New York: Denying reports that claimed that the US was threatened with China’s growing political, commercial and economic stature, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said, “No matter what you may hear about a rising China eclipsing the West, US is in no way in a state of decline.”
She explained that America at the start of the 21st century bore similarities to America at the start of the 20th century when it faced changing geopolitical threats and economic challenges overseas and a wave of immigration at home.
Speaking at the Economic Club at New York, she however did admit that there was uncertainty and a discomfiting sense “that our common identity is shifting somehow and that change abroad may be hurting us, not helping us.”
The subject of debate was whether a successful century is giving way to an era of American decline.
“This mood of decline hangs over so many of those articles and news reports that we see these days about the rise of China and India, and perhaps the coming of somebody else’s century,”’ Rice said. “We are to believe that America has had a good run, but it has to be all downhill from here.”
Rice said she rejects that notion both because of her personal optimism, and the optimism that her own success should inspire and because she trusts American grit and competitiveness to adjust to whatever is next.
“I am optimistic because, in America, it does not matter where you came from. It only has to matter where you want to go,” Rice said. “Our national disposition is to always look upon the future with hope, not with fear, basically as something we will shape, not something to which we will submit.”
Rice, a role model for present day America
Rice was chosen to speak at the prestigious centennial event for she was perceived as an emblem of what club members had identified as the signal changes of the last century- the women’s movement and the civil rights movement.
It is an acknowledged fact that she is the first black woman secretary of state and one who is greatly regarded.
In a legacy-minded, scholarly address, she outlined a pragmatic foreign policy perspective which she called “American realism.” The doctrine mixes bedrock ideals of human freedom and human rights with the will to use moral and military force.
“We believe that our principles are the greatest source of our power, and we are led into the world as much by our moral ideas as by our material interests.”