Dr. Condoleezza Rice on U.S. Global Leadership

July 1, 2011 By Jake Moy

Speaking at the launch event for CSIS’ Project on U.S. Leadership in Development, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice emphasized both the moral and practical imperatives that underscore America’s smart power tools. She stressed the importance of effective International Affairs programs in strengthening U.S. national security and discussed the critical role of development in building stable, economically prosperous environments.

“We can’t have a short term view of our interests that just tries to put a barrier around us and to defend in that static way,” said Dr. Rice. “And so I think there is a very powerful argument for the practical need for continued engagement with other countries.” Describing how foreign assistance helps prevent instability and violence, Dr. Rice added, “You don’t want another Afghanistan…You don’t want the northern border of Mexico to look like a failed state.”

Dr. Rice also focused on accountability and transparency in International Affairs Budget programs. “We’re not going to fund corrupt governments and corrupt officials who line their own pockets…Your dollars will be well spent.” She emphasized the need for constant reassessment, noting “We’re going to get our internal act together so that we don’t have every American governmental agency and institution competing, redundant, doing the same thing year in year out, whether or not it’s working.”

Dr. Rice’s words speak to the importance of investing in development and diplomacy as a means to keeping our nation safe and fostering stable alliances and trade partnerships. The event series for The Project on U.S. Leadership in Development, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, aims to identify all of the U.S’ tools in promoting development and poverty alleviation, with a strong focus on the role of business and the private sector.  USGLC recently led a coalition of over 50 such businesses in delivering a letter to Congress. The letter, sent earlier this week, expresses these top business leaders’ belief in the importance of a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.