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AP: Bush Lectures Arab World On Reform

From a wondrously scornful Associated Press:

Bush lectures Arab world on political reform

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – President Bush lectured the Arab world Sunday about everything from political repression to the denial of women’s rights but ran into Palestinian complaints he is favoring Israel in stalled Mideast peace talks. “Freedom and peace are within your grasp,” Bush said despite scant signs of progress.

Winding up a five-day trip to the region, Bush took a strikingly tougher tone with Arab nations than he did with Israel in a speech Thursday to the Knesset. Israel received effusive praise from the president while Arab nations heard a litany of U.S. criticisms mixed with some compliments.

“Too often in the Middle East, politics has consisted of one leader in power and the opposition in jail,” Bush said in a speech to 1,500 global policymakers and business leaders at this Red Sea beach resort. That was a clear reference to host Egypt, where main secular opposition figure Ayman Nour has been jailed and President Hosni Mubarak has led an authoritarian government since 1981.

“America is deeply concerned about the plight of political prisoners in this region, as well as democratic activists who are intimidated or repressed, newspapers and civil society organizations that are shut down and dissidents whose voices are stifled,” Bush said.

“I call on all nations in this region to release their prisoners of conscience, open up their political debate and trust their people to chart their future,” Bush said.

Scattered applause followed, with barely a ripple of reaction later to his declaration than Iran must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon…

The heart of Bush’s speech was a warning that Mideast nations lag behind the developing world and cannot count on their oil wealth forever.

Bush urged countries to make their economies more diverse, open to free trade, with lower taxes and protection for intellectual property rights.

He called for political changes that bring competitive, legitimate elections where leaders are held to account and appealed to nations to push back against the negative influence of “spoilers” such as Iran and Syria.

He urged an expansion of women’s rights as “a matter of morality and of basic math. No nation that cuts off half its population from opportunities will be as productive or prosperous as it could be. Women are a formidable force, as I have seen in my own family and my own administration.” …

We are with the Associated Press on this one. The nerve of this guy.

Who does he think he is? This is ‘cowboy diplomacy’ at its most arrogant.

Fortunately, President Obama will soon put an end to all this nonsense.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, May 18th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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