The NIC issued the report a few weeks before Bush’s inaugural address, but it serves to dump still more cold water on the lofty fantasy of America delivering freedom to oppressed people everywhere. In Asia, the report states, "present and future leaders are agnostic on the issue of democracy and are more interested in developing what they perceive to be the most effective model of governance." If the president really wanted to spread freedom and democracy around the planet, he would (among other things) need to present America as that "model of governance"—to show the world, by its example, that free democracies are successful and worth emulating. Yet the NIC report paints a world where fewer and fewer people look to America as a model of anything. We can't sell freedom if we can't sell ourselves.
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