- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In his speech yesterday to the the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush did an admirable job of outlining a vision of a new Middle East and providing suggestions about how the United Nations could play a constructive role in world affairs. In urging the international community to join the United States in creating a “world beyond terror,” the president in effect challenged the United Nations to transform itself from an institution apathetic about or hostile to freedom. Invoking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enacted in 1948 by the General Assembly, Mr. Bush provided an element of moral clarity that is usually absent in institutions like the United Nations, which tend to treat dialogue and negotiations as ends in themselves — regardless of the consequences for justice and freedom.

The president argues persuasively that in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, it is no longer possible for the civilized world to ignore brutal dictatorships in Arab/Muslim countries that repress their people, force them to live lives of squalor and degradation and inculcate them with jihadist teachings — including a hatred of all persons who do not adhere to the politically correct versions of Wahhabi or Shi’ite Islam. That’s why, as Mr. Bush reminded the General Assembly yesterday, the United States decided it could not remain passive following the attack on America five years ago. So, the United States deposed the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and is supporting Afghans and Iraqis seeking to replace brutal, despotic regimes with democratic ones. “We must seek stability though a free and just Middle East, where the extremists are marginalized by millions of citizens in control of their own destinies,” Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush also addressed directly Iranians, Syrians and Palestinians. Expressing admiration for the Iranian people, the president emphasized that the United States does not oppose civilian nuclear programs in Iran. He added, however, that “the greatest obstacle” to a better future “is that “[Iranian] rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation’s resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons.” He told the Syrian people that, if their government were to stop functioning as a tool of Tehran and end its support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, it would open the way to better relationship between Syria and its neighbors.

And the president addressed the people of Darfur in Sudan — Muslims who are being brutally repressed by fellow Muslims. Terming the slaughter in Darfur “genocide,” Mr. Bush called on the United Nations to approve a peace-keeping force. (The force would be aided by NATO nations, which would provide logistics and other support). The president announced that he is appointing a special envoy for Darfur: former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios.

In sum, the president put forward a clear vision of how the United States, working with international institutions such as the United Nations where possible, has dedicated itself to defeating Islamofascism and building a more democratic Middle East.

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