Susan Rice’s task as U.N. ambassador to mend fences
by David Jackson, USA Today
Susan Rice’s newest foreign policy task is to help mend the rocky diplomatic marriage between the United States and the United Nations.
President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Rice has spent her career studying how to prevent violence by alleviating poverty, curing disease and addressing climate change.
“All of these goals are vital to America’s security, but none can be accomplished by America alone,” Rice said after being nominated Monday. She must be confirmed by the Senate.
The Bush administration and the U.N. clashed repeatedly over the Iraq war. Obama signaled his intent to help improve relations by restoring the U.N. ambassadorship to Cabinet rank, the status it had during the Clinton years.
In introducing Rice, Obama called her “a close and trusted adviser” who “knows the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work.” He said they share the view that the U.N. is “an indispensable and imperfect forum.”
Rice, 44, grew up in the nation’s capital, the daughter of an education scholar and a former Federal Reserve Board governor. A Rhodes scholar, she holds degrees from Stanford and Oxford.
She is not related to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 54.
The younger Rice is a protégé of former U.N. ambassador and secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has known Rice since Rice was 4. Rice’s strength is that “she understands all the issues, both practically and academically,” Albright said.
During the Clinton administration, Rice worked for the National Security Council and the State Department, primarily on issues related to Africa. More recently, he specialty was on the global impact of weak and failed states at the Brookings Institution, a think tank. Rice has criticizedwhat she and others call Sudan’s genocide in the Darfur region.
John Bolton, a U.N. ambassador for President Bush, said Cabinet rank creates the potential for bureaucratic conflict, especially with the State Department. Bolton also questioned whether the U.N. — whose culture he says is “impervious to change” — should be so central to U.S. foreign policy.