I hope President Bush learns a lesson from this. Because while December’s tragedy caught our attention, there are everyday, slow-motion tsunamis of poverty and disease and mass killings engulfing villages and nations all around our world. These places may seem far away from us, but we learned on September 11th that even Manhattan is not an island, that we live on a tiny globe and that the world’s problems have a way of reaching us here at home.
We need to dry up the breeding grounds that produce terrorism before the next generation of bin Ladens arise. Working to bring economic possibility and educational opportunity and basic medicine to places from South America to Western Africa to East Asia isn’t something we do just because we’re selfless. It is very much in America’s long-term self-interest and vital to our national security.
In 1945, at the beginning of another presidential term in another time of war, Franklin Roosevelt as tough a leader in war as America has ever had spoke of the lessons we had learned as a nation. He said, “We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away.” And he said “the only way to have a friend is to be one.”
President Bush…America needs to start making more friends in this world. We certainly have enough enemies.