President Bush heads to today's summit in Quebec with the
hope of promoting republican government and free trade. Leaders from 33 other countries
will join Bush for the meetings.
In an article published on the op-ed page of Thursday's New York Times,
Powell, employing the common misuse of the term "democracy" for "republic," wrote: "At the summit, the leaders will set a common agenda of how
our democracies can safeguard human rights as they build tighter economic
bonds through free trade. The nations that believe in this vision should be
proactive in defending these principles - and will be proactive in Quebec."
Powell said Bush had taken several steps to build ties with Western
Hemisphere nations, starting with a State Department speech shortly after
becoming president in which Bush said he would "work with our neighbors to
build a Western Hemisphere of freedom and prosperity - a hemisphere bound
together by shared ideals and free trade."
To that end, Powell wrote, one of the prime U.S. goals at the summit would
concern negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, a plan
introduced at a previous gathering of the hemisphere's leaders. Summit
participants were also expected to take steps to make their government more
open to their citizens and "promote good governance on all levels," Powell
"Free trade and freedom work together to make life better and out
neighborhood safer," Powell wrote. "But to take advantage of this
opportunity, people need skills and education." Education has been a key
issue for Bush since he became president.
Powell said closer bonds with Western Hemisphere countries can "make a
vital difference in the life of every American" if the countries are
"democratic and law-abiding, open to trade and will to cooperate with us on
improving the environment, fighting drugs and stopping disease."
Powell concluded: "President Bush and I are optimistic about the future
for Americans here at home and in our larger neighborhood. At the summit, we
will work with other nations to obtain the benefits of free trade, freedom
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