Susan Rice: Another Do-Little Obama Appointee
Rice has been more active 'in the social scene of Washington and the White House' than at the U.N., as suggested by a Security Council Report study that notes a marked decrease in activity at the Security Council over the past year.
Desiree Rogers, of course, is the Obamas' Social Secretary, described in The Huffington Post as "preening and self-indulgent, lording it over her table at the [first Obama official] state dinner, while ignoring her own mundane duties such as ensuring that someone from her office was at the Secret Service check-point." While Rogers was enjoying herself, a pair of crashers successfully eluded White House security and actually posed with the President for photos.
Rice has been spending several days a week in Washington with her larger than normal DC-based staff and spending less time with the 200-plus employees who work for her in New York. While Rice launched her UN tenure with a glamour spread in Vogue Magazine by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz showing her kicking back in an empty Security Council Chamber, she seems to not enjoy the Chamber when it's full of diplomats. During the recent Haiti crisis, Rice was not only absent from the Security Council vote to expand the UN's peacekeeping operation, but she also failed to call an emergency meeting in the immediate aftermath to request more help. In fact, 7 days after the Haiti earthquake left tens of thousands of people in the streets without food or shelter, it was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that came to the Security Council to request more troops -- the American Ambassador hadn't bothered.
The Ambassador's response to the charges speaks volumes about this incompetent administration and the attitude of its players:
... frankly, I think that when we are in negotiations with partners on the Security Council, when I speak for the Administration, whether behind closed doors in consultations or in private -- there's an understanding among my colleagues that I am speaking authoritatively as one of the President's senior advisers, and I think that frankly, very much enhances our ability to get things done, and I think the record speaks for itself.
Only an unrepentant academician with Obama dust in her eyes would believe that speaking for Obama equates with getting something done. The record does speak for itself, and unless we believe that America's security interests are better served by focusing on the Western Sahara, the Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone than with confronting the still-determined Axis of Evil, perhaps we had better get serious about either finding a new U.N. Ambassador or simply shutting our entire U.N. effort down.
Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target.