Worldview determines everything — how one sees and responds to the world determines personal behavior and, in government, strategic policies.

That's why it is especially interesting that President Bush has nominated Dr. Condoleezza Rice (search) to replace Colin Powell (search) as secretary of state.

Both the president and Rice have the same worldview, which is rooted in faith in God.

If you watched this show last week, you recall our guest, Natan Sharansky (search) telling me he had recently met with the president, who was reading his book — "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror." He said Rice was also reading it.

All three believe that freedom is a God-given right and that free people have an obligation to share it with the un-free.

Rice spoke last year at the National Prayer Breakfast (search) in Washington.

She recalled her upbringing in segregated Birmingham and those Southern blacks yearning to breath free.

She also recalled those in Eastern Europe who were oppressed under communism for much of the 20th century and how they also longed for freedom.

Can such freedom be extended to the Middle East? Do the masses there desire our kind of freedom for themselves?

In his book, Sharansky pays tribute to skeptics — noting there is not a single Arab democracy and that with the exception of a handful of tyrannies around the world, the most repressive regimes are in the Middle East.

Many in the Arab and Muslim world do not regard America as free. They see us as decadent and they see themselves as truly free in their religion. This is the obstacle the president and Rice think they can overcome.

If they are right, the benefits will be substantial. If they are wrong, the consequences could bring on Armageddon. The stakes don't get any higher than this.

And that's Column One for this week.

To check out more Column One features, click here.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.