Dubya said several things tonight that made me happy, assuming that we make them happen. But before I speak about those I have one comment. Has there ever been a time in which the president said that the State of Our Union was anything less than strong. I can’t remember it.
“Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital â€“ but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote. The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election â€“ and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections â€“ now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform â€“ now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens.”
You’ll forgive me for being cynical, but Egypt is not what I call a democracy. Just ask Mubarak about term limits. Beyond that we see the rise of Hamas as potential foreshadowing of Islamic republics, elected Islamic republics. There is an ideological battle here that is playing out in front of us. But I really was happy to hear Dubya make it clear that Hamas will change their stripes or face the consequences. Will we hold true to this.
“The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon â€“ and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions â€“ and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.”
I am very curious to see how the rest of the world responds to this.
Beyond these points I was pleased to hear him speak about ending our dependence on oil, and his intentions to help improve education and innovation in business.
The real question now is whether these words translate into action.