It’s been a remarkable three months in the history of mankind. Elections in Afghanistan, elections in the Palestinian territory and elections to be in Iraq. And I am excited about helping spread freedom and helping say to reformers, “We hear your call and you’ve got a friend,” and helping to say to the critics and the cynics, people from all walks of life, all religions, have got the capacity to self-govern.
In the course of the campaign, I said this a couple of times, that “Laura and I live on the east side of the mountain, the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It’s the side to see the day that is coming, not to see the day that is gone.” I said that because I wanted people — to convey a sense of my great optimism about what we stand for and what America believes.
The quote isn’t complete, though, because the president also has got to be able to see the day that is gone in order to deal with — predict the day that is coming, as I make big decisions. The day that is gone tells me a lot about what is going to happen, in my judgment. And I talked a lot about Japan on the campaign trail, about how [Prime Minister Junichiro] Koizumi is one of my close friends. The guy is a lot of fun to be with, by the way, an interesting character. And yet, my dad fought them, mortal enemies … and they killed a lot of people and attacked our country. But because we believe that freedom can change societies and convert enemies to allies — Harry Truman and others believed that — Japan is now a strong ally and the world is more peaceful as a result of it.