December 29, 2005


Democracy Test: As 2005 began, President Bush set the spread of democracy as his primary goal. How did he do? (Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey, Dec. 28, 2005, Newsweek)

It only seems fair to judge someone’s year on their own terms. So in the holiday spirit, it’s worth looking back at President George W. Bush’s 2005 by using the standard he set for himself: the success of liberty.

As he explained in his Inaugural Address in January, his second term--and his legacy--depends on spreading democracy and the rule of law around the world. “We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion,” Bush declared on the steps of the Capitol. “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.” That wasn’t just something for future generations to worry about. Just before flying off to Camp David last week, and then his Texas ranch for a holiday, the president summarized his own year in front of the cameras on the South Lawn of the White House. “This has been a year of strong progress toward a freer, more peaceful world, and a prosperous America,” he said before citing the elections in Iraq. “This is an amazing moment in the history of liberty.”

Set aside, for a moment, the question of civil liberties at home--even though the debate has barely begun into why the administration bypassed the courts to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens. Just how amazing was the year in terms of liberty around the world?

Fortunately, Freedom House has already answered the question, so we don't have to go by just the opinions of two folks who think eavesdropping on terrorists means we have less liberty. Not only is freedom rising but the accompanying peace and prosperity are extraordinary. What stands out in the essay is that they just don't like the messiness that freedom brings in its wake.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 2:05 PM

The world is not perfect in 12 months! Failure! Quagmire!

Posted by: Bob at December 29, 2005 3:54 PM