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4/18/2011
THE MISGUIDED TENURE OF SUSAN RICE

We expect UN ambassadors to promote, well, the UN. But recent testimony by Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reveals someone so in thrall to the idea of internationalism and collective security, that her own country’s interests take second place - if they are addressed at all.

John Bolton was rightly criticized, I think, for being too much of a homer when it came to his UN duties. I thought he was on the right track as far as reforming the UN Secretariat which is a corrupt swamp of interlocking offices, duplicate efforts, and crooked employees (including, in the case of Kofi Annan, the SecGen himself). But constant confrontation is not the way to get things done at Turtle Bay.

The opposite of Bolton is Rice, as I show in my latest article at FrontPage.com:

Rice’s statements before the committee on the UN’s massively hypocritical selections for the Human Rights Council can only be termed bizarre. The HRC features such stellar advocates for human rights as Angola, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — a rogue’s gallery of thuggish states. After acknowledging that it is difficult to find nations that have good human rights records to serve on the council, Rice seemed proud of the fact that US opposition had kept Iran off the HRC. She chalked that “success” up to the fact that the United States had agreed to join the HRC rather than refuse to participate in such a farce.

What Rice didn’t mention was that in order to get Iran to withdraw its application for membership on the HRC, Washington agreed not to raise a stink when the fundamentalist Islamic Republic that mandates stoning women for adultery wanted to join the Commission on the Status of Women. With no objection from the US, Iran was duly elected to the commission.

Instead of Iran joining the HRC, Libya got the slot. How this can be termed a “success” takes pretzel-like logic — something Rice appears to excel at.

Consider her take on the UN’s efforts to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon. She testified that “the U.N. helps halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons” and that “strong and sustained U.N. action” against states that defy proliferation restrictions means that those countries will face “significant consequences.”

The United Nations has never halted the proliferation of nuclear weapons, as North Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, India, Israel, China, and soon Iran can all attest. The UN’s milquetoast sanctions against Iran have only spurred the mullahs to greater efforts in their quest for the bomb while North Korea moved easily into the nuclear club with UN cameras recording the whole thing. It beggars belief that Rice could try and make a case for United Nations effectiveness in this area, but for internationalists, the effort and intent is what is celebrated, not results.

Rice’s thinking on terrorism has also heavily influenced administration policy. In 1996, she advised President Clinton not to accept Sudan’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden because Sudan’s human rights record was so wretched, she thought we shouldn’t have anything to do with them.

Her steadfast belief that poverty, not radical Islamist ideology, is responsible for terrorism has upended 20 years of American anti-terrorism policy. Rice is the inspiration behind the Obama administration’s de-emphasizing military action against terrorists, while looking for ways to address the “root causes” of the violence. She co-authored an academic article in 2005 that postulated that terrorism was “a threat borne of both oppression and deprivation.” This is a fantastical notion when one considers that there are many poor countries in the world such as Bangladesh and Niger that produce few, if any, suicide bombers while the relatively wealthy nation of Saudi Arabia is a hot bed of extremism.

There have been two excellent US United Nations ambassadors in my lifetime; Adlai Stevenson and Jean Kirkpatrick. Both shared realistic appraisals of the UN and what could be accomplished - not much, but the world body was a useful forum for some things. Both never lost sight that they were representing America, not allowing themselves to become lost in the idealistic nonsense that people like Andy Young or Susan Rice embrace. Both were brilliant, prickly, beloved by their staffs, and a strong counter to America’s foes.

Kennedy didn’t think much of Stevenson until the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the old Illinois politician laid a trap for the Russian Ambassador Zorin, allowing him to hang himself with denials that missiles were in Cuba and then dramatically producing photographic proof that they were. That moment swung world opinion in our favor, as ably demonstrated in the film Thirteen Days (RFK’s memoir of the missile crisis not very faithfully brought to the screen). This increased pressure on Krushchev might have tipped the balance in favor of the US and a deal was reached where we removed our missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Russians pulling theirs from Cuba.

As for Kirkpatrick, she emerged as one of the architects of Reagan’s foreign policy. Reagan enjoyed the company of the down to earth ambassador, and leaned heavily on her expertise when the time was right for rapproachment with the Soviets.

Rice doesn’t come close to those giants.

By: Rick Moran at 8:37 am

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