Rice defends US ideals at Davos conference


(eTN) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that American foreign policy must be driven by a combination of ideals and optimism because international problems may be managed but never resolved without them, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said yesterday.

According to a release from the WEF, Rice told delegates during her opening address at the 38th World Economic Annual Meeting, “There is not one challenge in the world today that will get better if we approach it without confidence in the appeal and effectiveness of our ideals – political and economic freedom, open markets and free and fair trade, human dignity and human rights, equal opportunity and the rule of law.”

Despite the current turbulence on international markets, the long-term fundamentals of the US economy are sound, she declared. Nevertheless, if the global economy is to continue to grow, the world needs an entirely new approach to energy and the environment. “We have to … cut the Gordian knot of fossil fuels, carbon emissions and economic activity,” she said. The US is ready to do its part on climate change and global warming.

Turning to the issue of democracy, Rice suggested that the notion is sometimes controversial when applied to the Middle East, with some arguing that it has “made the situation worse.” But, said Rice: “I would ask, worse compared to what?” Things are certainly no worse than when the Syrian army controlled Lebanon, when Palestinians could not elect their leaders or when Saddam Hussein exercised his “tyranny,” Rice said.

“The main problem for democracy in the Middle East has not been that people are not ready for it. The problem is that there are violent forces of reaction that should not be allowed to triumph,” she said. And, she added, nobody should be under any illusion that the problems will get easier “if we approach them in a less principled fashion.”

When it comes to diplomacy, America has no permanent enemies because it harbors no “permanent hatreds,” said Rice. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in relations with Russia. “The recent talk about a new cold war is hyperbolic nonsense,” Rice said.

Similarly, Washington has no desire for permanent enmity with Iran. “We have no conflict with Iran’s people, but we have real differences with Iran’s government – from its support for terrorism, to its destabilizing policies in Iraq, to its pursuit of technology that could lead to a nuclear weapon.”

Source: World Economic Forum