One year ago, President George W. Bush made a unique proposal to the United Nations General Assembly. “Because I believe the advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world,” Mr. Bush said at the time, “I propose establishing a Democracy Fund within the United Nations.”
The U.N. Democracy Fund has now been established. The United States has made an initial contribution of ten million dollars. And some thirty nations, including Britain, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Israel, and India, have pledged financial support. “It is fitting,” President Bush said, “that the world’s largest democracy, India, has taken a leadership role in helping others [to become democratic] by pledging ten million dollars to get the fund started.”
President Bush told the United Nations General Assembly that the work of democracy is larger than holding elections:
“[I]t requires building the institutions that sustain freedom. Democracy takes different forms in different cultures, yet all free societies have certain things in common. Democratic nations uphold the rule of law, impose limits on the power of the state, treat women and minorities as full citizens. Democratic nations protect private property, free speech and religious expression. Democratic nations grow in strength because they reward and respect the creative gifts of their people. And democratic nations contribute to peace and stability because they seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, not the conquest of their neighbors.“
Mr. Bush said that democratic members of the United Nations could help others through the U.N. Democracy Fund. “Every free nation has an interest in the success of this fund,” he said, “and every free nation has a responsibility in advancing the cause of liberty.”
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.