Sunday, January 23, 2005


Bush's Inaugural Speech

Widespread ignorance in the news media

I don't understand why President Bush's inaugural speech has upset so many people in the news media. All Bush did was expound a bit on official US policy as stated in "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America." In an introductory letter to the doccument dated Sep 17, 2002, Bush wrote:
Finally, the United States will use this moment of opportunity to extend the benefits of freedom across the globe.We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.

The text of the doccument expands on this:

America’s experience as a great multi-ethnic democracy affirms our conviction that people of many heritages and faiths can live and prosper in peace. Our own history is a long struggle to live up to our ideals. But even in our worst moments, the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were there to guide us. As a result, America is not just a stronger, but is a freer and more just society.

Today, these ideals are a lifeline to lonely defenders of liberty. And when openings arrive, we can encourage change—as we did in central and eastern Europe between 1989 and 1991, or in Belgrade in 2000.When we see democratic processes take hold among our friends in Taiwan or in the Republic of Korea, and see elected leaders replace generals in Latin America and Africa, we see examples of how authoritarian systems can evolve, marrying local history and traditions with the principles we all cherish.

Embodying lessons from our past and using the opportunity we have today, the national security strategy of the United States must start from these core beliefs and look outward for possibilities to expand liberty.

Our principles will guide our government’s decisions about international cooperation, the character of our foreign assistance, and the allocation of resources. They will guide our actions and our words in international bodies.

We will:

* speak out honestly about violations of the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity using our voice and vote in international institutions to advance freedom;

* use our foreign aid to promote freedom and support those who struggle non-violently for it, ensuring that nations moving toward democracy are rewarded for the steps they take;

* make freedom and the development of democratic institutions key themes in our bilateral relations, seeking solidarity and cooperation from other democracies while we press governments that deny human rights to move toward a better future; and

* take special efforts to promote freedom of religion and conscience and defend it from encroachment by repressive governments.

We will champion the cause of human dignity and oppose those who resist it.

It seems many in the media were either hearing these ideas for the first time or they had decided to simplyl ignore them all this time. As I see it, their collective reaction is quite shocking, considering the fact that the speech really contained nothing new and it is supposed to be their job to pay attention to things like this. But it wouldn't be a real surprise. Far from it.


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