Democracy

In his second inaugural address, President Bush stated that “it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” He predicated this on the belief that “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Functioning representative governments with the rule of law, economic opportunity and other tenets of a free society do not make fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists, do not produce massive outflows of refugees, do not cause famine, and do not war with other democracies.President Bush’s historic statements have delineated a new chapter in American history. Advancing freedom requires comprehensive and tailored strategies to ensure that we are analyzing each unique situation, learning from successful—and unsuccessful—transitions to democracy, and using all of the tools in our arsenal to address the many facets of democratization. It is a complex undertaking—each country has a distinct history, is at a unique point in its own political development, and has a different set of public and private circumstances that help or hinder democratization.

These pillars comprise the foundation from which other components of democracy are derived, such as:

  • Free and fair elections with active political participation by diverse elements of society;
  • Enumeration of inalienable rights and the protection of minorities;
  • Building of essential democratic institutions, including a functioning legislative body, a capable civil service—all held to a high standard by disincentives for corruption;
  • Fostering of a vibrant civil society, and
  • Protection of the key freedoms

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2006