Bush touts Arab spring

2012-05-15 22:47

Washington - Former President George W Bush on Tuesday praised the Arab spring movement and said the US should not fear the spread of freedom, even if it does not know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue.

"America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere," Bush said. "It only gets to choose what side it is on."

And the US, Bush said, should always be on the side of freedom.

The former president remarks came at event marking the launch of his presidential institute's "Freedom Collection." The event also featured brief remarks by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, and a question-and-answer session by video with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Bush said uprisings last year in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere marked the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the fall of the Soviet Union, but said some feared what that would mean for US foreign policy.

"America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know, in the name of stability," he said. "But in the long run this foreign policy approach is not realistic. It is not realistic to presume that so-called stability enhances our national security."

Bush said the US also does not have the power to "preserve the old order, which is inherently unstable".

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