I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.
There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.
“Ben Fee looks like a scaled-down edward G. Robinson, a slightly shorter version of a short tough guy. An open, boyish smile on his face all the time and a Tiparillo in the right side of his mouth, all on top of a loose, careless, swaggering tough chubbiness that stops for nothing, not for moving cars, traffic jams, falling safes, nothing but the touch of Chinatown ladies, members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in the daytime, members of his English classes Friday Nights.”—Frank Chin, Confessions of a Chinatown Cowboy