- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2014

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the United States has created a “vacuum” being filled with terrorism and other overseas issues and that Americans might want a more modest foreign policy — but they also don’t like the consequences of a United States that isn’t deeply engaged.

“First and foremost, we have got to re-establish that the United States is back in the world and determined to help re-establish order, to re-establish deterrence,” she said in a recently-taped interview with Fox News. “We can’t have a circumstance in which the United States looks absent.”

“I do think we’ve created a vacuum, and what’s flowing into it: terrorism, the likes of Vladimir Putin [and] Russian nationalism, annexing neighbors,” she said. “What we’re seeing is that when the United States steps back and speaks softly, nobody listens.”

She said she understands that American people might want a more “modest” foreign policy now, but that Americans also don’t like the world they get when the U.S. is not deeply engaged and deeply involved.

She said the troop surge former President George W. Bush ordered in Iraq helped stabilize the region, and that it was relatively stable in 2010 and 2011.

“I wish we’d left a residual force,” she said. “We’re now going to be back in Iraq to try and help the Iraqis deal with the threat of the Islamic State.”

The White House said Friday that President Obama is sending up to 1,500 more U.S. military personnel to Iraq to serve as non-combat advisers in the fight against Islamic State terrorists.

Mrs. Rice said it’s too early to say whether the U.S. is losing the campaign, but it is certainly not winning.

She also said she believes the situation can be turned around with a combination of “sustained, significant” air power and training and equipping Iraqi and Kurdish forces and American military advisers but that the situation in Syria is more difficult.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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