Leadership for a Changing
Rice Suggests Formula for Success
The collapse of the Soviet Union
in 1991 left the world with only one international economy: that
of the United States. And the growth of the U.S. economy in today's
global market has brought America to "a more pre-eminent
position in international politics than any state since perhaps
the British at the start of the 19th century."
But for the U.S. to continue offering leadership in a changing
world, it will have to deal effectively in three major foreign
policy areas: defense, relations with Russia and China, and the
sharing of American ideals.
This was the message of Dr. Condoleezza Rice, professor of political
science and former provost of Stanford University, as she delivered
the Percy C. Ratliff Lecture at Samford in April.
A specialist in eastern Europe
and Russia as well as international security policy, Rice was
director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National
Security Council and special assistant to President George Bush
for National Security Affairs during 198991.
Foreign policy expert Condoleezza Rice visits Samford as the
Percy C. Ratliff Lecturer.
Now, she is on leave from Stanford,
serving as primary foreign affairs adviser to presidential candidate
George W. Bush. She was a featured speaker at the Republican
National Convention in August. If Bush is elected, Rice could
receive a Cabinet-level appointment.
She lived her early years in Birmingham, where her father, John
Rice, was a Presbyterian pastor and later dean of students at
Stillman College in Tuscaloosa.
The first major challenge of American foreign policy, Rice said
at Samford, is to keep the peace and avoid major world conflict.
But she opposes peacekeeping in places such as Somalia, Bosnia
and Kosovo, "where all you can do is separate warring factions,"
because it "does not make you ready to fight big wars."
Russia and China present the second major challenge, according
"They are problems for different reasons-China because it
is a rising power which resents America's presence in the Asian
Pacific and south Asia, where it wishes to be dominant, and Russia
because it is a declining power which still has tens of thousands
of nuclear warheads."
Because China's growing economic potential could be turned to
military purposes, the U.S. has a "tremendous stake"
in the economic liberalization of the nation, Rice said. "That
is one reason trade with China, which empowers entrepreneurial
classes, is important to us."
Russia has tremendous mineral and other resources, and a well-educated
population, she added. It could recover from "three centuries
of terrible leadership" if it could get rid of corruption
("crony capitalism" by former Communist Party bosses),
revise an out-of-balance tax code and keep young people from
"If we get the defense challenge right and deal effectively
with Russia and China as global competitors, there's one final
challenge: How do we think about values in American foreign policy?"
"Fortunately, the great sweep of history is moving in a
direction in which the values we hold dear are the ones being
invoked. And the underlying value is that individuals must be
treated well if they are to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
"We can promote our values by affirming them, but in a way
that shows we recognize that we don't have all the answers,"
Rice said people in other nations must be reminded of several
things about America:
Communitarian values. "This is a country in which
neighbor tries to help neighbor, the most philanthropic country
in the world."
America is multi-ethnic. "In a time when difference
is a license to kill in most of the world, where the Serbs and
Albanians are fighting about something that happened in 1389,
being able to say forget and forgive and move on and become one
people is really important."
Belief in upward mobility. "The core of that has
always been the ability to level the playing field through education.
Unless education is provided to all, and particularly public
education through grade 12, that part of the dream will be lost."
Americans are a confident people, said Rice, "not because
of military power or economic prowess, but because of who we
are and what we mean." She added, "It is because we
can all access the American dream that we are the leaders in
the world that we are."