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The Hypocrisies of Susan Rice

By JUSTIN DOOLITTLE | CounterPunch | November 1, 2013

Back in August, New York Times journalist Mark Landler wrote a gushing profile of Susan Rice, exploring the national security adviser’s alleged “idealism” when it comes to foreign policy and her increasingly influential role in the Obama administration. Landler documented how Rice, an “outspoken defender of human rights,” had managed to rein in her fervent humanitarian impulses and accept the need for “pragmatism” – after all, the United States cannot save everyone, everywhere. Sadly, our beneficence is constrained by practical realities.

Now we find Landler once again writing about Ms. Rice’s new realist approach to the Middle East and how it has impacted the president’s policy priorities in the region. In a piece published over the weekend, for which Rice provided an interview, Landler doesn’t even attempt to conceal his admiration for the brilliant strategist:

For Ms. Rice, 48, who previously served as ambassador to the United Nations, it is an uncharacteristic imprint. A self-confident foreign policy thinker and expert on Africa, she is known as a fierce defender of human rights, advocating military intervention, when necessary. She was among those who persuaded Mr. Obama to back a NATO air campaign in Libya to avert a slaughter of the rebels by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

First, this paragraph does not belong in the news section of the Times. Landler is clearly editorializing about a government official he likes and respects very much. This is not “reporting” as that term is defined by outlets like the New York Times.

Furthermore, consider the substance of this commentary about Rice, who, we are told, is “known as a fierce defender of human rights.” This raises some obvious questions. Where, exactly, is she “known” for her advocacy in this regard? Who are the people that purportedly view Rice as a champion of human rights? Not the people of Africa, one may assume, given that Rice, over the course of her career, has “shown an unsettling sympathy” for some of the continent’s most brutal tyrants.

In perhaps the most glaring example, Rice was able to suspend her “fierce” support for human rights long enough to strongly support Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, a violent and repressive ruler who died in 2012. Rice called him ”brilliant” and considered him a “true friend,” although she admitted to having some differences of opinion with the great man, over such trivial issues as democracy and human rights. But why let petty stuff like that come between friends?

Rice’s “self-confident foreign policy thinking” has never included any discernible consideration of the plight of the Palestinians, perhaps the most oppressed people on Earth. Her views have never strayed even an inch from the standard line that all “serious” U.S. officials must take when it comes to Israel.

Even a cursory view of Susan Rice’s career shows that her idea of “fiercely defending human rights” is essentially indistinguishable from that of virtually every other official in Washington: victims of human rights abuses are accorded dramatically different degrees of sympathy depending on the abusers’ standing with the U.S. Government. Imprisoned, suffering Gazans might as well not exist. Ditto for political prisoners in Ethiopia, or victims of terrorism in Colombia, or the countless families who have had loved ones killed by U.S. military interventions over the past few decades (all of which Rice has supported).

Mark Landler and the New York Times may genuinely not know about Rice’s flagrant hypocrisy, or they may simply be propagandizing for a particularly favored official. The latter is certainly more likely. Either way, calling a consistent advocate of military violence and repression a “fierce defender of human rights” is a clear – though unsurprising – failure of journalistic honesty. That label should only be applied to those who believe human rights are universal and are not dependent on the victims’ worthiness in the geopolitical perspective of the United States.

Justin Doolittle writes a political blog called Crimethink.

November 1, 2013 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. The author never tells us why Susan Rice has switched gears.

    How can someone write an article about Susan Rice, the US government’s foreign policy, and the UN – and NEVER use the word – Israel.

    Justin Doolittle – is totally dishonest – a propagandist for the Jews – a traitor to his own people.

    Comment by JohnJ | November 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Perhaps Justin should have called her phony rather than a hypocrite.

      I’m unaware of Rice “switching gears”. My understanding is that her entire background is pregnant with American exceptionalism, Zionism and Western superiority. She’s an “idealist” of the neocon mold.

      The neocon pipe dream of a strong U.S. military presence in Africa, through the Africa Command (AFRICOM) and other military programs, germinated under Rice’s tenure at the Clinton State Department in which she served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

      Susan Rice is not related to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but there is a connection between Condoleeza Rice and Susan Rice’s godmother, Madeleine Albright. Condoleezza Rice was Dr. Joseph Korbel’s star student at the University of Denver. Madeleine Albright is Korbel’s daughter.

      In 2008 Rice was involved with WINEP:

      Robert Dreyfuss ~ 12/04/08:

      … Several top advisers to Obama – including Tony Lake, United Nations ambassador-designate Susan Rice, Tom Daschle and Dennis Ross, along with leading Democratic hawks like Richard Holbrooke, close to vice president-elect Joe Biden or secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton – have made common cause with war-minded think-tank hawks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and other hardline institutes.

      Last spring, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, for example, took part in a WINEP “2008 Presidential Task Force” study which resulted in a report entitled, “Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen US-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge”. The Institute, part of the Washington-based Israel lobby, was founded in coordination with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has been vigorously supporting a confrontation with Iran. The task force report, issued in June, was overseen by four WINEP heavyweights: Robert Satloff, WINEP’s executive director, Patrick Clawson, its chief Iran analyst, David Makovsky, a senior fellow, and Dennis Ross, an adviser to Obama who is also a WINEP fellow.

      Endorsed by both Lake and Rice, the report opted for an alarmist view of Iran’s nuclear program and proposed that the next president set up a formal US-Israeli mechanism for coordinating policy toward Iran (including any future need for “preventive military action”).

      Comment by aletho | November 1, 2013 | Reply


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