"As you work to build a democratic and free Slovakia in the heart of Europe, America stands with you."Good stuff, that. Why am I sitting here praising Bush - a president whom I detest? Because he gave a good speech, and because this week he's doing what he ought to have done many moons ago, and ought to do with far more frequency: he is traveling to our allies to visit with them, to thank them for their support of the US, to criticize them when necessary (paging Mr. Putin), to engage in diplomacy and dialogue, and to show the world that the US isn't trying to isolate itself or become mired in petty disagreements any longer. Bush is making nice with Europe. And everyone will benefit from that.
As I was waking up with a massive mug of Starbucks French Roast, I watched Bush give a speech in Bratislava, Slovakia. Slovakia is now an EU member, and a "Partnership for Peace" signatory. Slovakia did not exist as an independent nation 15 years ago. She and her Czech cousins launched the "Velvet Revolution" in 1989, which peacefully overthrew a brutal totalitarian dictatorship that had subjugated the Czechs and Slovaks since WWII. The events of 1989 still amaze me to this day, and maybe I'll blog a bit more about them later. See - their new plates have the Euroband. So, I watched Bush give a very good,uplifting speech in the Hviezdoslavovo Namesti of Bratislava. He praised the Slovak people for their victory over communism, for their commitment to democracy (particularly after years under the autocratic stylings of Vladimir Meciar.) Bush then went on to thank Slovakia for helping in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for helping to show the Iraqi people how to transform from a brutal dictatorship to democracy.