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Rice On Promoting Democracy

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the world would be a worse place if the United States had not chosen to promote democracy abroad:

“We would never have seen the defeat of Nazi Germany. We would not have seen Japan move from imperial tyranny to one of our closest friends and a strong democracy. Had we accepted the world as it is, we would never have seen the collapse of the Soviet Union, a country with thirty thousand nuclear weapons, five million men under arms covering twelve different time zones, and peacefully, one day, went away. Had we accepted the world as it is, we would not have seen the turn away from juntas in Latin America and toward free states or the emergence now of democracies in Africa, several of which have seen peaceful transitions from one leader to another.”

Ms. Rice said that many of the changes that have taken place in the world would earlier have been “unthinkable and unimaginable”:

“And now, we look back, and somehow they seem as if they were always inevitable. So when we look out and we see new democracies being born – struggling democracies – whether in Afghanistan or Iraq or in Palestine or in Lebanon, I think we recognize that while the Middle East may, in fact, have been the last place that the United States was really willing to speak forcefully for democracy, that we have plenty of experience that if the United States continues to insist that no man, woman, or child should live without basic freedoms, we can make a difference.”

Secretary of State Rice said that people throughout the world, regardless of their socio-economic status, want a say in who will govern them, the right to speak, worship and educate their children as they please and the right “to be free from the arbitrary knock of the secret police at night.” The United States, she said, “ought to always speak loudly for and defend democracy.”