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Susan Rice Withdraws from Secretary of State Consideration

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration for secretary of state, NBC News is reporting after obtaining a letter from Rice to President Obama Thursday afternoon.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice (Shen Hong/Xinhua Press/Corbis) “If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote. “That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”

Rice came under fire from Republicans over her handling of questions about the events at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

However progressive commentators have voiced a plethora of other concerns over Rice regarding her positions on U.S. foreign policy around the world.

On Rice, Ray McGovern wrote recently:

President Barack Obama should ditch the idea of nominating U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State on substantive grounds, not because she may have – knowingly or not – fudged the truth about the attack on the poorly guarded CIA installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Rice’s biggest disqualification is the fact that she has shown little willingness to challenge the frequently wrongheaded conventional wisdom of Official Washington, including on the critical question of invading Iraq in 2003. At that pivotal moment, Rice essentially went with the flow, rather than standing up for the principles of international law or exposing the pro-war deceptions. [...]

As for Ambassador Rice, as some have suggested, her judgment may be compromised by well-deserved guilt at having done nothing to stop the killing of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994 when she was White House referent for African affairs at the NSC under President Bill Clinton and acquiesced in his reluctance to call genocide “genocide.” [...]

Susan Rice has moved up the ladder by demonstrating an uncanny ability to ignore the interests of the oppressed – black or brown – whether in Rwanda or in Gaza. Her selective judgment on when to intervene in a foreign crisis normally follows the conventional wisdom of Official Washington, such as with Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

For the Black Agenda Report Margaret Kimberley writes today:

The case against Rice or whomever is nominated by the president should be a case made against United States foreign policy and all of the people who now or ever were in charge of carrying it out. [...]

America is and will continue to pose terrible threats to the rest of the world, whether the next secretary of state if Susan Rice or John Kerry or an unknown player to be named later. That should be the crux of any debates about who should serve in these positions. Anything else is just drama playing out while the world burns because the United States keeps lighting the match.

And Glenn Greenwald wrote this week:

Democratic Party institutions and pundits have steadfastly devoted themselves to defending her from GOP criticisms. [...]

But what is remarkable is how so many Democrats are devoting so much energy to defending a possible Susan Rice nomination as Secretary of State without even pretending to care about her record and her beliefs. It's not even part of the discussion. And now that some writers have begun examining that record, it's not hard to see the reason for this omission. [...]

Meanwhile, so-called "pro-Israel" groups have vocally supported her possible nomination due to her steadfast defense of Israel at the UN, hailing her as "an ardent defender of major Israeli positions in an unfriendly forum." It was recently discovered that Rice "holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline," and that "about a third of Rice's personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel -- including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil." [...]

She's essentially the classic pro-war, imperial technocrat who has advanced within the Foreign Policy Community by embracing and justifying its destructive orthodoxies (unsurprisingly, one of her most ardent defenders, even now, is her former colleague at the Brookings Institution, the war-loving (though never war-fighting) Michael O'Hanlon).