At the Air Force Academy graduation speech, President Bush is not expected to make news. Bush will portray the war in Iraq as a "clash of ideologies" between the civilized world and terrorists. He will talk a bit about World War II, with the anniversary celebrations this weekend, and compare that war to the present day fight.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Bush's speech would focus on the "two competing visions" in the "great clash" that is the war on terrorism. Bush will invoke World War II, McClellan said, and argue that just as that war set the course for the Cold War, today's events in the Middle East will set the course for the future of the region.
Today's speech is not meant to be as specific as last Monday's "5-point plan" speech but instead an overarching look at the mission's concept. The ideas are not new, but the speech is newly written, so much of the language may be new.
As Bush said yesterday, this speech comes as he's about to head to Italy, France and the G-8 Summit in Georgia next week. Expect it therefore to foreshadow Bush's thinking and the arguments he will make as he meets with a host of world leaders, many of whom have of course been critical of his foreign policy.
Yesterday during his Rose Garden press conference, Bush previewed his own speech: "Part of winning the war on terror is to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East, and the speech will help set up the types of conversations I will continue to have overseas and at Sea Island, Georgia -- which is the need for us to understand that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.
"It's important for our partners to understand, and I don't -- I don't view it as American democracy, nor do I think it's going to happen overnight. I'll remind them that the Articles of Confederation was a rather bumpy period for American democracy. And so we're talking about reform in their image, but reform at the insistence and help -- with the help of the free world."