Monday, November 22, 2004

"You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world"

Essential reading over at NRO:


"I told the president, 'There is a great difference between politicians and dissidents. Politicians are focused on polls and the press. They are constantly making compromises. But dissidents focus on ideas. They have a message burning inside of them. They would stand up for their convictions no matter what the consequences.'

"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue — despite all the critics and the resistance you faced — you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world."'[emphasis added -- Quote. Of. The. Day.]

From one of the most famous dissidents of era of the Evil Empire, such is not faint praise.


[...]

"Everybody knows that weapons of mass destruction are very dangerous in the hands of terrorists," says Sharansky, his passion as strong as his accent. "But very few people understand how powerful weapons of mass construction can be in the hands the free world. There are so many skeptics, so many people who doubt whether Iraqis and Palestinians really want to live in freedom, or whether democracy in the Middle East is really such a good idea. But I lived under a totalitarian regime. I know the horrors of these regimes from the inside. I know they can be transformed. They won't be perfect, and they won't agree with us on every issue. But it is better to have a democracy that hates you than a dictatorship that loves you."

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