Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"Will Vietnam Be the Next Iraq?"

President Bush's speech yesterday made a prominent reference to "the universal claim of individual rights." The principle of individual rights is indeed universal—which means that a policy engineered to support freedom in the Middle East cannot help but to have effects elsewhere, a point made in this column on a pro-freedom dissident in Vietnam. And if the "forward strategy of freedom" effects Vietnam, why not China?

"Saigon's Sharansky," Claudia Rosett, Wall Street Journal, 3/9/05

"Already, Mr. Bush has been answered by the breathtaking election turnout in Iraq, the uprising in Lebanon, the tremors in Syria and Iran, the stirrings in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But the effects hardly stop with the Middle East. In many places, people trapped under tyrannies are now watching. Ballots cast in Baghdad echo way east of Suez. So it happens that a message reached me last weekend from within one of the world's most repressive states: Vietnam. Word came that the Sharansky of Saigon, democratic dissident Nguyen Dan Que, had been released from his latest stretch in Vietnam's prisons.... Dr. Que does not have access to the daily diet of news that feeds the free world. But given the feats of modern technology to spread information, he knows enough about what is now happening in the Middle East so that he wished to share his views on how America's intervention in Iraq is like the war in Vietnam, and how it isn't. The similarity, he says, 'is the same fighting spirit for freedom.' The difference, he adds, is that in the fight for freedom, the side America is on 'will triumph this time.' "