'World to be a more dangerous place without US leadership'

Condoleezza Rice

Notwithstanding a rising China, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic place without American leadership, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said.

"American ideal is indeed in danger today. There is no country, no, not even a rising China, that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we do not do the hard work before us here at home," Rice told a cheering audience at a Tampa city convention centre in Florida, host to the Republican national convention.

Rice, who served under the previous Bush Administration, received a standing ovation from the thousands of people attending the convention.

"We have seen that the desire for liberty and freedom is indeed universal, as men and women in the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty. Internal strife and hostile neighbours are challenging the young, fragile democracy of Iraq," Rice said.

"Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and threaten regional security. Russia and China prevent a response. And everyone asks: Where does America stand?" she pointed out.

"Indeed, that is the question of the hour. Where does America stand? You see, when friends or foes alike don't know the answer to that question unambiguously and clearly, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic place," Rice said.

"Since World War II, the United States has had an answer to that question. We stand for free people and free markets. We will defend and support them. We will sustain a

balance of power that favours freedom," she added.

"Now to be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy. I know, as you do, the sacrifice of Americans, especially the sacrifice of many of our bravest is the

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