Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’
Though before she became a senior Obama advisor during the presidential campaign and now nominee for US ambassador to the nuke-deprived United Nations, I knew only little about Susan Rice. What I did know was that she was a major advocate for humanitarian intervention, especially in Africa. As she is about to go through her nomination process in the Senate, I think it is important to know how she stands on this issue as it is also central to UN’s mission.
To tell you the truth I’m a little bit worried about her. I am a strong believer in the power for the United States to be a pillar for morality and freedom throughout the globe and bringing peace and stability by force is indeed necessary at times, but we must have a measured policy in this regard as so many incidents have shown the negative consequences possible, ie. Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon… Though I know Rice is knowledgeable (Phd in IR ) and experienced for her young age (served in the State Department under Clinton), she also comes across as a strong (bullheaded?) advocate for intervention in humanitarian cases that unfortunately may just get the US in more hot water, ie. Sudan.
I especially became concerned with aggressive stances regarding military and political intervention by watching her speak about Darfur in front of the Brookings Institution back in 2007:
She first lambasts the Bush administrations for being all talk and no walk during the ongoing crisis and starts to through around lines and phrases such as: ’own our (US, international community) terms’ ‘ultimatum’ ‘military force’ ‘air strikes’, all pointed at Sudan’s government. Now the last thing I want to do is defend the Sudenese government, which has been implementing a genocidal policy towards its black citizens in its southeast for years now, so I won’t, they’re bad dudes period. But there are real strategic and practical reasons why the US hasn’t sent troops into the country and probably shouldn’t.
At the beginning of her talk Rice curtly states that US public opinion supports ending the atrocity in Darfur and that US policy is ’out of step with American public opinion’, but this opinion would change quickly if all of a sudden we had American men and women at the nation’s doorstep, guns in hand. The situation in Sudan is extremely dangerous and as much as the country is a failed state, it contains a government willing to use force to protect its sovereignty. The US military is already tied down rather heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is sad, but true that we have troops in these places because they hold greater strategic interest to our national security than does Sudan. I just don’t think the US public or government has the stomach to send attacking planes, let alone troops, into another Muslim majority country. I can just see the denouncements of ‘Imperial America’ and ‘war of civilizations continues’.
The Bush administration in many ways has been diplomatically tough on Sudan’s government, leading Security Council resolutions and Bush was the first to call its government’s actions ‘genocide.’ Secretary State Condoleezza Rice (Susan Rice’s twin sister, nah, just joking) has also had blunt words to say about the Darfur crisis and about other humanitarian disasters throughout Africa. Unfortunately, Susan Rice is right though, these words/actions have not solved the problem or the suffering.
I don’t want to overstate Rice’s humanitarian ‘crusading’ as I’m rather confident Obama can rein her in as he seems like he will be pragmatic when it comes to such strategic situations (though there will be great pressure on him abroad, especially in Africa), but the Senate confirming committee and the media need to do their job and have Rice explain how far she will go in certain humanitarian crisis, that may or may not have strategic implications for US national security. I have to admit that if a ‘neocon’ or Bush official made similar statements as Rice did in that video, there would be some loud criticism.
What do you think of Rice’s humanitarian interventionist zeal? Are you concerned or do you think she will just be a strong, yet pragmatic advocate for such dire situations around the globe during her tenure at the UN?