The exploitation of the Bengazhi tragedy for political gain is reaching a fever pitch. Now, we have John Bolton’s former spokesperson piling on Susan Rice by distorting her record as US Ambassador to the UN. In fact, he called it “miserable.” He’s just wrong.
After years of frayed international relations and isolation under the George W. Bush administration, the Obama administration promised a new way of doing business at the UN. Susan Rice was the day-to-day face of this American re-engagement, and she largely delivered. There are many examples to cite, but I’ll pick two topics: human rights and security issues.
On human rights Rice spoke forcefully in favor of groundbreaking resolutions on global LGBT rights–including calling for countries to decriminalize homosexuality and resolutions that firmly established LGBT rights in UN’s human rights lexicon. (I dare say she was on the right side of history on this one and the previous administration was not.)
On some of the major security questions to arise at the UN over the past year, including Libya, Iran and North Korea Rice was a capable steward of American interests. Her diplomatic acumen helped pass an aggressive Security Council resolution authorizing the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, eventually leading to Gaddafi’s ouster. Unlike the Bush era, the international community is unified against Iran and North Korea’s nuclear program. You saw that reflected in resolutions passed at the Security Council.
Syria is a thornier issue. Russia is very steadfastly opposed to Security Council action on Syria, but it is not as if Ambassador Rice can wave a magic wand to force Moscow’s hand. The failure of the Security Council to coalesce on Syria is simply not something that can be attributed to the personality of the USA’s UN Ambassador.
I expect Ambassador Rice’s record at the UN to come under closer scrutiny in the coming weeks should she be nominated for Secretary of State. I recommend we all stay dispassionate and evaluate that record on its own merits.