The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice says that the United States remains committed to promoting democracy and freedom throughout the world. Ms. Rice said during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the "dramatic advance" of democracy which occurred during the last quarter of the last century has continued: "In the last six months of this new century alone, we have witnessed the peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Malaysia - a majority-Muslim nation – and in Indonesia - the country with the world's largest Muslim population. We have seen men and women wait in line for hours to vote in Afghanistan's first-ever free and fair presidential election. We...were heartened by the refusal of the people of Ukraine to accept a flawed election, and their insistence that their democratic demands would be met. We have watched as the people of the Palestinian Territories turned out to vote in an orderly and fair election. And soon the people of Iraq will exercise their right to choose their leaders, and set the course of their nation."
Still, Ms. Rice said, there remain "outposts of tyranny" in the world:
"And America stands with oppressed people on every continent ... in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe. The world should apply what [former Soviet dissident] Natan Sharansky calls the 'town square test': if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a 'fear society' has finally won their freedom."
The United States and its allies should continue to work to make the world safer and freer, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice said. "We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom," she said. "And the time for diplomacy is now."