Last week, President Bush gave an historic speech about foreign policy at
In reply to European critics who call Americans “moralistic,” Bush not only embraced that description, but he also identified it as part of the Anglo-American cultural legacy. He spoke of the moral zeal “inspired … by the tireless compassion of Lord Shaftesbury, the righteous courage of Wilberforce, and the firm determination of the Royal Navy over the decades to fight and end the trade in slaves.”
The president’s invocation of William Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury, the committed Christians who worked tirelessly to relieve oppression wherever they found it, marks the first time in my lifetime that any president has set forth his policy in such an explicitly Christian context.
His identification with this tradition stands in contrast to what you read in the European press. There, they call the president a “cowboy,” at best, and a religious crank and eccentric, at worst. Rather than get defensive, the president has replied “this is the tradition from
But the president’s speech was hugely significant for more than his reference to our evangelical roots. He outlined the most honest and visionary approach to foreign policy that any other American president has taken in a long time.
Bush, reflecting a hard-headed realism, candidly stated that we’ve had decades of failed policy in the
Not any more. We’re going to get to the heart of the problem, which is the lack of freedom in these societies. “No longer,” Bush said, “should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.”
If bin Laden and company think we will cut and run, they are mistaken. Bernard Lewis, the
This moralistic stand by the president deserves our support. That’s why I hope you’ll call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527) so we can send you a full copy of the speech. You need to study it, think it through, and be able to explain it to your neighbors. It’s not often that Christians get to witness history in the making. It’s even less common when the history invoked is their own.
For further reading and information:
“President Bush Discusses Iraq Policy at Whitehall Palace in London ,” White House Office of the Press Secretary,
BreakPoint Commentary No. 031124, “ Raising Our Sights .”
BreakPoint Commentary No. 031103, “ Mankind Is Our Business .”
BreakPoint Commentary No. 030723, “ A Necessary Show of Strength .”
Kevin Belmonte, Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce (NavPress, 2003).
Diana West, “ Islam’s consistency with democracy ,” Townhall.com,
Robert Kagan and William Kristol, “ An Administration of One ,” Weekly Standard,
David Ignatius, “ A warming trend for Bush in Europe ,” Indianapolis Star,
David Gelernter, “ The Roots of European Appeasement ,” Weekly Standard,
Max Boot, “ The End of Appeasement ,” Weekly Standard,