Part 1 of a series of posts by Erick Ford, AIDemocracy Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, George Mason University

“A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for labors of men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge.” G. Eliot.

What would we do for peace and security? A generation ago the world witnessed a unified human spirit remove the shackles of dictatorship in Eastern Europe and begin a quest of liberty not seen in generations.  Even stronger today is that same spirit of freedom found in other areas of the world; like Georgia, Ukraine, and even Iraq, and the same belief that freedom is the right given to all mankind.  This simple pursuit of what is believed to be a god given right is always in peril if the new generation is cautious.

Without the support of America and its allies, the spirit of freedom that is taking hold elsewhere in the world could be lost. I call attention to the Caucasus region. Nestled between Russia, the Black Sea, Turkey, the Caspian Sea, and Iran, this region holds vital global interests. Without support, the fragile peace that is being built here could give way to instability and conflict that would threaten nearby regions as well. Over a year ago, the world watched as Russia easily overtook the Republic of Georgia. For nearly a century, this region of the world has pursued the right to exist.  The support of America, NATO, and the European Union will be the deciding factor in this struggle.

Peace and security go hand and hand. It is the basic desire and above all else a simple need for a prosperous society. Lessons learned in the Iraq war and even the American Revolution tell us that for there to be a meaningful victory, a true peace process is needed.

There first must be an end of hostilities and reconciliation, followed with peace building, followed by the peacemaking, and finally, lasting peace with a feeling of security in one’s own pursuit of life. In order for this process to be possible, a mix of civilian and military agencies must support it.  Only when a society is truly free, is a society able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  When a society is happy, that is when a nation is at peace; it is also when a nation is prosperous and secure.

It is the new generation’s responsibility to carry the ideals of liberty and help those who seek a peaceful, prosperous society.  As the generation who liberated Europe did not finish until the nations were rebuilt, so must this generation see that the current wars are not fought in vain. This generation must also be vigilant in protecting the nations who seek freedom and watch the regions that need a helping hand as our nation once did when it was a fragile collection of states.  Americans must be braver and more ready to help carry the torch of freedom and liberty because without the two there can be no peace and security for any nation.