The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
President George W. Bush ended his European tour with a visit to Slovakia. Speaking in Bratislava, he recalled how in 1989, the Czech and Slovak people peacefully overthrew the Communist government in what came to be known as the Velvet Revolution. “By claiming your own freedom,” said Mr. Bush, “you inspired a revolution that liberated your nation and helped to transform a continent.”
Since then, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have peacefully separated. Slovakia is now a sovereign and democratic country. In 2004, Slovakia joined NATO and the European Union. The road to liberty and prosperity, said President Bush, has not always been easy, “but Americans respect your patience, your courage and your determination to secure a better future for your children. As you work to build a free and democratic Slovakia in the heart of Europe, America stands with you.”
Because Slovaks know the horror of tyranny, they have been willing to help bring freedom to those still oppressed. Slovakia has sent peacekeepers to Kosovo and election observers to Ukraine. The government has brought Iraqis to Bratislava to learn firsthand how to develop democratic institutions. Moreover, Slovak soldiers are serving in a humanitarian mission alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some have given their lives for the cause of freedom.
Democracy in Europe has continued to spread eastward with the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. The advance of freedom can take generations, but ultimately no country will be left out, says President Bush:
“Inevitably, the people of Belarus will someday proudly belong to the country of democracies. Eventually the call of liberty comes to every mind and every soul. And one day, freedom’s promise will reach every people and every nation.”
"That advance," said Mr. Bush, "has great momentum in our time."