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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora