Saturday, December 01, 2012

A female Richard Holbrooke?

It’s a close call on Susan Rice

By David Ignatius, WashPost, Published: November 30

The Republican assault on Susan Rice is a fabricated scandal, attacking her for repeating CIA talking points, almost verbatim, to explain the Benghazi attacks. The U.N. ambassador’s version, even with its omissions, may turn out to be closer to the truth than some of the inflammatory GOP rhetoric.

But just because Rice is being unfairly pilloried, this doesn’t mean she would be a good secretary of state. And it’s a close call on the merits: Given her friendship with President Obama, she would be uniquely able to speak as his emissary. But she would also carry some baggage — not least from the political fight that would follow her nomination.

Rice would be a high-risk, high- reward nominee for secretary of state. She would represent a gambler’s choice for Obama, a sign that his second term really would be different from the cautious style of the first. Her appointment would signal that Obama will play a stronger personal role in foreign policy and that he’s ready to break some crockery to get things done.

Rice’s problem, to be blunt, is that some people don’t like her. They find her abrasive, self-promoting, mercurial. Some have argued that this critique is sexist, but Rice’s defects are similar to those of the abrasive, self-promoting Richard Holbrooke, an immensely talented diplomat who never became secretary of state.

(More here.)


Blogger Minnesota Central said...

IMO, Obama could be making the Rice pick a personal issue … not a personnel issue.

As President, he has plenty of others that are qualified and may possess more potential … in fact, if he wanted to avoid a confirmation fight and still keep Kerry in the Senate, John Huntsman or Chuck Hagel both have the background to do the job, and zero Republicans would vote against them.

Ignatius is right to ignore the Benghazi controversy and instead look at the JOB of Secretary of State and how Susan Rice would fit in.

Susan Rice may be qualified, but so are others … the job of Secretary of State is too important to have any Republican “doubters” publicly trashing her as it will impact her performance in dealing with world leaders. During her confirmation UN Ambassador hearings, she expressed concern over the suffering of people in Gaza and the rocket fire into Israel … and as we know, that is still a problem. Further, she has expressed -- using her own words (that agonized the Israelis), “Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace” …
Do you think that she will be a “positive force” for resolution of the Israeli-Palestine situation ?
IMO, Bibi will not want to work with her … and that will have consequences for Dems and GOP Israeli-backers.

Senator Susan Collins has made some comments about Rice and her previous stint in the State Department focusing on Africa, I suspect that there may be more “ammo” that would provide “cover” for anyone wanting a reason to vote NO. Critics say that Rice failed to advocate an intervention in the terrible genocide in Rwanda in 1994 — Bill Clinton later said his administration’s unwillingness to act was the worst mistake of his presidency. Most recently, critics say, Rice held up publication of a U.N. report that concluded that the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame was supplying and financing a brutal Congolese rebel force known as the M23 Movement. M23’s leader, Bosco Ntaganda, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for recruiting child soldiers and is accused of committing atrocities.

Let's ignore the McCain/Graham comments ... after all,
Instead of focusing on what “she said then”, let’s talk about what “we” know now … actually, that may be the problem -- “we” still don’t know (or at least publicly state) who is responsible.

Remember that the 9/11/12 embassy attack in Benghazi was by no means an isolated incident as it had been an attractive target by forces working to undermine the “infant” Libyan government.
There are Salafists.
There are the various jihadist who have operated in the area … most prominently, those with ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
THEN there is the possibility that it really was “film critics” gone amok.

Ignatius is right ... Rice's Benghazi comments are meaningless.

10:00 AM  

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