President Obama’s reluctance to fully engage in foreign affairs has led to a significant weakening of America’s position on the world stage, Condoleezza Rice told a packed audience at the annual National Republican Congressional Committee dinner in Washington on Wednesday.
The former Secretary of State offered a stinging rebuke to Obama’s hands-off style of leadership, the Weekly Standard reported.
“Right now, there’s a vacuum,” she said. “There’s a vacuum because we’ve decided to lower our voice. We’ve decided to step back. We’ve decided that if we step back and lower our voice, others will lead, others will fill that vacuum.”
As examples of the consequences of America’s disengagement, Rice listed the Syrian civil war, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unopposed takeover of Crimea, China’s muscle-flexing towards neighbors Japan and the Philippines, and the tragic loss of Fallujah in Iraq.
“When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum,” she intoned. “I fully understand the sense of weariness…But leaders can’t afford to get tired. Leaders can’t afford to be weary,” delivering a slap to the man who much prefers the golf course to the policy room.
Without ever mentioning Obama by name, Rice admonished the president for his wishful thinking that “international norms” would fill the vacuum.
If the former secretary of state has any remaining political ambitions, she has left it to the speculators to unravel. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wouldn’t mind at all if she threw her hat into the ring for the party’s presidential nomination.
“There’s one thing that’s not her resume,” he told Mediaite. “And I want her to put her mind to it to resolve that in 2016.”
In the meantime, she has re-ignited debate on the dangers of a weary America, hesitant to wear the mantle of leadership.
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