The Bigger Problem with Susan Rice

Much ado has been made over President Obama’s selection of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to serve as the next National Secrutiy Advisor because of her role in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. But Benghazi is only a symptom of a larger problem with Susan Rice: she’s a hardcore interventionist.


Since her involvement in the Clinton Administration’s response to the Rwanda Genocide - during which she served on the National Security Council - Rice has never objected to an American intervention.

Now seen as a “voice for intervention,” Rice was quoted in the aftermath of Rwanda::

“I swore to myself that 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.”

Eh, excuse me: Going down in flames?

What’s also concerning is that Susan Rice has viewed foreign policy as an extension of politics; in 1994, she is quoted as saying, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

Of Mrs. Rice’s appointment to National Security Advisor, Matthew Feeney notes: ”The move suggests that Obama is not only willing to stand by Rice amid the controversy of the Benghazi consulate attack but also that he is also happy having advocates of humanitarian intervention being in influential roles.”

This is concerning, for as Doug Mataconis points out, “Even though she’s been denied the Secretary of State position, she’s being put in what is arguably the second most important foreign policy position in the American government.”

Whether or not the United States intervenes (aka meddles) in the Syrian civil war remains to be seen, but Thomas Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Staff who left the post in March, states, “She is realistic, she will not advocate for intervention in Syria for the sake of intervention in Syria. She understands all the pit falls, she understands our experience in Iraq, that these things are often a lot more complicated.”

Time will tell, I suppose, but I will let her record speak for itself: She was a cheerleader for regime change in Iraq in 2003, and has supported intervening in every Middle East conflict since; she backed even greater U.S. involvement in Libya, further intervention in Mali, tougher Iranian sanctions, and went so far as to vocally consider intervention in Syria, saying:

What we’re trying to do is mount as much pressure, diplomatically, politically, economically, as possible to accomplish that sooner rather than later. Peacefully, if possible.

Note that last sentence.

What’s also interesting to watch here is the immediate flip-flop by GOP interventionists. Despite meeting with Susan Rice two weeks ago, interventionist Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte stood by their assertions that she played a key role in the Administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, even though the full set of emails released by the White House proved otherwise. But this morning, Sens. McCain and Ayotte have already tweeted out they are ready to work with her in her new post as National Security Advisor.

I’m afraid that with Susan Rice as National Security Advisor - and with the hawks’ support - our intervention in Syria is only a matter of time.

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