The decision by Ambassador Susan Rice, United States permanent representative to the United Nations, to withdraw from the race for the coveted post of secretary of state in Barack Obama’s upcoming second term as president, becomes a truly morality play. So, what is the moral of the story?
Evidently, the killing in Benghazi two months ago is only the totem of a torrential undercurrent whose moorings lie entirely somewhere else.
The Republicans have threatened to make Rice’s nomination (if Obama presses ahead) to be first rate political theatre. The signal we get from that is that the Republicans have not accepted Obama’s victory at the recent election and intend to make the going very tough for him, debilitating him on the beaches, in the air, and up in the hills in a veritable Churchillian way.
This has serious implications for world peace and international security. Rice, therefore, has done a favor by taking away a few grapes of wrath from the Republican bowl. But, can it make much of a difference?
Yes, it can for the present where Obama’s focus is on the ‘fiscal cliff and he wouldn’t want any serious distractions that can tear apart a bipartisan compact. Nonetheless, the problem remains.
The Republicans are preparing already to storm the fortress in 2016. Obama’s problem is also that some powerful figures among the Democrats are also eyeing the 2016. Hillary Clinton, for example, as he recent tour of Ireland testifies.
Thus, clearly, Rice is not the issue here. But, having said that, Rice is also an issue when it comes to the world community. Moscow doesn’t want her as America’s top diplomat, nor, arguably, Beijing and much of Muslim Middle East.
Simply put, she was far too rude as a diplomat and her tongue-lashing provoked her interlocutors. The Chinese ambassador to the US told her on the face at a closed-door UN SC meeting to “mind her language”. (Unsurprisingly, India’s ambassador to the UN was singularly lucky to escape her invectives and choler.
In conclusion, three things are worth mentioning. One, from Obama’s viewpoint, Rice would have made a team like the ‘other Rice’, Condoleeza Rice, made with president George W Bush. This becomes important if Obama hopes to push ahead his own foreign policy agenda during his second term which takes on a few ‘holy cows’ in the US establishment.
Second, obviously, the unspoken truth that was on everyone’s mind (but wouldn’t be said) was that America may not be ready for the two most powerful jobs in the country going to African-Americans. A top American foreign-policy columnist whom I met recently in Moscow admitted candidly that there is a ‘mental block’ here.
When the chips are down, the bitter truth is that Rice is Obama’s ‘woman of color’, as the NBC’s top anchorperson Andrea Mitchell has frankly noted. Shame on America! What moral right has America got to take the high horse on bigotry, human rights and democracy? Read the Fox News report here