EDITORIAL: Democracy: the only ideal we can support

Nearly two weeks ago President George W. Bush visited Brazil and other Latin-American nations, in an attempt to spread democratic ideals via economic policies. While the trip to Brazil did not establish the free trade zone from Alaska to Argentina as the president had hoped, he did continue his fight for democracy in places such as Venezuela and Cuba, where leftist socialism currently dictates the day.

This past week, President Bush has visited southeast Asia, including Taiwan, Japan and China, attempting to bolster our domestic economy via global economics, as well as have discussions about the avian bird flu. Yet even though health, safety and economic issues were at the forefront of Bush’s visit, he still took the time to encourage China to continue to give personal freedoms to its citizens and grow toward a democracy.

This editorial board supports President Bush for his encouraging of democracy worldwide. Given that democracy is the best way yet used to organize the masses, while still ensuring their basic civil liberties, we want to see this style of government, in one of its many intricate forms, implemented around the world.

President Bush’s recent international trips could be viewed with cynical eyes as a form of escape from his lowest approval ratings yet (currently hovering between the mid-to-upper 30 percent range). It also could be seen as a means of escaping Scooter Libby’s, Tom DeLay’s and, potentially, Karl Rove’s legal issues. Yet, the president’s recent stand against the Democrats pushing makes it appear these trips are genuine.

Whether genuine or not, though, the president’s recent words to non-democratic leaders of the world are bold and good. The president, according to an Associated Press article from Nov. 7 said democracy, “offers a vision of hope. It is founded on representative government, integration into the world community and a faith in the transformative power of freedom in individual lives.”

The president then said in Japan, speaking to China, in a Nov. 16 Associated Press article, “We encourage China to continue down the road of reform and openness. By meeting the legitimate demands of its citizens for freedom and openness, China’s leaders can help their country grow into a modern, prosperous and confident nation.”

The president is making bold statements around the world about the importance of the style of government that allows every American citizen the freedoms they currently enjoy. However, in a world that frowns upon one person telling another how to live better, the president’s actions are not going to be seen as popular. Yet here’s the rub: If the president were to not send billions of dollars of federal emergency aid to a foreign nation whose state was thrown into chaos by natural disasters outside of their control, he would be seen as heartless.

In a world of increasing interdependence economically , Bush’s encouragement for democracy worldwide is the best step not for America but for all the world’s inhabitants.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.