William Saffire put the president's inauguration speech in the top ten second term inaugural in history. I haven't read all the second term speeches, but I might've been inclined to give it even more prominence than that on the grounds of the singular statement:
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
It would seem that the Bush administration has grasped that policy is most successful when idealism and self-interest intersect, or, rather, that they have grasped this with regard to foreign policy. While this rather subtle nuance of politics (frequently lost on academics) seems to have become the core idea of Bush's foreign policy, the president seems to have failed to comprehend that old adage: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
Over the past weeks innumerable editorials have been published regarding the budgetary evisceration of social welfare programs, and, clearly, this is in keeping with ideas popular among Republicans since Reagan, but it is in direct opposition to both our ideals and our interests. As we pour money and manpower into the Iraqi reconstruction, even going so far as to daily sacrifice America's sons and daughters on the altar of freedom and global community, the administration would have us believe that our own disconnected areas are somehow fundamentally different from Sadr City, that our freedom and security are connected to slums in Baghdad, but not to slums in Detroit.
Allow me to put this into perspective. If the Bush doctrine, or some revised form of it, is successful, by 2020 there will be a functioning economy, a middle class, and prosperity in the Middle East. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine will no longer be fruitful recruiting ground for Jihadists. Indigenous populations, focused on building a future, riding steadily forward on a sense of possibility and increased expectations will shun Jihad in favor of moderate forms of Political Islam, geared toward building a better future for the Islamic world. However, as can already be seen in Western Europe, Islamic communities abroad will face discrimination, finding themselves in squalor amid the prosperous. Imagine the Black Panthers emboldened with Jihadist ideology and a lot of Simtex.
The very social programs that are designed to prevent indigenous Americans from sliding into crushing poverty are America's first line of defense against the Jihadists of tomorrow. While most Americans don't realize it, America's Islamic population is surging. In Dearborne, Michigan 30% of the population is of Arab ancestry, more than 60,000 people, most of them living in disconnected and impoverished communities. Already anti-American demonstrations have had a chilling effect.
In the coming years the survival of liberty in our land will depend increasingly on the survival of our commitment to opportunity for all Americans. Social welfare is our first line of defense against the Jihadists of tomorrow. Isn't it in our interests then, to ensure it's survival?