For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 5, 2008
President's Radio Address
In Focus: Middle East
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Tuesday, I will board Air Force One and depart for a trip to the Middle East. This is a region of great strategic importance to the United States, and I'm looking forward to my visit.
My first stops will be in the Holy Land, where I'll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas. I will encourage both leaders to move forward with the peace negotiations they began last November in Annapolis. This is difficult work. It will require tough decisions on complex questions. But I am optimistic about the prospects. And I will make clear that America is deeply committed to helping both parties realize the historic vision we share: two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
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I know it is not always obvious why events in the nations of the Middle East should matter to the American people. But in the 21st century, developments there have a direct impact on our lives here. As we saw on September the 11th, 2001, dangers that arise on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to our own streets. Since then, extremists have assassinated democratic leaders from Afghanistan to Lebanon to Pakistan. They have murdered innocent people from Saudi Arabia to Jordan and Iraq. They are seeking new weapons and new operatives, so they can attack America again, overthrow governments in the Middle East, and impose their hateful vision on millions.
On my trip, I will consult closely with our partners in the war against these extremists. I will reaffirm our pledge to use every necessary tool of intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, finance, and military power to bring our common enemies to justice. The terrorists and extremists will not let down their guard, and we must not let down ours.
At its core, the battle unfolding in the Middle East is more than a clash of arms. It is an ideological struggle. On one side are the forces of terror and death. On the other are tens of millions of ordinary people who want a free and peaceful life for their children. The future of the Middle East depends on the outcome of this struggle, and so does the security of the United States. We know that societies growing in tolerance and hope are less likely to become sources of radicalism and violence. So America will stay engaged in the region. We will support democrats and reformers from Beirut and Baghdad to Damascus and Tehran. We will stand with all those working to build a future of liberty and justice and peace.
Prevailing in this struggle will not be easy, but we know from history that it can be done. After World War II, many said that advancing freedom in Europe and East Asia would be impossible. Yet America invested the time and resources to help nations make the transition from dictatorship to democracy. There were trying moments along the way, and progress did not arrive overnight. But with patience and resolve, we have seen an extraordinary return on our investment -- vital regions of the world that live in stability and prosperity and peace with America.
I believe a similar transformation can take place in the Middle East. At this decisive moment in their history, the people of the Middle East can have confidence in the power of liberty to overcome tyranny and terror. And all who step forward in freedom's cause can count on a friend in the United States. I look forward to sharing this message in the region.
Thank you for listening.