When Barack Obama ran for president, many said they supported him because they wanted the rest of the world to like America again. Being liked is nice, but every true leader knows it is far from the most important thing when it comes to leading.
To some extent President Obama has relinquished our country’s role as leader of the free world. He is reacting rather than leading. It is not necessary, nor would it be wise, for Obama to make the United States the issue. But what he could do is use some of his famous speechifying to really inspire and encourage those seeking freedom. There are people literally giving their lives in the streets in the pursuit of freedom and the supposed leader of the free world has been largely silent.
President Obama’s wait and see and try to say as little as possible approach on Iran stands in stark contrast to that of President George W. Bush. I wish Obama had inherited George Bush’s passion and commitment to those pursuing liberty and democracy around the world.
The following is from Bush’s 2006 State of the Union speech:
“Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's cause. Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time…”
“At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran -- because the demands of justice and the peace of this world require their freedom as well. No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it…”
“Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity. The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon, and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.”
“America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And, tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.”
That’s what it sounds like when the leader of the free world speaks.