The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
In a speech in Brussels, Belgium, President George W. Bush said, "In a new century, the alliance of Europe and North America is the main pillar of our security. Our robust trade is one of the engines of the world's economy. Our example of economic and political freedom gives hope to millions who are weary of poverty and oppression. . . .No temporary debate, no passing disagreement of governments, no power on earth will ever divide us."
In two world wars, Europe experienced the aggressive nature of tyranny. With the Cold War, the eastern half of the continent fell under Soviet Communist oppression. But Europe also saw the rise of democratic movements like Solidarity in Poland. Such movements eventually overthrew Soviet Communism and ended the division of Europe. "The spread of freedom," said President Bush, "has helped to resolve disputes, and the enlargement of NATO and the European Union have made partners out of former rivals":
"America supports Europe's democratic unity for the same reason we support the spread of democracy in the Middle East -- because freedom leads to peace. And America supports a strong Europe because we need a strong partner in the hard work of advancing freedom in the world."
Europe showed itself to be such a partner by helping to resolve the election crisis in Ukraine. Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko's election victory was a victory for democracy for the Ukrainian people. Once Ukraine has achieved the necessary reforms, its aspirations to move closer to and eventually integrate with Euro-Atlantic institutions should be welcomed. Mr. Bush said Russia's future also lies within the transatlantic community:
"Yet, for Russia to make progress as a European nation, the Russian government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law. We recognize that reform will not happen overnight. We must always remind Russia, however, that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power, and the rule of law."
Today, America and Europe have new opportunities to help turn authoritarian countries toward economic development and democratic government. "Freedom," said President Bush, "is the direction of history because freedom is the permanent hope of humanity."