We know John McCain will be on Sunday shows as an important voice on foreign policy, even though he is mostly wrong all the time. Susan Rice, although she was simply representing intelligence information provided to her by Petraeus for release, is now a no go for Secretary of State and has withdrawn her name. (Note: Petraeus gave her a bunch of garbage to lay out all Sunday because it really didn’t help us understand Benghazi nor did it allow the Department of State to get ahead of the information coming out of that incident)
Power’s piece is a fascinating study in how and why the U.S. is slow to react to atrocities abroad. It also includes one passage that casts Susan Rice in a damning light:
At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?” Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. “We could believe that people would wonder that,” he says, “but not that they would actually voice it.” Rice does not recall the incident but concedes, “If I said it, it was completely inappropriate, as well as irrelevant.”
I suspect the passage didn’t endear Power to Rice. But as Massimo notes in his piece, Rice also told Power that, “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.”In Libya, Rice made good on her words–a position that put her in alliance with Power, with whom she is now said to have a strong relationship. Whether she might go “down in flames” as a result remains to be seen.
Remember, convincing Secretary of State Clinton to push the President to pursue action in Libya came from Rice and Power contra the Pentagon led by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Intelligence heads. In addition, Clinton and Rice actually moved a lot of political actors to get Libya done:
Though Defense Secretary Robert Gates was joined by the national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon and the counter-terrorism chief John O. Brennan in arguing against American military action, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overrode their objections. Samantha Power of the National Security Council (left) and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice (right) had been arguing for the deployment of military force. According to Brian Katulis, a national security expert, “Hillary and Susan Rice were key parts of this story because Hillary got the Arab buy-in and Susan worked the U.N. to get a 10-to-5 vote, which is no easy thing.”
This is the type of capacity Rice has already served so far: a competent diplomatic representative of the state. John McCain says something and the beltway journalists jump, so there’s that. People forget, in touting the new found democracy in Libya, McCain, Graham and Ayotte deign to acknowledge her key role in brokering the coalition for intervention into Libya. An intervention that cost us 4 American lives total vs. Iraq and Afghanistan which McCain supported at all times in all phases. No one asks McCain about his pow wow in favor of arming Libya’s despot Gaddafi. She’s qualified and she has served at a high level. John McCain argues for intervention on behalf of people rebelling , but Susan Rice helped actually devise a successful limited engagement that resulted in a democracy. This all the while senators continued to not do their duty in holding the office of the president to the war powers act’s limits. So McCain is actually knee capping a diplomat responsible for the muscular, successful foreign policy he advocates but he himself never divine.
I think John Kerry will be a good nominee if nominated, but also remember, McCain and Kerry were supposedly friends before 2008, but then swift boats part II happened, and John Kerry was very surprised. So even though you hear a lot of “we would tots be cool with John Kerry” now, in reality, sh*t may not be so sweet when his name is actually put forward for Secretary of State. I don’t trust them, and Democrats should be prepared not to trust them either. The obstructive, disrespectful, sexist, xenophobic rules of order are still in effect:
“Obama will be on a very short leash, fiscally speaking, over the next four years,” Norquist said. “He’s not going to have any fun at all; he may just have to go blow up small countries he can’t pronounce because it won’t be any fun to be here, because he won’t be able to spend the kind of cash he was hoping to.”
They are all back in line. The White House needs to learn to coordinate support, both with the voters and Democrats in the senate, for every nominee and every initiative outside of it’s walls before they undertake them in this second term. Play politics folks. You’re politicians.