Condoleezza Rice alludes that 9/11 was due to 50 year old US foreign policy mistake.

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    Condoleezza Rice alludes that 9/11 was due to 50 year old US foreign policy mistake.
    Due to the USA "[seeking] stability at the expense of democracy in supporting authoritarian regimes"
    "If people have no way to hold their governments accountable through peaceful change, they will do so violently. "

    Why democracy prevails
    For 60 years the United States sought stability at the expense of democracy in supporting authoritarian regimes, but we should have known better

    by Condoleezza Rice 04:45 AM Sep 06, 2011
    "My God! This is a terrorist attack!" I had just received word that a second plane had plunged into the World Trade Center in New York. Thirty minutes later I would learn that another plane had hit the Pentagon.
    "You have to go to the bunker, now!" the Secret Service agent yelled at me. "There are planes flying into buildings all over Washington. The White House has got to be next."
    As I was almost lifted off my feet and pushed toward the safety of the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, I stopped to call President George Bush.
    "You can't come back here," I said.
    "I'm coming back," he replied.
    "Stay where you are," I answered, raising my voice in a way that I had never done and would never do again to the President of the United States. "We, I mean, the United States is under attack."
    For those of us in office on that day, it is as if time was suspended. For us and for the victims' families, every day since then has been Sept 12.
    Our sense of what constituted security and what it takes to protect the country had been irrevocably altered. The United States, the most militarily and economically powerful country on Earth, had experienced a devastating attack. And it had been carried out by a stateless band of extremists, operating from the territory of what was at the time a failed state, Afghanistan.
    In the months after the attack, we reflected again and again on the deeper causes. What could provoke the hatred that led people to fly air planes into buildings on that bright September day?
    Ten years later, it is clear that 9/11 made encouraging democracy and supporting political institutions a global necessity.
    In 2002, a group of Arab scholars at the United Nations issued the Arab Human Development Report, identifying three gaps - respect for human freedom, women's empowerment and access to knowledge - that are holding back the progress of millions of people. And these gaps do even more harm: They cause the hopelessness that in turn creates a vacuum into which extremism and hatred flow.
    This is the link between what happened on 9/11 and the urgency of democratic reform throughout the Middle East. For 60 years, the US sought stability at the expense of democracy in supporting authoritarian regimes. But we should have known better.
    If people have no way to hold their governments accountable through peaceful change, they will do so violently.
    There is a reason that extremists are the most organised political forces in the Middle East today. Authoritarians did not permit politics in the public square and thus "politics" went instead into the radical mosques and madrassas.

    Now decent political forces - those that will defend women's rights and religious and ethnic tolerance - will need the time to organise themselves to fill the void. Authoritarianism is simply unsustainable. As difficult as the journey to democracy may be, it is the only pathway to true stability.

    The killing of Osama bin Laden just a few months before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the eruption of the Arab Spring in the same year bring together the lessons of that devastating day. Extremism will wither as people gain legitimate means to control their future. I do not believe that extremism will win when the public square allows the open debate of ideas.
    Political institutions will come into being - weak at first but ultimately necessary to define the relationship between the authority of the state and the rights of the individual.
    In Baghdad and Kabul, citizens are trying to use their new democratic institutions to secure better lives as free men and women. That road is long but at least they are on their way with constitutions that define the relationships between those who govern and those who consent to be governed.
    The people who are experiencing glimpses of freedom in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and across the Middle East have just begun to build the institutions that will secure their liberties. And in some places, dictators are fighting to hold back the day when they will fall. Freedom can be delayed but not denied.
    Since 9/11, we have come to understand that no country can secure itself in isolation and that helping failed states heal is no longer simply a matter of largesse - it is now a necessity.
    Consequently the US has pursued a foreign policy that is as practical as it is compassionate and transformative: We encourage economic and social development, we promote the empowerment and protection of the vulnerable, and we strive for a civilised and ultimately more peaceful world.
    These ideals transcend political parties and form the basic core values for which American democracy stands and those that we, as American citizens, represent.
    In the days to come, those who perished on 9/11 will be honoured by family and friends and fellow citizens and sympathetic people around the world. The lives lost can never be regained - leaving grieving parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters who will never quite be whole again.
    But perhaps there is some comfort for them - for all of us - in knowing that there was far greater meaning in the horrors of that day. Because of the fortitude of the United States, 9/11 is not a day that reminds us of defeat or vulnerability or a global power's supposed decline.
    It is a day that rallies us, in tragedy and in victory, to declare that freedom will prevail. Many of us have been blessed with God's gift of freedom. It is our responsibility and our work never to tire until it is universally enjoyed. @Condoleeza Rice (Distributed by The New York Times)

    Condoleezza Rice was Secretary of State from 2005 to 2008. She was national security adviser from 2001 to 2005. She is a professor of political economy at the graduate school of business at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California; a senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution there; and a professor of political science at the university. Her book, to be published on Nov 1, is No Higher Honor. On Sept 11, 2001, Ms Rice was in her West Wing office at the White House when she learned from one of her aides about the attack on the World Trade Center.
    Copyright 2011 MediaCorp Pte Ltd | All Rights Reserved
    Source of report: url= (change '-' to '/' to view url or search google "Why democracy prevails todayonline sg" for the orig Rice commentary)
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011

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