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Awaiting Susan Rice at the UN

December 1st, 2008 - 2:32 am

Word is out that President-elect Obama will nominate his close adviser, Susan Rice, as ambassador to the UN, and dignify both the institution and Rice by exalting the post to cabinet rank.

This is a trainwreck waiting to happen — the main question being whether, when the train goes off the rails, Rice will be trying to drive the UN engine, or hanging on for dear life to the caboose. Oh — and the other big question being just how much a bigger role for the UN will cost the average American, not only in terms of money tossed down the UN spiderholes, but also in terms of lives endangered, damage to the American economy, freedom curtailed, and support to those who would inflict on the U.S. the kind of carnage we have just witnessed in Bombay.

Multiple reports say that Rice is haunted by the Rwanda genocide, which took place in 1994 while she was handling the Africa portfolio for the Clinton administration National Security Council. In concert with the UN, where Kofi Annan was then head of peacekeeping, the U.S. sat it out. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. Since then, Rice has vowed “If I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”

In keeping with Rice’s horror of a Rwanda replay, it seems one of her first priorities in the Obama administration would be to push for dramatic action on Darfur. It’s not clear how she squares that with her fierce criticism of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq — where Saddam Hussein gassed his own subjects and spent years filling mass graves (apparently, some mass murders are more equal than others).

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