This has been my foreign policy during my presidency. By necessity, we work with all countries, and many of them are not democracies. Some of them are democracies in the sense they have elections, but not democracies in the sense of actually permitting participation and dissent. But our trajectory as a country has been to support the efforts of those who believe in self-governance, who believe in those ideas that began here so many years ago.

And it is not simply a matter of us being true to our values. It’s not just a matter of idealism. I believe it is practical for the United States to support democracies. (Applause.) Because history shows us that countries with democratic governance tend to be more just, and more stable, and more successful.

Open, democratic societies can deliver more prosperity –because when people are free to think for themselves and share ideas and discover and create — the young people who are here, what they’re able to do through the Internet and technology, that’s when innovation is unleashed, when economies truly flourish. That’s when new products, and new services, and new ideas wash through an economy. In contrast to regimes that rule by coercion, democracies are rooted in consent of the governed

— citizens know that there’s a path for peaceful change, including the moral force of nonviolence. And that brings a stability that so often can facilitate economic growth.

The history of the past two centuries indicates that democracies are less likely to fight wars among themselves. So more democracy is good for the people of the world, but it’s also good for our national security. Which is why America’s closest friends are democracies — like Greece. It’s why we stand together in NATO — an alliance of democracies.