By Lily Benitez De Luna
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told an audience at the Heritage Foundation Friday that the United States should take on a leadership role internationally, especially as the Arab Spring is sweeping through the Middle East.
“We are watching, in the Middle East, what happens when reform comes too late and it is replaced instead by anger and revolution… it’s going to be a rocky ride in the Middle East,” Rice said.
Rice said that the solution to the problems in the Middle East is not for the U.S. to simply isolate itself from the region.
“We can’t afford to pull back from [the] Middle East,” Rice said.
Although she supports innovation for the U.S. to become self-sufficient in energy sources, Rice believes that the U.S.’ continued involvement with the Middle East will prove beneficial.
“We should build American platforms for energy security, but we know that we will not be insulated from the Middle East, that one way or another the malignancies of the Middle East, as they did on 9/11, will come back to haunt us,” said Rice.
Involvement in Syria is crucial, according to Rice. She believes that from a strategic point of view, action in Syria would lead to more than one positive outcome for the U.S.
“I’m not suggesting that the United States needs ground forces in [Syria,]” Rice rectified. “It’s a strategic opportunity coming from a strategic challenge because the collapse of the regime of Bashar al-Assad would deprive Iran of its handmaiden in the Middle East,” she added. “We have learned many times the hard way, that states that do not respect their own people, are indeed dangerous states.”
Although she recognizes these challenges are difficult to overcome, Rice is hopeful the U.S. will flourish amidst foreign disruption.
“We can handle this challenge only if we pursue our values, this is what has made the U.S. exceptional, this belief in free markets and free peoples, a willingness to try and promote them abroad, and a belief that the world would be more stable and more prosperous as freedom wins,” stated Rice.