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Monday, January 28, 2008

Condi on ideals

Rudy tipped me off to this great Davos speech from Secretary Rice. I have been against the war from day one, but Rice does a good job here of stating the only argument that has ever held any sway with me:

Now, this emphasis on democracy in the Middle East is controversial, I admit, and some would say, “Well, we’ve actually made the situation worse.”

I would ask: Worse compared to what?

Worse than when the Syrian army occupied Lebanon for nearly 30 years? Worse than when the Palestinian people could not hold their leaders accountable, and watched as a chance for peace was squandered and evaporated into the second intifada?

Worse than the tyranny of Saddam Hussein at the heart of the Middle East, who terrified his neighbors and whose legacy is the bodies of 300,000 innocent people that he left in unmarked mass graves?

Or worse perhaps than the false stability which masked a freedom gap, spawned hopelessness, and fed hatreds so deep that 19 men found cause to fly airplanes into American cities on a fine September morning?

No, ladies and gentlemen, the past order in the Middle East is nothing to extol, but it does not make the challenges of the present less difficult. Even when you cherish democratic ideals, it is never easy to turn them into effective democratic institutions. This process will take decades, and it will be driven, as it should be, and as it only can be, by courageous leaders and citizens in the region.

Different nations will find ways to express democratic values that reflect their own cultures and their own ways of life. And yet the basics are universal and we know them – that men and women have the right to choose those who will govern them, to speak their minds, to worship freely, and to find protection from the arbitrary power of the state.
Bush has all this at his disposal, but I bet he'll talk about evil doers in his Sate of the Union tonight. Condi is definitely his better half. He should put her out there more.

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