II. Champion Aspirations for Human Dignity
"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to
speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. Different circumstances
require different methods, but not different moralities."
West Point, New York
June 1, 2002
In pursuit of our goals, our first imperative is
to clarify what we stand for: the United States
must defend liberty and justice because these
principles are right and true for all people everywhere.
No nation owns these aspirations, and no
nation is exempt from them. Fathers and mothers
in all societies want their children to be educated
and to live free from poverty and violence. No
people on earth yearn to be oppressed, aspire to
servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of
the secret police.
America must stand firmly for the nonnegotiable
demands of human dignity: the rule of law;
limits on the absolute power of the state; free
speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect
for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and
respect for private property.
These demands can be met in many ways.
Americas constitution has served us well.
Many other nations, with different histories and
cultures, facing different circumstances, have
successfully incorporated these core principles
into their own systems of governance. History has
not been kind to those nations which ignored or
flouted the rights and aspirations of their people.
Americas experience as a great multi-ethnic
democracy affirms our conviction that people of
many heritages and faiths can live and prosper in
peace. Our own history is a long struggle to live
up to our ideals. But even in our worst moments,
the principles enshrined in the Declaration of
Independence were there to guide us. As a result,
America is not just a stronger, but is a freer and
more just society.
Today, these ideals are a lifeline to lonely
defenders of liberty. And when openings arrive,
we can encourage changeas we did in central
and eastern Europe between 1989 and 1991,
or in Belgrade in 2000.When we see democratic
processes take hold among our friends in Taiwan
or in the Republic of Korea, and see elected
leaders replace generals in Latin America and
Africa, we see examples of how authoritarian
systems can evolve, marrying local history and
traditions with the principles we all cherish.
Embodying lessons from our past and using
the opportunity we have today, the national security
strategy of the United States must start from these
core beliefs and look outward for possibilities to
Our principles will guide our governments
decisions about international cooperation, the
character of our foreign assistance, and the
allocation of resources. They will guide our
actions and our words in international bodies.
- speak out honestly about violations of the
nonnegotiable demands of human dignity
using our voice and vote in international
institutions to advance freedom;
- use our foreign aid to promote freedom and
support those who struggle non-violently
for it, ensuring that nations moving toward
democracy are rewarded for the steps they take;
- make freedom and the development of
democratic institutions key themes in our
bilateral relations, seeking solidarity and
cooperation from other democracies while
we press governments that deny human
rights to move toward a better future; and
- take special efforts to promote freedom of
religion and conscience and defend it from
encroachment by repressive governments.
We will champion the cause of human dignity
and oppose those who resist it.
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