Bad Rice After Good
By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 18, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama has selected his key foreign policy advisor, Susan E. Rice, to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Obama intends to elevate her post to a Cabinet level position.
Susan Rice (no relation to Dr. Condoleezza Rice) is wasting no time. She is reportedly trying to install her own team within the State Department who will be loyal to her, not to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton whom Rice spurned during the primary campaign when she endorsed Obama instead.
Rice sports an specific Afro-centric agenda, which she appears intent on pushing at the expense of all other issues. For starters, she believes that United States taxpayers should fund nearly $100 billion a year of new development aid programs under the auspices of the UN’s Millennium Development Project, much of which would go to African states.
Not only does Susan Rice want American taxpayers to become the ATM for corrupt African leaders. Rice also wants to use American military power to directly intervene in African conflicts, including in the Darfur region of Sudan, as part of a large well-funded UN peacekeeping force. She has publicly derided the current idea of a hybrid UN-African Union force as “an ill-conceived, short-sighted and failed expedient to appease, yet again, the perpetrators of genocide”.
Rice has even gone so far as declaring that “[I]f the United States fails to gain UN support, we should act without it.” What she had in mind included Congressional authorization for the president to impose a no-fly zone and to bomb aircraft, airfields and the regime’s military and intelligence assets! Rice believes in using military force when vital American interests are not involved.
As UN ambassador, Susan Rice would find it awkward to demand the kind of unilateral military intervention over which President-elect Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have been attacking Bush for years. Moreover, the United States would again be seen as openly hostile to Islam by attacking another Muslim nation, providing even more propaganda fodder for al-Qaeda to use in recruiting jihadists to its cause.
So instead we are likely to see Rice, in her UN role, advocate an idea put forward by a group of foreign policy experts including her mentor, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The idea is for each member state to permanently designate a part of its armed forces and police force for international peacekeeping, which presumably would be on call for the UN to deploy as it deems appropriate, including in African civil wars, and which would operate under the UN’s command. The U.S. would also set an example by voluntarily giving up its right to exercise a sole veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to peacekeeping missions with which it disagrees.
Rice wants the United States to commit the blood of our own soldiers to stop the atrocities in Sudan. Yet she has failed to speak out against the Islamists’ crass manipulation of the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly that is intended to protect Sudan and other serial human rights abusers from any serious accountability.
While serving as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the Clinton Administration, Susan Rice learned all the wrong lessons. Albright was as Balkan-centric as Rice is Afro-centric. This led Albright to push for the use of American military force in Kosovo where the U.S. had no vital interests to protect. Using this example, Rice has asked rhetorically “Will we use force to save Africans in Darfur as we did to save Europeans in Kosovo?”
Rice also shares Albright’s caution against using military force to counter global Islamic terrorism, which does represent an existential threat to our freedoms.
For example, Albright helped convince President Clinton to hold off from taking any military action against al-Qaeda or the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that was then protecting the terrorists, even after seventeen American sailors were killed as a result of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000. She was reportedly concerned that a military response to this watershed event would be viewed as retaliation against Muslims. So, we did nothing.
Yes, it would have been retaliation – against Muslim extremists who organized and carried out the unprovoked deadly attack on our sailors. Yet Albright thought that a major military reprisal against al Qaeda’s infrastructure in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would have been an inappropriate anti-Muslim attack. Emboldened by such continued hand-wringing in response to his escalating violence against Americans over the previous decade and convinced that the United States government would never commit to military action that could put American soldiers in harm’s way, Osama bin Laden saw little risk in pursuing the 9/11 attack on our homeland that he had been planning for four years.
This paralysis of action when vital U.S. interests are at stake was a trait that Rice had displayed herself years earlier when she served as a staff member on President Clinton’s National Security Council.
Though admitting in a 2003 speech that the war on terror was “underway well before 9/11” and that we had already been “attacked many times in many places – New York in 1993, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen to name just a few”, Rice said that Bill Clinton’s tepid responses were sufficient. That should come as no surprise since she helped persuade Clinton to rebuff Sudan’s offer in 1996 to turn Osama bin Laden over to us while he was living in Sudan. The reason that Rice did not want any dealings with Sudan whatsoever, even to obtain custody of the terrorist mastermind or to receive intelligence information on terrorists from Sudanese authorities, was her consternation over Sudan’s human rights record. Instead we allowed bin Laden to move his terrorist operations to Afghanistan and spread mass killings all over the world, thanks in no small measure to Rice’s mindless advice.
Susan Rice has not changed her priorities, but she has tried to package them in a way that appears to address the terrorist threat. Her thesis is that poverty breeds terrorism. She has actually tried to correlate the growth of terrorism with the decline in the Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) of Saudi Arabia and other countries where terrorism has taken root. And she has theorized that poverty sparks conflicts and erodes or destroys a state’s capacity to function, which in turn create the conditions that facilitate the growth of terrorist activity.
Rice’s solution is massive wealth redistribution from the developed states to poverty-stricken states under the UN’s Millennium Development Project which, as mentioned earlier, would cost American taxpayers nearly a hundred billion dollars a year more in development aid.
A comparison of India and Pakistan illustrates the fallacy of Rice’s thesis. In 2007, Pakistan had an estimated per capita GDP of $2,400 and an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. Despite India’s impressive economic growth and pockets of prosperity, India had an estimated per capita GDP of $2600 and an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. Historically, both countries have experienced a significant level of underemployment, with millions of people below the poverty line.
According to the World Bank, India is home to roughly one-third of all poor people in the world. It also has a higher proportion of its population living on less than $2 per day than even sub-Saharan Africa. Yet homegrown terrorism has not been a significant factor in India, which is a Hindu-majority country. Its terrorist threat comes largely from outside, particularly from Muslim Pakistan, as evidenced by the recent Mumbai massacre. Despite such external threats, India has been moving in a positive direction, with economic growth a centerpiece of its democratically elected government and its poverty rate declining.
On the other hand, Pakistan has become a global hub of Islamic terrorists, who have exported their violence to India, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe. And its poverty rate continues to rise.
In short, our UN ambassador-designate fails to understand that the grinding, unalleviated poverty afflicting people living hopeless lives in Muslim countries, the gross human violations and the terrorism that has taken root in and spread from those countries all stem from a common cause – extreme Islamism. We must defeat with military force and with the force of ideas the Islamic fanatics whose religious dogma devaluates the worth of the individual and human life, suppresses freedom, treats women as chattel rather than as productive members of society, turns education into hate-filled propaganda and glorifies violence against non-believers.
We cannot hope to simply buy our way out of the problem through increases in developmental aid.
When Susan Rice passes through the halls of the United Nations as our next UN ambassador she needs to keep this reality in mind. She should be prepared to take on the Islamists who are using the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly to shield Islam from legitimate criticism for its association with terrorism and gross human rights violations while using the same UN bodies to constantly scapegoat Israel. To begin with, she should vigorously oppose any U.S. involvement in the Durban II follow-up conference against racism scheduled for April 2009, which is on course to repeat the racist, anti-Semitic vile of the shameful 2001 conference. She can pursue more vigorous international action against the Muslim-on-Muslim genocide that is being perpetrated in Darfur, but she must come to see these crimes against humanity as part of a larger picture of Islamic-inspired violence that threatens us all. Unfortunately, there is nothing in Susan Rice’s record or rhetoric that suggests she will follow this advice.
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