George W. Bush Jr. once said, “if America shows weakness and uncertainty; the world will drift toward tragedy. That will not happen on my watch.” Yet as America learned from his eight years in office, he made many promises that he did not exactly keep. One of the most traumatic events in American history occurred nine years ago under George Bush’s term, which made his presidency a very difficult job. Although his first term during the post-911 time went fairly smoothly, it was his second term that regularly continued to bring his popularity down. While the tragedies of September 11th really hurt our nation, they actually helped Bush during his second election. When a country suffers of a great loss during a president’s term, they are more likely to get that sympathy vote to win an election.
In Condoleezza Rice’s speech at the Wriston lecture, she voices the plans of Bush’s administration to help rebuild the United States after September 11th along with their plans for foreign policies amongst the world. She goes through a brief outline of the actions that will be taken by the United States and the other world wide great powers to prevent terrorism and spread peace throughout the nations.
Off the bat, Rice makes a comparison to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the World Trade Center, calling them the “bookends of a long transition period”. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union split up into numerous countries. It was the end of the world the way Soviets new it. Along the same lines, the events of September 11th ended the world of Americans the way that they knew it as well. Rice makes a valid point when she says that September 11th crystallized our vulnerability. Before the attack on the World Trade Center, most of America was living in a world where they thought everyone liked us. Being one of the greatest superpowers of the world, it was assumed that we held popularity amongst the people of the world. Yet the surprising attack made everyone second-guess his or her beliefs and views of our country.
As Rice continues on with her speech, she talks about the plan that President Bush has administered to “defend, preserve and extend” the peace around the world. Bush’s plan calls for a unity amongst the world’s greatest powers. In a speech given by Bush after September 11th, he says, “every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”. This is an unfair comment that pressures every country to involve themselves in this blood bath of a way that still continues on today. If a country decides not to support George Bush, he says that they qualify as supporting the terrorists. To me, this qualifies as bold and inaccurate statement. Bush states that it is the United States’ responsibility to “make the world not only safer but also better”. What I don’t understand is why it is the job of the United States to interfere with other countries and the way that their government is run when we have our own problems to worry about in our country. Although I understand the fact that the events of September 11th really affected our country and precautions’ really need to be taken to protect our country, it is unnecessary to involve ourselves in business where we are not welcome.
Along with George Bush’s plan of promoting peace, it is also in his plans to extend our security in attempts to prevent these attacks from occurring in advance. Although this is a valid point to make, even Rice states how much harder it is to prevent such attacks due to the rising amount of terrorist groups that have members who believe that suicide bombings are what God wants them to do and they believe it is the right thing. This makes the security a lot harder because a member of one of these groups could be living right under our nose in our country and an attack could not be foreseen. This makes taking precautious security measures a lot harder.
George Bush and his administration went over their heads with the promised that they made during the early post-911 time. The citizens of the Untied States understand that Bush feels that it is his responsibility to protect his people, but its another thing to promise to almost make a utopian society that can not exist. In her speech, Rice talks about how the United States will continue to fight against the AIDS/HIV epidemic, on top of expanding trade, and fixing the terrorism problems of the world. Bush was almost better off not making promises to his people then making all of these promises and not being able to deliver. It’s not even the fact that he didn’t deliver, it is almost impossible to fix all of the problems he wanted to fix, but since he made the gesture of saying he would, his people were ready for change.
As of today I believe that the situation with terrorism has not improved but has just gotten worse. American people are living in much more fear than they used to because they know that they are in danger every single day. There are hundreds of thousand of American soldiers overseas fighting for what they say “our country” yet I do not see it that way. Our country had the Revolutionary War where we gained our independence. We had a Civil War in which we fought against each other for the independence and rights of our own citizens within our community. Yet this war is not for our country. This war is a way that the American government is trying to gain power throughout the world and name itself the most powerful country. All that this is doing is causing resentment towards our country amongst the people in the middle east and around the world.
I believe that many points that Condoleezza Rice made several valid points throughout her speech, yet I still find many things that I can counter. A large part of the reason that I believe that I oppose so many of these statements is because of the fact that I am reading this eight years after this speech was given and I am aware of the lack of action that was taken to improve the living situation of the American citizens. Instead, we send innocent boys and girls to fight in countries that do not want us there.