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11/12/03 - BUSH ON SPREADING DEMOCRACY - 2003-11-13

In little over a generation, President George W. Bush said on November 6th, the world has witnessed “the swiftest advance of freedom” in history. Freedom has made extraordinary gains in Europe, Latin America, and many parts of Asia and Africa. Now, said President Bush, the world “has reached another great turning point”:

“Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe -- outposts of oppression in our world. The people in these nations live in captivity, and fear and silence. Yet, these regimes cannot hold back freedom forever -- and one day, from prison camps and prison cells, and from exile, the leaders of new democracies will arrive.”

Mr. Bush said the lack of freedom and democracy is especially severe in the Middle East: “In the words of a recent report by Arab scholars, the global wave of democracy has -- and I quote -- ‘barely reached the Arab states.’ They continue: ‘This freedom deficit undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development.’ The freedom deficit they describe has terrible consequences, for the people of the Middle East and for the world.”

That is why, said President Bush, the U.S. has adopted “a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.”