By Alan Caruba
Every July, Freedom House, an organization that tracks the progress or the lack of freedom around the world, releases a map that identifies those nations where freedom exists and where it does not.
Find it here: http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2008
A copy of this map should be sent to the incoming Obama administration, starting with the President, because it makes it instantly clear as to where the problems of the world exist and where the enemies of freedom live, scheme, and control the lives of billions.
All of the North American continent and much of the South American continent is free. That is to say its nations practice democracy and exercise the rule of law. Exceptions to the rule are all found south of the U.S. border. Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay, are deemed to be “partly free” along with a string of Latin American nations between Mexico and Panama. Cuba, of course, is not free at all.
As one casts one’s eyes over the map, it is abundantly clear that large sections of the world, primarily Russia and China, are deemed “not free.” The entire Middle East with the exception of Israel, Jordan and Turkey is considered “not free.” It will be interesting to see the July 2009 map and its judgment on Iraq. If it is deemed free or even partly free, it will be the first time in at least three decades or longer. Thank you Uncle Sam!
The continent of Africa is a patchwork quilt of nations that are free, partly free, and not free. Those across the northern part, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt are not free. Moving south, you can add the Sudan, Chad, the Congo, Angola, and the most accursed of all, Zimbabwe. Somalia barely passes for a nation these days. The most obvious factor uniting these freedom-hating nations is that all are Muslim.
The least prosperous nations, in terms of how their wealth is distributed among their population, are those under the rule of communism or Islam. Some nations, of course, are “oil rich” but Venezuela stands out as an example of how one can be both oil rich and still have a population rendered dirt poor by communism.
Cuba, once a thriving tourist destination, producer of sugar and fine cigars, could be a lot better off economically if it wasn’t communist. It is barely ninety miles off the coast of Florida. It began its descent in 1959 when Fidel Castro took over. It was previously run by another despot named Batista. With the exception of Haiti, most of the Caribbean nations are relatively free.
The European nations enjoy freedom. Great Britain, the home of the Magna Carta, is free and it is obvious that former British colonies, such as Australia, South Africa, and India, are free nations too. Japan is free because the U.S. conquered it and, after World War II, stuck around to ensure it had a constitution and learned how to apply democracy. We did the same with South Korea.
It took five years, but Iraq looks like it’s on its way to establishing a degree of freedom that does not exist in other Middle Eastern nations. Next door in Syria, the Baath Party is still in power under Bashar al-Asad, the son of the former dictator. Syria continues to threaten Lebanon, a nation that used to be run by a coalition of five powerful families that ensured peace and prosperity. Those days are long gone and Hezbollah, an Iranian puppet group of Palestinian terrorists, controls it today. Both now threaten Israel.
Americans today, who live in freedom because so many of their countrymen were willing to fight and die to preserve and protect it, are often criticized for sending their countrymen to far-off places like Iraq to spread freedom and for maintaining a military presence on the high seas and on bases around the world. It is obvious, though, if one looks at the map, that Americans are the world’s greatest hope of freedom.
It is only by extending freedom, creating and encouraging new functioning republics, aiding struggling, but real republics, and never failing to speak out against injustices in those nations that masquerade as being free, that we will ultimately protect our own freedom.
America is, astoundingly, the oldest functioning republic on Earth. We date our birth from the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but the real birthday of America was June 21, 1788 when the Constitution became effective. It became a beacon of freedom when the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments, was ratified on December 15, 1791.
The first job of every American is to read, understand, and then demand that our elected leaders act within the limits imposed by the U.S. Constitution. It is not a blank check. It has, quite frankly, been chewed to bits by those we have sent to Congress since early in the last century. If or when it ceases to function as intended, Americans will cease to be free.