Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An Axis of Evil in Latin America?

In a roundtable interview of President Bush with foreign print media just prior to his trip to Argentina, Bush was asked the following question by a foreign correspondent:

"What do you think about the [prospect] of--in the Bolivian election, the victory of an overtly leftist candidate, Evo Morales, of his peasant movement? And in that case, are you worried about a possible 'axis of evil' in Latin America--Venezuela and Bolivia?"

To which President Bush responded:
The thing that we're interested in is fair elections, free and fair elections where people have the chance to express themselves at the ballot box.... And so we will see how the people vote.... And that's all you can ask. And then the people will decide who they want. And that's what democracy does.... Sometimes you've had different forms of government in our own hemisphere and around the world, where the people don't decide but an elite decides, a handful of people get to decide the the fate of the people. And that, throughout history, has led to resentment and hatreds and turmoil and conflict.... [O]ne of the universal truths is democracies lead to peace. Democracies don't fight each other....I believe freedom is universal. It's not contained within one country or one religion or one type of person. There's a universality to freedom. I believe mothers around the world desire their children to grow up in freedom. It doesn't matter whether you're Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu.
It is an interesting response. Bush appears to be stating that democratic societies can and should flower in all soils and that the United States must accept a wide range of results from such elections. If a democracy freely and fairly chooses a far left candidate like Hugo Chavez, or a far right Islamic fundamentalist candidate in the Middle East, so be it.

Bush is asserting that all democratic societies belong to an axis of freedom, not evil.