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Former President George W. Bush stresses support for Ukraine, Taiwan and Iranian protests in speech at SMU

Bush spoke at an event called "The Struggle for Freedom" Wednesday

DALLAS — Former US President George W. Bush shared support for Ukraine, Taiwan and protest efforts in Iran Wednesday.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center on SMU’s campus hosted an event labeled ‘Struggle for Freedom,' featuring speakers from a variety of countries, sharing stories about their fight for freedom and democracy.

Bush had been scheduled to host a virtual call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but Zelenskyy had to cancel after a barrage of at least 85 Russian missiles targeting power facilities Tuesday.

“I can’t tell you how important this issue is for us right now,” Bush said of the war in Ukraine. “The Ukraine policy for the United State has to be pretty stark and that is we hang with them till they win.”

Bush’s message in speech focused on the need for Americans to care about the democratic efforts in countries like Iran where protests have continued for weeks over the death of a 22-year-old woman who was allegedly arrested for violating the country’s Islamic dress code and Taiwan which remains under threat from China.

While Congress and President Joe Biden debate plans for aid in Ukraine, Bush says Americans should stay supportive.

“There’s no bigger program than to have a young democracy bullied by its neighbor, an autocrat. We should care about the human condition elsewhere,” Bush said. “It’s not only in our moral interest.  It’s in our national interest.”

David Kramer, the executive director for the Bush Institute, seconded the president’s thoughts, saying Ukraine’s war can only end with the country expelling Russian forces to serve as a reminder to never attack again and to make its leader, Vladimir Putin, appear weak.

“Ukrainian victory I would define as driving Russian forces out of the country including eventually Crimea,” Kramer said. “Ukrainians will be the ones who will define what that means. They are the ones who are doing the fighting. They are the ones tragically dying in this war. They need our help.”

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