June 16, 2005
President Bush is borrowing a tactic from Ronald Reagan.
He is meeting with dissidents from countries with oppressive regimes.
This week the president met with a North Korean defector who has written a book about his ten years in a prison camp.
The president told Kang Chol Hwan, “if Kim Jong Il knew I met you, don’t you think he’d hate us?’
Kang Chol Hwan replied, “the people in the concentration camps will applaud.”
Indeed they will. They will hear about it and be encouraged.
Recently, the president has been meeting with prominent dissidents to highlight human rights abuses in certain countries.
Besides Kang, the president has met with a top government opponent from Venezuela, a country that is becoming more communist.
Last month he met in Moscow with Russian human rights activists.
This is a good way to highlight undemocratic governments, and to encourage and spread freedom without the use of force.
The president and his Secretary of State, who has been holding similar meetings, should be encouraged to do more of it.
I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Watch his television show, After Hours with Cal Thomas, on the Fox News Channel, Saturdays at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.