THE SPINE OCTOBER 17, 2009
The Susan in question is Susan Rice. And, according to a New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar, it's Stewart Patrick who gives her the good grades. Rice is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. So who is Patrick? He is one of those hundreds of I.R. wonks in Washington who moves from fellowship to fellowship, eating up foundation money, and ends up being an expert in what actually amounts to nothing or maybe, just maybe, the same thing: "multilateral cooperation in the management of global issues; U.S. policy toward international institutions, including the United Nations; the challenges posed by fragile, failing, and post-conflict states; and the integration of U.S. defense, development, and diplomatic instruments in U.S. foreign and national security policy; the intersection between security and development, with a particular focus on the relationship between weak states and transnational threats and on the policy challenges of building effective institutions of governance in fragile settings..."
I won't torture you any longer. But rest assured: There's a lot more of the same junk in the bio put out by the Center for American Progress. Still, he has only himself to blame, being the Times source who called Ms. Rice a "multitasking workaholic ... [who] doesn't suffer fools." It isn't that she doesn't suffer fools gladly. She doesn't suffer fools, just plain and simple. How intolerant!
Yet the real problem is Ms. Rice's. No, forget about her passivist role in the Rwanda genocide. And forget also about her covert cooperation, when she was assistant secretary of state for African affairs, with Jesse Jackson in trying to rescue Liberian tyrant Charles Taylor from justice. Let's just look at now. Or, actually, the last nine months.
Even before the president was inaugurated, she was, quite properly, being vetted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rice was disappointed that she hadn't been given the big job at State. But the president had bigger fish to fry. So he gave State to Hillary, where she's been eating her heart out ever since. Adlai Stevenson graciously took from JFK the U.N. mission (not, by the way, the U.N. embassy, as Mrs. Clinton erroneously continues to label it) while Dean Rusk, a safe little nothing, got Foggy Bottom. Still, Rice is on the tube quite a bit. There are so many U.N. extravaganzas that she can't help but be. Her key word is "engagement." We'll engage with them ... and with them ... and with them, too.
This is not exactly her fault. Obama also likes to engage. Actually, engaging may be his favorite activity. He's engaged Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, the International Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Palestinians, Skip Gates and that Cambridge cop ... Only with Skip and Sergeant Crowley did he reach some agreement, though it was lubricated by beer, which wouldn't have worked with the king. (You know which king). With every one of these others, save the professor and the policeman, he has flopped, and the American people are catching on. Oops, I just read that the administration is about to try a liaison with Sudan after not having tried anything real against Sudan. "Save Darfur." That was a fantasy. Another betrayal. What does my respected and intellectually meticulous human rights crusader Samantha Power say about this? She sure had something to say about Susan Rice and Rwanda. The truth is that I am afraid to ask, although Ms. Rice would not be afraid to answer. The Obama crowd possesses the conceit that they are so thoroughly humane that even what looks like their cruelty is a virtue. Is this another concession to each and every one of the Arab states which have been not just cosseting Khartoum but actively backing it? I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
The alibi of "engagement" has nowhere been more strongly mobilized than with the administration's decision to become a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Our engagement would improve everything. Read for the words "engage" or "engagement" as the solution to our isolation at the United Nations and the UNHRC.
Well, the last few months have been a test case. Even before any sessions on the Goldstone Commission had been convened and without a minute's work being done, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, a South African woman named Navi Pillay, had already condemned Israel as guilty. I kid you not. While the commission's labors were so poisonously jaundiced against Israel, it at least did point to a few human rights violations committed by Hamas. But, when the resulting resolution came before the Council, there was not a single mention of Hamas. This was a substantial test of American engagement and what it could or could not accomplish. The truth is that it accomplished nothing. So the motion that came up indicted only Israel ... and Hamas was held culpable for nothing.
Perhaps ashamed, Ambassador Rice has not commented on the exposure of her engagement certainties. Let's be candid: These are not only stupid, but wicked. Not a one of them has worked, and I suspect that she never really thought they would.