The "expansion of freedom"


Geraldine Sealey
January 20, 2005 9:00PM (UTC)

Bush's inaugural address will riff on a familiar theme: the onward march of "freedom." "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," Bush will say, according to excerpts released by the White House. More: "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world." And: "In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty."

Of course, few would argue against "freedom" and "liberty" for as many people as possible. But many Americans -- a majority -- have registered disapproval of Bush's preferred method of "expanding freedom," at least in Iraq. Ruy Teixeira notes that "By 2:1 (67-32) the public agrees that '[d]emocracy and freedom in Iraq are important, but the war has cost the United States too much in lives and money already to stay much longer.'"

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As for the notion that an America led by George W. Bush can show the world "the meaning and promise of liberty," the BBC poll from earlier this week shows just how the rest of the world feels about that: 58 percent of people polled in 21 countries think Bush makes the world more dangerous, and 47 percent see U.S. influence in the world as largely negative.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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