transformational freedom

I can’t pretend to know all the who’s who or the totality of what’s going on politically in all the former soviet block countries, including Russia, but despite Putin’s turn towards tyranny, the elections in the Ukraine are a sign of hope and victory for the forces of freedom.

Especially when you consider the vision of Mrs. Yushchenko who worked in both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

The challenge will be to move Ukraine towards a free-market economy. Mrs. Yushchenko makes clear that her husband makes all of his own political decisions, but she will no doubt be a valuable asset to him. "She is one of the brightest, most dedicated conservatives I have ever known," says Bruce Bartlett, a former official in the Treasury Department under the first President Bush. "Anyone who met Kathy quickly discovered that creating a free, successful Ukraine was her primary mission in life, to the exclusion of almost everything else."

Now the challenge facing Ukraine is to make the leap towards becoming a democratic society truly governed by the rule of law. Mrs. Yushchenko is realistic about the obstacles facing her husband and his team. "[Some] people are making a lot of money off the current system," she told ABC News. "The last thing they want is for the system to change and for the economy to be a free market economy where the general population benefits rather than a small group of people at the top." Wall Street Journal

Freedom is on the march. Afghanistan is now a free country that just held their first democratic election. Iraq, despite all of its problems, will soon have its own elections as well. Even though some still say that it's none of our business 'forcing' democracy upon them, I am convinced that most Americans left and right agree that supporting democracy and freedom in these countries and the inevitable drive toward more freedom in the world is a good thing.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend, Israel. (Applause.) Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances -- heart by heart, and nation by nation -- America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. (Applause.)

It is my prayer this Christmas and New Year that this next century will be the century of freedom.

Posted by Eric Simonson at December 27, 2004 3:22 PM