In his speech to the General Assembly, President Bush showed what the U.N. should be, a platform from which the United States can speak truth to powerlessness. In contrast to the suffocating banalities that fill the air at the General Assembly, Bush’s forceful advocacy of freedom--and his willingness to speak plainly about the freedom deficit in the Middle East--was a breath of fresh air.
Resident Scholar Joshua Muravchik
In his peroration Bush mentioned a public letter he received from a group of Arab and Muslim intellectuals. It is being circulated by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy and already has nearly 100 signatures. The purpose of the letter is to pressure Bush not to retreat from his pro-democracy stance. The signers have read various acts by the administration to signal a return to “realism” in the wake of the electoral triumphs of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The clear focus of Bush’s speech to the U.N., like that of his television address of a week ago, demonstrates that the president is unbowed on his pursuit of democratization. The fact that such a large and prominent group of Middle Eastern figures would sign the letter shows that this policy continues to reverberate in the region regardless of the low approval ratings for Bush and America in regional public-opinion polls.
Joshua Muravchik is a resident scholar at AEI.