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The George W. Bush Institute Launches "Freedom Square"
The post originally appeared on the Freedom Collection’s blog: Freedom Square.
“Freedom is universal.” That’s a phrase that President George W. Bush used many times in the White House, and it’s the guiding principle of the Bush Institute’s very first program—the Freedom Collection. Freedom is not just for Americans and Europeans, for the rich and educated. Everyone desires it and deserves it.
Originally, we conceived the Freedom Collection as an archive of video history for scholars: dozens, and eventually hundreds, of interviews with dissidents and freedom advocates. But we quickly expanded our notion of the Collection’s audience. All Americans—and people around the world—need to know these personal stories of courage and imagination. And perhaps the most important audience for the Collection is composed of people living under tyranny themselves today in places like Iran, Cuba, and Syria.
But the Freedom Collection is more than an archive and more than an educational platform. It is a forum, a meeting place, an educational institution, and a shining beacon—the online equivalent of Freedom Tower, which glows above the new Bush Center in Dallas.
Today, therefore, we launch the Freedom Collection blog, and we’re calling it “Freedom Square.” It’s hard to think of a time in the past 20 years when Freedom Square has been more necessary. Freedom, after advancing for so long, is now in retreat, and America threatens to curl up into isolation.
Still, there is good reason to hope. The Arab Spring holds the promise of being the most important revolution of our time; Latin America, poised between democracy and autocracy, has gained new self-confidence; and, while Iran’s great civilization remains under a cloud of a dangerous and repressive regime, the Green Movement and the recent presidential election show that vast numbers of citizens want change. Freedom Square, as we conceive it, will help shine the light of liberty and democracy into the world’s darker corners.
James K. Glassman is the Founding Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute.
James K. Glassman is the Founding Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute and the interim Director of the Military Service Initiative.
He served as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs from June 2008 to January 2009, leading the government-wide international strategic communications effort. Among his accomplishments at the State Department was bringing new Internet technology to bear on outreach efforts, an approach he christened “Public Diplomacy 2.0.”
From June 2007 to June 2008, Glassman was chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). He directed all non-military, taxpayer-funded U.S. international broadcasting, including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and Alhurra TV. Glassman was a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., from 1996 to 2008, specializing in economics and technology.
He has been moderator of three weekly television programs: Ideas in Action and TechnoPolitics on PBS and Capital Gang Sunday on CNN.
Glassman has had a long career as a journalist and publisher. He served as president of Atlantic Monthly, publisher of the New Republic, executive vice president of U.S. News & World Report, and editor and co-owner of Roll Call, the Congressional newspaper. Between 1993 and 2004, he was a columnist for the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune and continues to write regularly for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Forbes. Shortly after graduating from college, he started Figaro, a weekly newspaper in New Orleans. His articles on finance, economics, and foreign policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and various other publications.
Glassman has written three books on investing, and in April 2012 was appointed to the Investor Advisory Committee of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was formerly a member of the Policy Advisory Board of Intel Corporation and a senior advisor to AT&T Corporation and SAP America, Inc.Full Bio
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe