goal of U.S. foreign policy, says Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, is not to impose democracy on others but to create
conditions of “openness” around states that
“encourage and nurture democratic reform."
Rice, speaking at the Commonwealth Club
in California May 27, said the United States is not forcing
others to adopt democratic principles because democracy,
unlike tyranny, does not have to be imposed. “Democracy,
a belief in liberty, a desire to be free is as natural as
breathing,” she said.
Creating democracies is not easy, Rice said,
and even long-established ones such as the United States
can stumble at times. But by creating institutions that
protect democratic principles, freedom remains secure even
in challenging times, she said.
The United States is working to help countries
in Latin America and Africa achieve openness and build democratic
institutions through economic incentives, she said, adding
that the passage of the free-trade agreement with Central
America and the Dominican Republic is one of the highest
priorities of the Bush administration. Free trade, Rice
said, energizes democracy and strengthens security by lifting
people out of poverty.
Honduras and Nicaragua will also be receiving
financial assistance from the Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC), she said. To qualify for MCC funds, Rice explained,
countries must demonstrate a commitment to governing transparently
Eight countries in Africa already have financial
assistance compacts with MCC and 37 African nations hold
preferential trading status with the United States through
the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which similarly
requires a commitment to political and economic reform,
In today’s world, the secretary said,
the greatest threat to world peace comes from within nations,
not between them. And the best antidote to tension and unrest
within a country is more openness and more democracy, not
less, Rice said, explaining that people need institutional
channels through which their desires for change and progress
can be directed.
During a question-and-answer session following
her speech, Rice was asked about the continuing violence
in Iraq. Terrorists, she said, are deliberately killing
and maiming innocent people, including women and children.
“This isn’t ‘resistance’,”
she said. “This is bloody terror and you have to call
it by name.”
The secretary said she believed that, despite
all its challenges, Iraq would succeed in establishing a
democracy. “It’s not going to look like the
United States, but it’s not going to look like Saddam’s
Iraq either. And thank God for that,” she said.
of the secretary’s remarks is available on the State
Department’s Web site.
Rebecca Ford Mitchell
Washington File Staff Writer