President Obama is the world leader whose words in Cairo in 2009 have shaped the emergence of the Arab Spring of 2011. This is an achievement every bit as important to world peace as the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
In Cairo, our President uttered these prophetic words:
"I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from people; the freedom to live as you choose."
The leadership on the world stage by President Obama merited him the Nobel Peace Prize. His appeal to freedom contrasts mightily with the policies of the discredited Bush-Cheney rule. They launched an unnecessary war upon an Arab dictatorship with the resulting deaths of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers, the wounding of tens of thousands more and the plague of uncountable deaths and suffering upon millions of Muslims. The ranks of terrorists swelled around the globe with Arab hatred of the United States.
Now, without firing a shot or risking the life of single U.S. soldier, Obama's America has witnessed the fall of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and now likely in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.
Writing in the NY Times Roger Cohen reminds readers of the indigenous nature of the Arab Spring and the power of the idea of freedom.
"This is an uprising of Arabs, by Arabs, for Arabs. It started with a tiff over a fruit cart in a small Tunisian town to which no American policymaker has ever paid a minute of attention. Much of its historic importance lies precisely in its indigenous nature, now a wellspring of Arab pride. "
"Obamaism is taking form. Its themes are nonviolence, youth-driven social media as engines of change and limiters of autocratic brutality, and the universality of those rights listed in Cairo. I am feeling more hopeful about the world than at any time since 2001."
This Arab Spring of 2011 is proof that it matters who is President of the United States and that freedom begins with hope.
By Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo