Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice on Monday to a growing chorus demanding U.S. military involvement in Syria.
"Well, there is no doubt that it's time for the United States to make clear that it is going to engage in this effort to stop the difficult situation in Syria and to prevent its further spread," she said in an interview with CBS News, where she now serves as a contributor. "It's already spreading across the region. So the United States doesn't have an option of no action. A no-fly zone is an actual military operation. And the president of the United States is going to have to decide whether he is willing to apply American military power to this conflict. But a no-fly zone is clearly an option."
Rice went on to highlight the complexity of the years-long civil war that has drawn involvement from a number of key powers in the Middle East, suggesting it was evidence that "the United States really doesn't have an option to sit on the sidelines."
"No other country has the potential, even, to change the dynamics on the ground, and to take the initiative ... in the region," she continued.
Other Republicans have similarly suggested that U.S. engagement is the only response to the violent conflict in Syria. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took the lead on the issue last week, slipping into the nation to meet with rebel opposition seeking to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. McCain has since ramped up pressure for intervention, making the case for providing rebel forces with heavy weapons and establishing a no-fly zone.
Rice, who as President George W. Bush's national security adviser in 2002 was a vocal proponent of launching the Iraq War, has also been joined by other Bush administration veterans in proffering advice on how to approach the situation in Syria. Last month, Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell took a more cautious approach to getting involved militarily.
“We have to be very, very careful with some of the, ‘Well, let’s just go in and start bombing, let’s just go in and put in a no-fly zone,'" he told Bloomberg TV. "I wouldn’t like a no-fly zone. If you want to take out the Syrian air force, take it out. Don’t just fly around in circles waiting for it to come up. That won’t be hard to do. But you have to understand, if that doesn’t work, are you then committed to take the next steps?"