Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - September 2, 2005 - U.S., Europe Must Forge Broader Alliance, Says State's Fried
Posted on 09/03/2005 10:24:00 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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U.S., Europe Must Forge Broader Alliance, Says State's Fried
The Washington File, Embassy of the U.S., London:
America and Europe must work together to support democratic development throughout the broader Middle East, just as they supported the democratic aspirations of pro-democracy movements in central and Eastern Europe, says the State Departments Daniel Fried.
Speaking in Paris September 1, the day after attending a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland, Fried said the Polish people achieved democracy through their own efforts, but they had support from abroad, including from Western Europe, America, and even Pope John Paul II.
After freedom was achieved for most of Europe, said Fried -- the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs -- Americans accepted the status quo in the Middle East and were willing to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. But President Bush has frequently pointed out that decades of failed policy in the Middle East did not bring stability or safety, Fried noted.
Now Europe and America, just as they did during the Cold War, must forge an alliance of common values, pushing beyond our borders to meet and join with reformers in the broader Middle East, Fried said.
He disputed claims that democracy can only take root in certain cultures. This is nonsense: democracy answers universal human needs and can take root in all cultures and religious traditions, he said.
Fried noted that in the Arab press and media Arabs are engaged in an intense dialogue about democracy.
Though it has occurred in different times and in different forms, the advance of democracy is a historic experience that America, Europe and the Muslim world are beginning to share, he said.
He cited democratic advances in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and other Middle East countries, including Iraq.
Whatever our differences, Europe, America and the nations of the Middle East must support Iraqis as they build their institutions of freedom, Fried said. And those of us who are willing must stay by their side to provide security until Iraqis themselves can meet those needs.
Initiatives such as the Forum for the Future, the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative, the European Unions Barcelona Process, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative help support economic and political reform, he said.
He concluded by quoting from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rices remarks at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques-Sciences Politiques de Paris in February. Europe and America, she said, have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. And I use the word power broadly, because even more important than military and indeed economic power is the power of ideas, the power of compassion, and the power of hope." (See related story.)
Fried spoke to a French audience interested U.S.-European-Middle East dialogue, according to a State Department staff member.
Following are Frieds remarks in Paris:
FORGING A BROADER ALLIANCE FOR FREEDOM
Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Remarks at the Hotel Talleyrand
September 1, 2005
Minister Vedrine, Ambassador Stapleton, honored Ambassadors, and guests, please accept my thanks for joining with me in this dialogue on what I would like to call the U.S.-European imperative to support democratic reform and democratic reformers in the Middle East. There is no better place for such a discussion than France a center of European thinking, a center of global strategic thinking, and a center of expertise about the Middle East.
Let me begin this discussion by recalling earlier and formative discussions about democracy led by French-speaking intellectuals at the beginning of the modern era.
In the 18th century, the ideas of democracy and nationalism took shape in the West. The views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau reigned supreme among what we would call today "progressive elites." For Rousseau, representative government could only triumph as a sort of "boutique democracy"
thats my phrase, of course -- in small countries where the citizenry would more or less share the same culture and be bound together as would a large tribe. This view, though accepted by most at the time, proved to be limited.
The views of Alexis de Tocqueville, in the early 19th century, proved more perceptive. He saw that big countries, like America, with widely divergent cultural traditions could also become successful "universalist" democracies, again, in my phrase.
Rousseau and de Tocqueville were both trying to describe the conditions necessary for democracy to take root and flourish. This is an essential question today, and my own government has thought this through as well, including with respect to the modern Middle East. This is not for us a question of political theory, but of central strategic importance.
Some Americans, and some Europeans, think like Rousseau: essentially, that democracy is a fragile flower that needs special conditions to take root and flourish. But others, including my government, believe de Tocqueville had it right: democracy is robust, and its applicability is potentially universal.
Let me be even more specific: there are those who believe that democracy can take root only in European cultures, or the descendents of European cultures. This is nonsense: democracy answers universal human needs and can take root in all cultures and religious traditions.
In a National Endowment for Democracy speech in November, 2003, President Bush said that..."time after time, observers have questioned whether this country, or that people, or this group, were ready for democracy as if freedom were a prize you win....It should be clear to all that Islam the faith of one-fifth of humanity is consistent with democracy. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries
in Turkey and Indonesia, Senegal and Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone. Muslim men and women are good citizens of South Africa, of the nations of Western Europe, and of the United States of America."
But it is not American opinion that matters. In the Arab press and media, in Arab countries and in the West, Arabs are engaged in an intense dialogue about democracy. As de Tocqueville knew in his own era, and as the dictators in the Arab world should know today, the ancien regime is in profound retreat.
In a recent interview, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the Egyptian scholar and human rights activist, described the beginnings of the democratic process in his own region, "...in 1982 there was no single Arab country that had electoral politics, competitive elections or even the pretense of elections, but today there are 10-11 Arab countries with varying degrees of democratic politics...30...organizations that have the words human rights in their title...So if you persevere, and if you persist, you will see results. And we have seen results in my lifetime. Thats why I am an incurable optimist, in spite of all that I have seen."
Though it has occurred in different times and in different forms, the advance of democracy is a historic experience that America, Europe, and the Muslim world are beginning to share.
Ive just arrived from Poland where I commemorated the 25th anniversary of Solidarity; a place where democratic change has been recent and profound. Founded in 1980, Solidarity was repressed in 1981. But when I worked on the Polish desk at the State Department in 1989, momentous change was underway. The democratic advance that year was as sudden as it was unexpected to experts on both sides of the Atlantic. I was fortunate at that time to have had a colleague and mentor who believed with me that these determined people could bring democracy to their nation, despite the prevailing and massive skepticism.
Condoleezza Rice, then my colleague and now my boss, has frequently said that what seems impossible one day becomes inevitable the next.
Solidarity began with demands for justice and dignity by millions of people. The democratic aspirations of Solidaritys leaders drew people of all backgrounds together. Their combined courage and persistent efforts brought historic change after decades of tyranny and upheaval. The Poles achieved democracy through their own efforts, but they had support from abroad: from Western Europe and America, from a beloved pope, and from Ronald Reagan, whose demand to tear down the wall the Poles still remember.
The Poles made their own democracy. But they did not do so alone. Indeed, Solidaritys political achievement of 1989 built on forty years of common purpose by Europeans and Americans, and followed from a determined Euro-Atlantic strategy to combat totalitarian ideologies and to forge bonds with the people of Eastern Europe who sought freedom and justice for themselves and their nations. This transatlantic bond whether practiced by Monnet, Truman, Kohl, Kennedy or Reagan formed a long network of interwoven institutional and political arrangements meant to build Europe, whole, free, and at peace.
The achievement of freedom in Poland is a success story for Europeans, Americans and, above all, the Poles themselves. But we in free nations cannot rest while others lack freedom. While throughout the Cold War and after 1989 we fought and achieved freedom for nearly all of Europe, we afterwards let down our vigilance, or indulged our prejudices, elsewhere. Though WE are free, we cannot enjoy freedom or security while others, especially in the Middle East, live under tyranny. We cannot flourish in a comfortable isolation.
September 11th was our frightening wake-up call. That call screamed to us that we could not live with the status quo in the Middle East. In a 2003 speech in London, President Bush asked that "we shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East" because "in the past we have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered ideologies of violence took hold."
Americans thought there were sound strategic reasons for the United States to seek stability at the expense of freedom. We thought that freedom and security were separate. But we were wrong. Security and freedom are indivisible. Because we were wrong, young Muslims could not look to the U.S. with confidence that we would oppose despotism. While the people of Poland found some hope in VOA radio broadcasts, for too long the people of the Middle East did not. For far too long we were deaf to a growing call for reform.
We learned the hard way, as did many Europeans and many Muslims, that the rising totalitarian, extremist ideology that grew through decades of political oppression and lack of economic opportunity or social mobility made us less secure by the day. And we paid dearly: on 9/11, on 3/11, in London, in Bali, in Beslan, Istanbul, and Sharm El Sheik. Sadly, this is our common threat. Europeans, Americans, the people of the Middle East.
When we ask ourselves why the terrorists came after us, the reasons are clear. The democratic world is their target because it offers individuals basic freedoms to make their own destinies, while the terrorists and the totalitarian thinkers who inspire them embrace an ideology of hate, blood, and coercion.
During the Cold War, faced with the challenge of totalitarian communism, Europe and America forged an alliance of democracy; an alliance of common values and principles, and we succeeded. In this era, Europe and America must now forge an alliance of common values, pushing beyond our borders to meet and join with reformers in the broader Middle East.
Just as we achieved security through democracy and strength after two World Wars in the last half of the 20th century, so we can achieve it in the first half of the 21st. The totalitarian ideologies we wrestled with were in Europe; though our work in Europe is not complete, todays challenges are now beyond our borders, and our action and efforts must be directed far from our shores.
The Euro-American alliance must stand with reform and reformers in the Broader Middle East and beyond. Gathering in Gdansk were democracy activists from around the world: from China, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Russia, Belarus, and Cuba. They spoke out about what Solidarity had meant and still means to them, and urged the democratic community, now including Poland, not to forget them.
They are right. Together Euro-American efforts must turn outward; together we must support the future "Solidarities" and all the reformers of the Middle East. Now is the time for us to support peoples who are trapped by economic mismanagement and oppressive political regimes.
Some of you may see this call as an example of famous yet excessive American idealism. But isnt a wager on freedom a higher realism? Have we not learned that betting on the status quo of oppression is simplistic cynicism, guaranteeing future tyranny and a faux-Islamic radicalism?
Let us remember as well that democracy is as natural as the marketplace. Democracy by its nature is not imposed. Dictatorship is imposed by secret police and prison
Some ask whether the United States is prepared for democratic elections that extremist parties might win. Democratic elections are not fixed in advance and neither my country nor any country can pick winners. But democracy is not just one election. A democratic system includes rule of law, guaranteed freedoms, economic opportunities, and elections that are free and fair and regular. Europeans and Americans need to trust that in most places, and in all places over time, radicalism will lose out to a human desire for justice. But we must also demand that extremist groups that seek the privileges of a democratic political process accept the democratic rules: respect for oppositions and the inalienable rights of all citizens. A party cannot hold the ballot in one hand and the gun in the other.
A wager on democracy is realism. Democratic advance sometimes slow, sometimes surprisingly swift is upon us. In the 1970s there were about 40 democracies in the world; today there are over 120 with more on the way:
-- In Ukraine democracy advanced in Kievs Maidan as the world watched.
-- In Georgia, democracy advanced through a rose revolution.
-- And in the Middle East, too, the wave of democracy is now arriving:
-- In Lebanon, democracy took the form of a courageous public defiance of the status quo and the first free elections in decades.
-- In Syria, human rights activists have stepped forward to assert their right to a political life free of terror and tyranny.
-- In Egypt, the largest Arab country, we are witnessing the most vibrant discussions of democracy in a hundred years.
-- In Gaza, the withdrawal of nearly 8,000 settlers a courageous act by the Israeli democratic government will allow the Palestinians there to govern themselves, and free parliamentary elections for all Palestinians are due in January.
-- Women have attained the vote in Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait, and now serve in cabinet posts.
-- And women will vote in national elections for the first time next year in Oman.
-- In Saudi Arabia, we anticipate the first municipal elections in forty years, with an expectation that women should be able to vote in the next Saudi elections. (However, as my colleague Liz Cheney says, "Lets hope women will be able to drive themselves to the polling places.")
-- In Iraq, that countrys nascent democratic institutions, especially the parliament the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament have debated federalism and the role of religion in politics. Iraqis are deciding their own constitution for the first time in history. It is a messy process, taking place under the skeptical eye of the world media and under threat of violence from totalitarian insurgents. But while the future is unclear, Iraqis future lies in Iraqi hands; and they are not waiting for Saddam to haul them off to a mass grave.
Whatever our differences, Europe, America, and the nations of the Middle East must support Iraqis as they build their institutions of freedom. We must help them with economic reconstruction and development. We must help them through political support, and not make them the objects of our differences over tactics. And those of us who are willing must stay by their side to provide security until Iraqis themselves can meet these needs.
Earlier generations of Europeans and Americans confronted hateful ideologies by remaining strong and united, and reaching to support reform and reformers throughout all of Europe. That must be our goal today, and we must act beyond Europe, especially in the broader Middle East. But the Euro-American alliance remains critical. As President Bush made clear just before his trip to Europe last February, "Security and justice and prosperity for our world depend on America and Europe working in common purpose."
Do Europeans and Americans always agree? Of course not. Are some conversations difficult to have? Yes. Do the pundits like to declare our alliance "dead"? With regularity. But we are preparing ourselves to deal with the challenges of the new century, once again reaching out to advance the cause and the proponents of freedom.
In Afghanistan, an alliance of free nations, working through NATO, provide security for Afghanistans young democracy.
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both Europe and America have a common vision: two peaceful, democratic states living side by side. Two peoples at war for decades now have a chance to find peace. Gaza disengagement gives us something new on which to build. On critical practical matters like building Palestinian security forces, we are working together effectively. Yet a key to peace is the building of effective, responsible, capable and, yes, democratic Palestinian state institutions. And Europe and America will help.
In Lebanon, through President Chiracs leadership, close Franco-American cooperation, and a UN Security Council Resolution, America and Europe have helped Lebanon regain its sovereignty and free itself from Syrian occupation.
On the troubling question of Irans nuclear weapons aspirations, we work closely with our European partners through the EU-3 process. Yet here, too, we cannot forget the Iranian people and their democratic rights and aspirations. The appearance of elections did not fool us. The Iranian people want greater liberty and the chance to vote for candidates not chosen by the ruling clerics.
Even as Europe and the United States seek to resolve the critical conflicts in the broader Middle East, we must mobilize ourselves to support reform and reformers everywhere in the region. Like-minded nations of the G-8 and the region created the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative to forge a common purpose with reformers of the region. And through its Barcelona process, the European Union has sought to do this for over a decade, and we applaud these efforts.
Ministers from the nations that compose the "Forum for the Future," and representatives of civil society throughout the region, will meet in Bahrain in November to decide on ways to help activists, reformers trying to build working democratic institutions, and small business owners seeking economies free of the cartels and corruption that prevent economic change.
That same month, EU leaders will gather in Barcelona to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Barcelona Process. Let us come out of both of these events by affirming our common hopes and pursuing our common objectives together.
At the U.S.-EU summit in June, our leaders urged the Government of Egypt to open its forthcoming elections to international observers. And we stressed the importance of freedom of speech, freedom of association, and unfettered access to the media for all candidates. We hope that the Egyptian government has been listening.
We must be bold in ambition and practical in what we seek every day. Through its Middle East Partnership Initiative, the United States supports economic, political and educational reform and the empowerment of women. Projects include training of Lebanese election observers, teaching Yemeni and Moroccan women to read, providing over 2 million childrens books translated into Arabic, funding a study of Womens Freedom in the Arab World, and training for newly independent media outlets.
When Condoleezza Rice was here in February, she told her Parisian audience that "Our work has only begun.
In our time we have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. And I use the word power broadly, because even more important than military and indeed economic power is the power of ideas, the power of compassion, and the power of hope."
A woman in the audience asked her why she had chosen Paris to give her speech. She highlighted the alliance of values that moved Europe from the horrors of the 20th century to the peaceful, prosperous and democratic Europe of today. She told the woman that France has a great tradition of debate, of intellectual ferment.
So, Ill save you the effort of asking me the same question. Im here for the same reasons, and this is a good time for me to participate in the French tradition of debate. Id be delighted to take some questions. But before that, I look forward to hearing Minister Vedrines comments on these issues.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
- Iran Press News reported that Iran's Supreme Leader doubts Islamic terrorists exist, saying: We are very doubtful of the existence of people who are supposedly followers of a backward form of Islam... bombing buses and metros... adding: do these groups and elements actually exist?
- Iran Press News reported on a protest in Sanandadj for lack of pay.
- SMCCDI reported that three Oil Wells have exploded near the southeastern City of Ahwaz. The explosions which are act of sabotage.
- Iran Press News also reported on the explosions adding that the representative from the Dashazadegan region to the Parliament said: "These actions are planned and lead by 'London'."
- SMCCDI reported that several hundreds of individuals qualified as "trouble makers" have been arrested in the last days in Iran with the official ISNA announcing the official number of 1,000 for Tehran arrests alone.
- The Washington Times reported that since last February, the Bush administration and France set aside the ill feelings created by the war in Iraq and began to work together for reform in the Muslim world.
- Robin Wright, The Washington Post reported that the Bush administration plans to launch a new effort at the United Nations this month to tighten the squeeze on Syria, backed by France along with new evidence of Syria's involvement in the murder of Hariri.
- The Economist cites evidence that Mr Ahmadinejad is a newcomer to Iran's treacherous national politics. It shows.
- The Associated Press reported that the European Union yesterday urged Iran to return to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear program and threatened to take Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions if it did not.
- SMCCDI announced the "Iran U.N. Protest 2005" coalition is going to hold a Telethon this Saturday and Sunday in Los Angeles (CA)to gather the necessary funds for the organization of a massive demo at the United Nations (UN) on September 14th.
- Khaleej Times reported that Iran's new government has adopted a high-risk policy: pursuing its controversial nuclear programme at the price of losing its European allies.