News / USA

For Susan Rice, Dueling Accounts of UN Tenure

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice speaks to reporters about North Korea, June 12, 2009, in the White House Pressroom.
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice speaks to reporters about North Korea, June 12, 2009, in the White House Pressroom.
Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is seen by some as the favorite to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, if she decides to leave.
 
A Rhodes Scholar, the 48-year-old Rice had a distinguished academic career, earning degrees from Stanford University in California and Oxford University in England. In 1993, she entered government service during the Clinton administration, working on the National Security Council in charge of peacekeeping and international organizations. In 1997, she became assistant secretary of state for African affairs.
 
An early supporter of President Barack Obama, she was one of his foreign policy advisers during his first campaign for the presidency, after which he named her U.N. envoy, a post she has held since 2009.
 
While Rice has been recognized for a number of accomplishments during her U.N. tenure, others have criticized her for failing to achieve U.S. objectives.
 
A tough negotiator
 
Nancy Soderberg, a former alternate U.S. representative to the United Nations who knows Rice well, calls her a feisty negotiator who knows how to promote U.S. interests
 
“She also knows how to listen and how to secure a deal," said Soderberg, referring to recent passage of a resolution tightening sanctions on Iran and getting U.N. Security Council approval for the Libya military operation. "So I think she would be an extraordinarily effective secretary of state as she has been as U.N. ambassador.”
 
Professor David Bosco, a U.N. expert at American University, says that while Rice is an effective ambassador, the United States failed to achieve key objectives under her tenure.
 
"The United States would have preferred even tougher action against Iran, and it wasn’t able to get that," he said, adding that Washington was also seeking more intense pressure on the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. “[The U.S.] was unable to get Moscow or Beijing to agree to that, leading to the vetoes of that resolution."
 
Bosco also pointed to what he called some other “blemishes” in Rice’s résumé, especially during the Clinton administration, when she was working on peacekeeping issues.
 
“That was a period of great controversy and significant failure for U.N. peacekeeping,” said Bosco, citing "dramatic failures" of U.N. peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Rwanda.
 
Some analysts have also pointed out that Rice was the senior diplomat for African issues in 1998 when terrorists bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania — actions that brought about a re-appraisal of security for American embassies worldwide.
 
Benghazi controversy
 
Rice is currently embroiled in a controversy over statements she made on U.S. television several days after an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
 
Some Republican senators argue Rice misled the U.S. public about the attack. She said a spontaneous demonstration sparked the violence, but it turned out that it was a well-planned terrorist attack. Rice said her statements were based on the intelligence available at the time and in no way did she want to mislead the American public.
 
While several Republican lawmakers who met Rice after her statement have said they will block her nomination to become secretary of state if it comes up for Senate discussion, Soderberg says the Republicans are playing partisan political games.
 
“It is opponents of the president trying to take a pot shot at her over frankly nothing that Susan Rice had anything to do with,” said Soderberg. “They can oppose the president’s Benghazi policy, but they should not be taking it out on a very qualified individual.”
 
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said the question over what happened in Benghazi is much larger than Susan Rice.
 
“The controversy over Benghazi that has been reflected in her performance on the Sunday talk shows within a week of the attacks, shows that this issue is not going away," said Bolton. “[It] shows that this critique of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is going to continue well into the president’s second term.”
 
Both Bolton and Soderberg agree that President Obama should get the people he wants in his Cabinet, unless there is what Ambassador Bolton called, “gross incompetence or unethical behavior.”

Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Simon Missionary from: Accra-Ghana.
December 06, 2012 2:35 PM
There is some comment that makes me to recall a woman whom I met at the Church ,as I was sent to look for work by Elder Clinger ,they called her by Name Mary Hill ,that 2008 even as I did not know who she is ,except as I saw her name on the notice board ,(that U.S Citizen who are not registered should contact her)that is the reason I was able to talk to her but all her words are not helpful to solve my problem then she says that she is going to see Mr Barrack Obama,that was 2008,following this comment,.
An early supporter of President Barack Obama, she was one of his foreign policy advisers during his first campaign for the presidency, after which he named her U.N. envoy, a post she has held since 2009.
I think this Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is the favorite to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, if she decides to leave.

by: Margret from: PA
December 05, 2012 11:41 PM
I Prefer that Senator Kerry be offered this post. He has more experience, qualifications, especially as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and he has the diplomatic skills necessary for this post. There have been ambassadors from other countries who, in an unusual step have said they prefer to work with Senator Kerry. Why would you settle for second best in Rice when Senator Kerry is obviously more qualified for the postion. I would hope that our President wouldn't risk our foreign policy decision on someone who is appointed for little more than being a closer friend or because Republicans double dared him to elect her.

by: C.FALBE from: NEW HAMPSHIRE
December 05, 2012 8:07 PM
It is past time to focus on Rice. We know what she said was false. Why she said it is hidden with buck passing from the White House to the intelligent services. What the real question is .....WHY WERE FOUR MEN ABANDONED AND ALLOWED TO DIE? Who failed them. No information has been forthcoming from the White House as to what Obama's role was. Was he actually dealing with it or had he handed it over to someone else?
He states orders were given (but will not make it available even though it is not classified info) but no more info is given. Please demand an examination of what role was played by whom and who was actually making decisions?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs