromises, supporting unsavory dictators as well, especially in the Middle East, to keep countries in the US sphere rather than the Communist sphere.
In a post Cold War world, where different ideologies dominate the world debate, the old paradigm of working with unsavory nations cannot continue to ensure US security.
I believe President Bush was not just trying to hold ground and promote his democractic changes in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead was laying down the gauntlet to totalitarian states:
"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.... The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side."
The next four years will bring about a major push to expand on the spreading of democracy in the world. It is vital if we want to protect our liberty as well.