On January 20, 2005 on the Capitol steps, the newly re-elected President George W. Bush delivered his second inaugural address to a large audience of supporters, detractors and world press. The speech laid out his world vision for the next four years. With the war still raging in Iraq and the first of a series of elections scheduled there 10 days later, President Bush spoke in sweeping terms about the force of events and stated: “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….every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker…we have proclaimed the imperative of self government because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals…is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time…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.”
The President proclaimed a broad definition of freedom which finds its moral basis in not only the Sermon on the Mount, but as well in the Jewish precepts of the Sinai and the words of the Koran. Further said Bush, in America’s ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. “We have confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom because it is the permanent hope of mankind.”
The Bush speech vowing to end tyranny around the world, set off a scramble within the administration to explain what the President meant. The newly declared goal they said did not portend dramatic changes in US foreign policy. According to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, we will see the United States support democratic forces in various countries. We will not abandon our friends. However the US has long raised objections to human rights violations in China. We applaud municipal elections in Saudi Arabia as an advance of democracy. The US has maintained strong ties with countries whose policies we openly criticize, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. We may not necessarily raise principles of freedom and democracy with foreign leaders in a public way.
As expected America’s drive to firmly plant democracy in the Middle East beginning with the elections scheduled for January 30, 2005 ran into fierce opposition from terrorists, most notably Abu Musab-a-Zarqawi, the recently assassinated Jordanian- born al-Qaida chief in Iraq. On January 23, 2005 he declared war on democracy in an audio recording posted on the Web as his terrorist associates attacked polling stations and other targets aimed at disrupting the then upcoming election. This election, since conducted successfully, permitted Iraqi voters to choose a 275 seat National Assembly and provincial councils in 18 provinces. Al-Zarqawi stated: “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” The speaker railed against democracy for supplanting the rule of God with the rule of man and the majority and that this was based on un-Islamic belief such as freedom of expression and separation of church and state.
The President’s speech has raised more questions than it has answered as to America’s foreign policy intentions, including its financial and military capability to carry out its broad aims. The President has raised fundamental issues about our ideals, the meaning of liberty, freedom and democracy and America’s long and short-term goals and responsibilities to the world. To find meaningful definitions of these idea