Thank You, America
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
– Edmund Burke
Around the world 9/11 has become a day that is marked with sorrow and tragedy. Europe, and my native Sweden, is no exception from this rule. Most Swedes that are my age or older can remember the exact time and place when they found out about the evil acts committed against America. But as time passes by anniversaries and their significance tend to be quickly forgotten. It is likely that 9/11 won’t be an exception from this rule, but it is of great importance that we strive to never forget the events that took place over a decade ago. Below I share some of my reflections on this day and extend my gratitude to America and the American people.
This anniversary is a day when we should remember the victims of the terrorist attacks when Islamic extremists decided to deliver a blow against the world’s most powerful symbol of freedom. We also thank, and remain forever grateful, to those who have fought in order to prevent such acts from ever occurring again. But while we honor the men and women who have made sacrifices in the name of freedom it is also of the utmost importance that the United States remains vigilant in the effort to preserve liberty and democracy for future generations.
With a lagging economic recovery observers rightly observe that this election has come to center on economic policy. That foreign policy issues have been pushed to the back of the queue is not strange in an environment where Americans are struggling to find jobs and meet monthly budgets. While restoring strength at home is an important task, the temptation to ignore the outside world has also grown stronger. Falling for such temptation, however, is ill-advised and should out of necessity be avoided.
No one denies that the United States, by virtue of being the leader of the free world, has had a heavy burden placed upon its shoulders. But the United States has lived up to that responsibility, in part by aiding desperate peoples in Africa, protecting free markets on a global stage, and standing against the evil empire known as the Soviet Union. For this, and more, the world is forever indebted to the sacrifices made by the American people.
However, that burden and responsibility has also come with a price. When Al Qaeda chose to aim their planes at targets within the United States it wasn’t a random act by madmen. It was a calculated attack intended to strike at the greatest protector of those values that run contrary to everything that Al Qaeda, and those like them, stand for.
While the enemies of freedom aim their wrath at the United States, those who long for freedom reach out in order to receive its aid. The student in Iran and the dissident in China call for the aid of the United States not because it is the ‘great Satan’, but because they know that they have nowhere else to turn. The nations of Europe have long ago decided that the task of protecting and promoting freedom abroad is too burdensome and too expensive. In the name of stability they instead aim to simply get along with those regimes that murder their own people, suppress the freedom of speech, and harbor terrorists.
In her speech at the Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice described what would happen if the United States chose the path of its European “allies”. Either no one would lead and chaos would erupt in the global arena, or someone would fill the vacuum that has no intention of fighting for free minds and free markets.
No matter who wins in the upcoming election I hope that they choose to carry on the fight for what is just and right in the world. Europeans and others who enjoy the same freedoms would be well-advised to stand up together with the United States and share the burden, just as they did in the liberation of Iraq from a brutal dictator. But Europe and its elites are plagued by a relativism that fails to make a clear distinction between friend and foe. That is why Europe perceives itself as existing in a world characterized by “stability” where there is no difference between oppressive and democratic regimes.
I want to extend my sincere thanks to the American people and its leaders for the sacrifices that you have made, and continue to make, in the name of freedom, security, and democracy. The world would truly be a much darker place without you.