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).
Nor is it clear whether her willingness to go down in flames would extend to demanding definitive actions to end the starvation and murder of millions of North Koreans by the regime of Kim Jong Il; or the threat by nuclear-bomb-seeking Iran to annihilate the entire state of Israel, with its population of 7.3 million.
But let’s give Rice the benefit of the doubt, and assume it is not only Darfur that would occupy her energies.
What awaits her at the UN is a swamp that by now passes almost all understanding. If she diligently surveys it, and tries to accurately describe it at cabinet meetings, she might have to go down in flames to make them believe how bad it really is. On the 15-member Security Council, she’ll be rubbing elbows not only with the usual veto-wielding despots of China and Russia, but also with rotating members Libya and Vietnam. She’ll be dealing with a General Assembly in which the president is former Nicaraguan Sandinista Miguel D’Escoto Brockman (chum of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the Cuban regime and the whole caboodle of humanity-crushing heirs at the UN to the former USSR). She’ll be dealing with a General Assembly in which the most powerful lobbying group is dominated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference — now seeking to inflict a global gag order on free speech via proposals for UN rules against any critical mention of “religion” — a.k.a., in this case, Islam.
She’ll be talking with UN delegates who — after witnessing years of Islamist terrorist attacks worldwide, including Sept. 11, the bombings on Bali, in Madrid and London, in post-Saddam Iraq, in Israel, in Islamabad, and now the slaughter in Bombay — have yet to agree on a viable UN definition of “terrorism.”
She’ll be looking at peacekeeping missions that have not only failed to deliver peace, but which have failed for years now to eliminate an unfortunate tendency by some of the UN peacekeeping troops to rape minors among some of the populations they are sent to protect. She’ll be fielding the demands of assorted jackal governments and UN officials that the U.S. in the name of “climate change” (and UN-politicized “science”)embrace UN-mandated controls and restrictions that could beggar a great many U.S. citizens, while transferring what’s left of American wealth to assorted UN cronies and despotic governments.
She’ll inherit the stack of UN resolutions which have failed utterly to stop Iran’s pursuit of the nuclear bomb. As part of the related package she’ll be reading the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Nobel laureate Mohamed El Baradei, who would like to help supply Syria with a nuclear reactor, now that a 2007 Israeli air strike has deprived Syria’s Baathist regime of its secret reactor, built in cahoots with North Korea, which had no clear purpose except to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
She’ll be dealing with a UN Development Program which was discovered last year to have been serving as a cash conduit to Kim Jong Il and a money-laundering vehicle for North Korean weapons proliferation (the defense of UNDP management being that they couldn’t keep track of where the money was going).
And she’ll be dealing with a UN global bureaucracy for which — despite the endless promises of reform — there is in effect no oversight except whatever she herself might find the backbone to attempt. Part of her daily reading ought to be the Inner-City Press, where one of the latest items covers “irregularities and corruption” — yet again — within the UN’s own internal investigative unit.
Finally, in the UN cheering and “advocacy” section on the American left, she will be dealing with the likes of UN patron and UN Foundation founder Ted Turner, whose grasp of international realities is pretty well summed up by his comments this Sunday morning on Meet the Press, where he was asked about the KGB character of Russia’s prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin. Turner replied: “Well, he had that background. But you know, we have an FBI and, and, and, and, and we’re not prejudice against someone who’s worked at the FBI. It’s an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. And it, it gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile.”
At the UN, where the U.S. is already the host country and chief chump, there are plenty of eminences now gloating over prospects that the Obama administration will pour yet more American resources into this bilge.
But the job of the U.S. ambassador is actually not to please the UN, or even primarily to go down in flames over Sudan. The job is to represent the interests of the United States. If Susan Rice opts instead to please the likes of Iran, Syria, North Korea, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, UN top management and the heirs of the KGB, there might be a brief honeymoon in which America is loved at Turtle Bay. The bloody price of such affections would be felt soon enough, and a cabinet-level reckoning would be the least of it.
If, on the other hand, she chooses to defend America, she just might find that instead of going down in flames, she has a chance in many places to rekindle freedom’s torch. Cross your fingers, but don’t hold your breath.