Pointing his finger at regimes in the region that trouble policy makers in Washington, Bush highlighted the lack of democracy country by country. ‘The regime in Tehran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy,’ and that Baathist regimes in Syria and Iraq had ‘left a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin’.

Bush was careful to commend countries in the region that have taken small footsteps towards western style democracy and stressed that Islam is compatible with democracy, saying that ‘the Saudi government is taking the first steps toward reform’. Bush said he believed a democratic Iraq would show the region that democracy was the best route forward for the Middle East. ‘Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran, that freedom can be the future of every nation.’