Champion Aspirations for Human Dignity
"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic
or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree.
Different circumstances require different methods, but not different
West Point, New York
June 1, 2002
In pursuit of our goals, our first imperative is to clarify what
we stand for: the United States must defend liberty and justice
because these principles are right and true for all people everywhere.
No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from
them. Fathers and mothers in all societies want their children
to be educated and to live free from poverty and violence. No people
on earth yearn to be oppressed, aspire to servitude, or eagerly
await the midnight knock of the secret police.
America must stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human
dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state;
free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women;
religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property.
These demands can be met in many ways. Americas constitution
has served us well. Many other nations, with different histories
and cultures, facing different circumstances, have successfully
incorporated these core principles into their own systems of governance.
History has not been kind to those nations which ignored or flouted
the rights and aspirations of their people.
Americas experience as a great multi-ethnic democracy affirms
our conviction that people of many heritages and faiths can live
and prosper in peace. Our own history is a long struggle to live
up to our ideals. But even in our worst moments, the principles
enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were there to guide
us. As a result, America is not just a stronger, but is a freer
and more just society.
Today, these ideals are a lifeline to lonely defenders of liberty.
And when openings arrive, we can encourage changeas we did
in central and eastern Europe between 1989 and 1991, or in Belgrade
in 2000.When we see democratic processes take hold among our friends
in Taiwan or in the Republic of Korea, and see elected leaders
replace generals in Latin America and Africa, we see examples of
how authoritarian systems can evolve, marrying local history and
traditions with the principles we all cherish.
Embodying lessons from our past and using the opportunity we have
today, the national security strategy of the United States must
start from these core beliefs and look outward for possibilities
to expand liberty.
Our principles will guide our governments decisions about
international cooperation, the character of our foreign assistance,
and the allocation of resources. They will guide our actions and
our words in international bodies.
- speak out honestly about violations of the nonnegotiable demands
of human dignity using our voice and vote in international institutions
to advance freedom;
- use our foreign aid to promote freedom and support those who
struggle non-violently for it, ensuring that nations moving toward
democracy are rewarded for the steps they take;
- make freedom and the development of democratic institutions
key themes in our bilateral relations, seeking solidarity and
cooperation from other democracies while we press governments
that deny human rights to move toward a better future; and
- take special efforts to promote freedom of religion and conscience
and defend it from encroachment by repressive governments.
We will champion the cause of human dignity and oppose those who
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