There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin. — President John F. Kennedy, 1963
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gates 1987
Even powerful speeches and words lose all meaning and effect when they are not backed with clear resolve and firm action. Kennedy’s words were backed up by a large increase in our strategic nuclear forces; Reagan’s words were backed by nuclear missiles stationed in Europe and a missile defense initiative. Because Reagan’s and Kennedy’s words had power, purpose and meaning, and because they backed those words with firm resolve and clear policy the history of our world was changed and freedom expanded.
So here lies the challenge Senator Barack Obama: if you go to the Brandenburg gates and speak it would be without purpose or meaning because those gates are now open and the people past the gates are already free.
Instead why not become a true leader — one who promotes the cause of freedom in this world?
With that in mind I’ve outlined a potential itinerary below:
A fundamental component of freedom is the right of individuals to buy and sell property. A society or state with all property in the hands of a few elite can not be free. So travel to a farm community on the steppes of Russia, speak of freedom and challenge Russia to implement land and property reforms.
Another fundamental component of freedom is for people to be able to select a representative government; so travel to Doi Ang Khang in Thailand, speak of freedom to the Communist backed Military Junta in Burma, tell them to free Aung San Suu Kyi and the monks held prisoner, tell them to hold elections and accept election results now. Or if that’s too provocative then you could just challenge the Junta to let aid workers in to feed the starving masses in Burma.
Travel To Khartoum in Sudan, tell them to hold elections and accept results. Travel to Saudi Arabia, tell them to hold elections and accept results, travel to Cuba, tell them to hold open elections and accept results. On the other hand, you could kick-start your talks with Iran by challenging them to let all opposition candidates run, not just those approved by the mullahs.
Another fundamental component of freedom is to pursue happiness and part of happiness is freedom of movement and trade. Travel to Musan in South Korea — tell Kim Jong Il to tear down his wall, challenge him to allow aid workers in to feed the starving people of North Korea, if that’s too tough, travel to Tibet, speak on freedom and challenge China to free Tibet.
If you want to be a true leader, you have to face the big challenges; on the other hand if you want to be just another milksop souless politician, go ahead to the Brandenburg gates.