- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2006

July Fourth diplomacy

American ambassadors around the world invoked the names of Thomas Jefferson and other signers of the Declaration of Independence as they celebrated the 230th anniversary of the first Fourth of July.

They tailored their messages to conform with the challenges on the ground. Ambassador James F. Moriarty in Nepal praised the recent pro-democracy demonstrations that forced the Nepalese king to relinquish absolute power. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney in the Philippines spoke of the longtime friendship between Americans and Filipinos, while Ambassador Ronald Schlicher in Cyprus compared the U.S. struggle for independence to the hurdles facing ethnic Greeks and Turks in their efforts to reunify the island.

In Japan, Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer recalled the dramatic progress in U.S.-Japanese relations from enemies in World War II to global partners today.

In Britain, the 18th-century superpower defeated by a ragtag American army, Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle praised the special relationship between Washington and London as he called on both to continue fighting tyranny around the world.

Mr. Tuttle, in a speech last week in London, focused on Jefferson, the third president, and John Adams, the second president — both of whom died on July 4, 1826.

“The truths that the Continental Congress held to be self-evident — that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — are again the subject of debate and again the aspiration of many around the world,” he said.

Mr. Tuttle called the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the July 7 bombings in London “part of a global attack” by extremists who have embraced “the ideology of death.”

“Past generations fought against the tyranny of fascism and the extremes of communism,” he said. “Today, the world’s leading nations must decide what they will do to confront this new threat — totalitarianism with a religious face. Be assured, if we are silent, evil will succeed.”

In the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, Mr. Moriarty compared the Nepalese fight for democracy to the difficulties the United States faced since the American Revolution, from the Civil War in the 1860s to the struggle for civil rights a century later.

“In April, the people of Nepal started their journey toward democracy, one that will demand the active participation in public life of all of its citizens,” he said, adding that “in the spirit of America’s birthday celebration, I encourage all of you to continue to muster the strength of will to attain and then sustain democracy.”

Mrs. Kenney, speaking in Manila, noted that the Philippines, which became a U.S. possession in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, attained its independence on July 4, 1946, by an act of the U.S. Congress.

“I am personally honored to recognize the deep partnership between the United States and the Philippines on July 4, the most cherished of days in American history,” she said.

On Cyprus, Mr. Schlicher urged ethnic Greeks and Turks to follow the example of “our Founding Fathers, [who] proved 230 years ago that a new and better history can be written by people who choose to negotiate their differences and find their common interests.”

“You are, in essence, being asked to write a new history, one which needs to respect history and tradition and culture, but one which also promises all residents of the island a better, more peaceful and stable future,” he said.

In Tokyo, Mr. Schieffer noted that Americans and Japanese are partners in a global public works program from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean.

“Just over six decades ago, we were engaged in bloody conflict, and today, we work together as close friends … to improve lives and spread freedom around the world,” he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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