Notwithstanding the rise of India and China, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice does not believe that "American Century" is giving way to the era of American decline or the coming of "somebody else's century."
In the "new era of globalisation there is a real sense of uncertainty among many Americans today even leading some to speculate, again, that the American Century is giving way to the era of American decline," she said on Thursday at the centennial celebration of the Economic Club of New York.
"This mood hangs over 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. We are to believe that America has had a good run, but it must be all downhill from here."
"Well, I think it won't surprise you that I don't believe that for a minute.
I'm optimistic about America and about America's future," Rice declared.
The United States will continue to use free trade, foreign aid and all elements of its power to promote an open international order based on political liberty, free markets, self-determination and national sovereignty, she said.
"To be sure, this is not a status quo objective. But that does not make it impractical. Indeed, helping states to transform themselves, to improve themselves, is the most realistic approach to the problems we now face," Rice said.
US foreign policy, she said, is guided by both interests and ideals. The two are "inextricably linked" because "liberty and justice within states leads to peace and stability between states."
"Freedom is not an abstract principle. It is the most practical way for states to organize themselves successfully, to adapt to change, and to grow economically," she said. Rice called for a new bipartisan consensus on free trade as a vital tool of US foreign policy.
"Trade is the engine not only of economic growth, but also of political transformation. Integrating into the global economy helps to open closed societies. It helps new democracies to deliver on the high hopes of the people. And it gives governments a stake in the international system," she said.
This is the objective of the trade agreements with Peru, Panama, Colombia and South Korea now before US Congress, and of the Doha round of global trade negotiations, she said.
Rice said on Friday, when some of the greatest international challenges emerge from within ill-governed or failed states, "global development is both a moral ideal and a national interest." The United States is determined to use its foreign aid to help states transform by promoting good governance and fighting poverty, she said.
The United States is also working to make its aid an incentive to govern justly, reform economies and invest in people, Rice said.
"We'd like to get out of the business of foreign aid entirely, but the way to do that is by helping countries meet their own needs through the development of effective democratic institutions and economic institutions," she said.