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Susan Rice
Susan Rice and the B word.
Susan Rice is certainly capable and tough. One person who has spent a lot of time with Rice is struck by her “bristling certitude.” A former U.S. ambassador told me, “Rice does not know how to be unblunt.” But it is her judgment at critical moments — as displayed on whether to reopen the Sudan embassy or in her handling of the talking points on the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans — that troubles me. - Roger Cohen, NYTimes [Emphasis supplied.]
The B words and Susan Rice are becoming more and more commonplace. In a remarkable column in today's New York Times, for the first time that I can remember, Roger Cohen expressed concern about "bristling certitude" and "bluntness." His concern is regarding  the supposed "bristling certitude" and "bluntness" of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. But what, to use Susan Collins' favorite word, "troubles" him, or so he writes, is Rice's judgment. Oh really? I did a quick Google search and the closest thing I find from Cohen on the CONDOLEEZZA Rice judgment issue was this:
Condoleezza Rice, the new secretary of state, explaining last month what will guide her policy: "The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls 'the town square test': if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a fear society has finally won their freedom. [...]

Mr. Sharansky might also have taken Abu Ghraib as an illustration of what can happen when a society becomes too certain of its mission, too giddy with its might, too negligent of constitutional safeguards of liberty and too blind to the humanity of people from another culture. Moral clarity in the name of freedom is one thing. But the slogan of freedom masquerading as moral clarity is quite another.

Yeah, I don't know what that means either. I do know that Roger Cohen's "judgment" was largely as flawed as that of Condoleezza Rice for most of the past decade. So when I read him questioning anyone's judgment, I am initially skeptical. Nonetheless, I think addressing the substance, such as it is, of Cohen's "troubles" is worth attempting.

Cohen writes that "[Rice's] handling of the talking points on the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya [...]" trouble him. He does not explain what troubles him about this. Was it Rice's adherence to the intelligence agencies' prepared talking points? Cohen would have preferred she go off script? Perhaps reveal some classified information as Republicans in the House have done? Cohen's argument for being troubled about Rice and the Benghazi talking points is, in a word, nonsense.

So what of the judgment in 1997 (yes, 15 years ago), where Rice disagreed with Thomas Pickering? What is troubling about that? I'm not sure as Cohen does not explain what is so troubling. It is ironic though that Cohen would mention Rice's siding with the CIA's security concerns about reopening the U.S. embassy in Khartoum in 1997 when all the criticisms about the Benghazi tragedy are rooted in the alleged ignoring of CIA security concerns in Benghazi. Someone alert Susan Collins, who evoked the African embassy security concerns of the 1990s when explaining her "troubles" about Susan Rice. It turns out Susan Rice was on your side on that, Susan Collins.

But do the facts really matter? How does Cohen determine that Pickering was the person embued with the right "judgment" on the matter (other than the fact that Pickering is a white man and Rice is a black woman)?

Here are some facts: In September 1997, the U.S. embassy in Khartoum was reopened. Last I looked, Sudan did not become a peace-loving nation of goodwill after this. And to the point of embassy security, while the Khartoum embassy was not targetted in the 1998 African embassy attacks, Sudan was where the planning took place.

I'm not sure that the record supports the argument Cohen forwards here. I think, in hindsight, the case is strong that it was Susan Rice who got it right in 1997, not Thomas Pickering. However, I'm not prepared to be "troubled" by Pickering's judgment on this.

One final thought—in February 2008, Cohen critiqued then-presidential candidate Barack Obama thusly:

In an eloquent column, [Leon Weistelier] argued that “We are heading into an era of conflict.” From Waziristan to Gaza City the world of the next U.S. president will be one of foreboding. The threats, he suggested, were of a nature a neophyte senator called Barack Obama, who’s long on hope and short on hardness, is ill-prepared to confront.

I share the concern that the feel-good conciliation propelling the Obama bandwagon is light on fierceness. Change is great but constancy can be greater, especially when the threat is mortal. Readiness to talk to everyone, enemy dictators included, does not a foreign policy make.  [Emphasis supplied.]

Apparently, there was a time when "hardness" and "fierceness" were qualities Cohen admired. Not sure why he sees "bristling certitiude" and "bluntness" from Rice now in a different light.

Maybe something to do with B words? Just asking.  

Originally posted to Armando on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  even if she hadn't been his first choice (5+ / 0-)

    obama should appoint her, just to make heads explode. then maybe cohen would appreciate his fierceness.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:08:45 AM PST

    •  She cheered Bush's Iraq War, and EVERY war since (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bon Temps, LEP, PDiddie, Philip Woods

      That's the real reason progressives should oppose her nomination.  See, "Susan Rice Vocally Supported the Iraq War, and Every Mid-East War Since" , http://www.dailykos.com/...

      "Bluntness" is just the latest dog whistle term that's been applied to her, but that isn't reason to circle our wagons around her.  It certainly doesn't make her a good choice for Secretary of State.

      She displayed poor judgement in 2003 when she stated:

      “I think he has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.” (NPR, Feb. 6, 2003)

      “We need to be ready for the possibility that the attack against the U.S. could come in some form against the homeland, not necessarily on the battlefield against our forces. And I think there, too, is an area where the American people need to be better prepared by our leadership. … It’s clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It’s clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that’s the path we’re on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side.” (NPR, Dec. 20, 2002)

      “I think the United States government has been clear since the first Bush administration about the threat that Iraq and Saddam Hussein poses. The United States policy has been regime change for many, many years, going well back into the Clinton administration. So it’s a question of timing and tactics. … We do not necessarily need a further Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions. (NPR, Nov. 11, 2002)

      If that isn't bad judgement, I don't know what is.

      But, she is consistent.  Rice has been the most forceful public advocate for every U.S. war, invasion, and armed intervention and covert operation since, particularly Libya, Syria, and she is the Administration's principal voice for escalating confrontation with Iran.

      No, thank you.    

      •  Thanks for this comment. I didn't know this about (0+ / 0-)

        her and find it disappointing.
        Of course, the same could be said about Kerry & Clinton, both of whom supported the invasion of Iraq. (and I think Clinton has been an excellent SOS).
        I was against the Iraq invasion from the beginning (with minimal foreign policy expertise myself, I still knew enough about the Bush administration to distrust anything they said, and I listened & read carefully foreign policy experts -- not talking heads but scholars -- and they all thought an invasion would be lunacy) and have never understood why so many smart politicians didn't see through the false claims. Even if they felt they had to vote for the invasion, why didn't they openly say afterwards that they were lied to (which is true)?
        I would like to know what Susan Rice's stand on Libya was -- was she in support of the limited and successful intervention we made?
        Finally, on the question of judgment -- that other Rice (Condoleezza) had the poorest publicly displayed judgment I've seen outside of John Bolton and George W. Bush himself. Not just her ignorance and lying about the 9/11 memo, but also her statements after Hamas won the election in Gaza. She claimed to be shocked and surprised and "who woulda thought it!" when anyone who spent even a little time reading about Gaza could have guessed they'd win that election.

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:09:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In 2009, Rice said Iraq was "no proximate threat" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madcitysailor

          In an interview with Rachel Maddow, Rice was claiming that Pakistan poses an imminent threat to the US, and that US military operations there are justified.  In the same context, she says at 8:44 that Iraq in fact, posed "no proximate threat", and that represents a difference between the two interventions that justifies the latter.  http://www.youtube.com/...

          Wow, Susan Rice proves to be versatile.  She even recycles an old false threat to justify starting a new front in the Af-Pak war.  Add another conflict for which she is an enthusiast.

          Hillary Clinton was one of a handful of Senators who was given full access to the unedited CIA Iraq WMD reports, and she voted for it anyway.  In my opinion, she was irresponsible and showed poor judgement, particularly in her public statement supporting the measure that may have swayed some of her colleagues.

          While she later said she regretted her vote, fully a year into the war, Clinton still wasn't ready to admit she had made a mistake: http://articles.cnn.com/...

          WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is not sorry she voted for a resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq despite the recent problems there but she does regret "the way the president used the authority."

          "How could they have been so poorly prepared for the aftermath of the toppling of Saddam Hussein?" the New York Democrat asked Tuesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

          "I don't understand how they had such an unrealistic view of what was going to happen."

          The same can certainly be said for the Administration's coordination of one side in the Sunni vs. Shi'ia civil war in Syria, where 40,000 have died.   Libya, too, hasn't turned out as planned.  One touted as a "model of humanitarian intervention,"  Libya is still wracked by serious violence and has factionalized into many warring camps run by war lords.  Eastern Libya is still overrun by Jihadi groups exporting missiles and terrorists fueling other conflicts in the region.

          As for Kerry, he alone among the three really made a soul-searching acknowledgement that he had been wrong about his Iraq War vote.

  •  was he "concerned" about John Bolton? (7+ / 0-)

    I'll guess no.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:19:06 AM PST

    •  Sorry for repeating this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Tamar

      I should have read your comment before posting, was just too upset that the Bolton supporters have the nerve to criticize Susan Rice for being blunt.

      We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

      by Urban Owl on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:42:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  John Bolton made my head explode (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, Tamar

      Still does.

      "Good morning, brothers Koch. I see you're doing well. If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell." w/apologies to R. Hunter

      by RUKind on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:37:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  big difference between the two. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Tamar
      was he "concerned" about John Bolton?
      I'll guess no.
      mr. bolton was a bluntly stupid republican, wrong in any and every way. ms. rice is a bluntly right democrat. that, of course, makes all the difference.

      republicans are always "troubled" by "uncertainty", though they can never quite seem to put their finger on what, specifically  it is that "troubles" them. oh, wait, it could be that some of these "troubling" people are unheartlandishly hued, and not-men. no, no, i'm sure that isn't it.

      BTD, you know that "cognitive dissonance" is the current GOP's mental illness of choice. some call it multi-tasking, i call it barking mad. talk amongst yourselves.

  •  Ray McGovern on Susan Rice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tyche, wilderness voice

    Why to Say No to Susan Rice

    http://consortiumnews.com/...

    In fall 2002, as President George W. Bush and his administration were pounding the drums for war, Rice wasn’t exactly a profile in courage. A senior fellow at the centrist Brookings Institution, she echoed the neoconservative demands for “regime change” in Iraq and doubted the “need [for] a further [U.N. Security] Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions” on Iraq, according a compilation of her Iraq War comments compiled by the Institute for Public Accuracy.
      •  Ray McGovern's also a 9/11 truther (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloraLine, Roger Fox

        there was a shit diary about this the other day -- similar arguments to this, but also lambasting her for not intervening in Rwanda.

        I kind of like John Kerry for the job and think he earned it for his role as a campaign surrogate on Veterans' issues and playing Romney in debate prep, but it's clear to me that the people against Susan Rice are holding her to the standard of impossible perfection.  

        You know who else supported the Bush administration's Iraq resolution?  Hillary Clinton.  (And John Kerry.)

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:12:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  McGovern a 9/11 truther? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice

          That could mean anything from healthy skepticism of details in the official story to a full blown tinfoil hat conspiracy.

          There's more to McGovern's assessment of Susan Rice than her support of the Iraq invasion.  Read it.

          You could be right about standards of impossible perfection being applied to Susan Rice.

          Kerry would be good, but I'd like to see him stay in the Senate.

          •  I'd rather have Kerry as my Senator (0+ / 0-)

            Scott Brown and one more for the R side is the option. I don't think Ed Markey can beat Brown.

            "Good morning, brothers Koch. I see you're doing well. If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell." w/apologies to R. Hunter

            by RUKind on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:41:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  To say that I'm disappointed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox, oysterface

          In the left's defense of Rice is an understatement.  I live on the front lines of our nation's defense and intervention choices.  I get very frustrated when anyone thinks the answers to such ails are always black and white and there are clear 100% guaranteed successful outcomes that our leaders were simply too lazy or self centered to undertake.

        •  Ray McGovern speaks the truth about Bobby Gates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RUKind

          McGovern was his station chief in a CIA Field Office. I listened to him in person talk about how Bobby Gates parrotted what the Dir of CIA Bill Casey wanted him to say about the Soviets (2) in Nicaragua.  He said the Soviets might have 2 personnel in Nic in the 1980's, but Bobby Gates, Secr of Defense under Bush and Obama, saw two of them under every rock you would turn over.  Soviets didn't give a damn about central America, but he Ray-Gun shoot first administration needed someone to say their was a huge Soviet buildup there.  He did it for them, based on NOTHING.  FUCK Robert Gates and why did Obama not kick his worthless ass out of the Pentagon?

          80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

          by Churchill on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:59:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  McGovern's argument . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tyche

        . . actually makes sense.

    •  That refers to Condi Rice, not Susan Rice (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Denise Oliver Velez, deePA

      But I guess all black people look alike

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:00:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ray McGovern's article . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oysterface, Tyche

        . . is all about Susan Rice.

        •  Maybe or maybe not. One of the standard dog (0+ / 0-)

          whistles in many circles around women is that the particular one being dumped upon is to forceful, too aggressive, too certain of her own views. Not deferential enough. All the decades since I was a young lawyer have not changed that, even for lawyers, and this sounds like another one of those to me. I thought we were done with that, but the new R rule is that only R pols who are women can do that, not anyone else.

          •  on the one hand (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            justintime

            such language ican be a sexist dogwhistle.  On the other, those same words could be said accurately about John Bolton. But in any case, McGovern's objection to Rice is not about that, but rather her support for the invasion of Iraq, and other policy issues.

          •  I'm fine with saying that about men. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee

            "Bristling certitude" was a characteristic of the Cheney Administration and I condemn them for it and for the results.

          •  not-so-funny joke, first heard (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee

            nearly 40 years ago:

            Two candiates with identical resumés and very similar approaches to problem-solving are interviewed for a job. Afterward, the hiring committee meets.

            "He's tough," the gentlemen say admiringly. "Forceful, good at decision-making, strong."

            Heads nod all around the room. Then the lead interviewer speaks again.

            "But she's a pushy bitch."

            The truth is rarely pure and never simple. -- Oscar Wilde

            by Mnemosyne on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:09:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  not as long as republicans can get away (0+ / 0-)
            I thought we were done with that, but the new R rule is that only R pols who are women can do that, not anyone else.
            with using it. again, the GOP mental illness, cognitive dissonance: women are either: too weak/emotional, to do the hard work and make the hard choices, or they're too aggressive (read: bitchy). obviously polar opposites, and sometimes even describing the same person. doesn't stop the GOP, because they know their knuckle dragging audience.
        •  McGovern uses her past policy positions . . (0+ / 0-)

          . . to support his contention that Susan Rice is more interested in protecting her career track than presenting her true convictions about what is right.  Some of McGovern's examples are a decade ago, from Rice's early career and may be misleading, even unfair.  

          Other critics claim Susan Rice doesn't have the temperament for diplomacy - whatever that is.  Too bristly and blunt?  

          But I can't think of anyone (with the exception of John Kerry) more qualified for Secretary of State than Susan Rice.  If she gets the nomination, I'll support her.

    •  Iraq War Drum beating disqualifies Susan Rice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, PDiddie

      if he thinks that she can live that down, SHE CAN'T.

      80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

      by Churchill on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:54:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  in fairness, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kingfishstew, Tamar
      Why to Say No to Susan Rice
      that puts her in the company of everyone who was sucked in by the bush administration's lies, about imminent production/use of WMD's by iraq. if you're going to use that as a basis, then pretty much everyone (a few exceptions) on capital hill at that time no longer qualifies for public service, period.

      while i might just agree with that, it's funny how this standard never gets applied to republicans, only democrats. oh, wait, that's right, "it's ok if you're a republican". i guess, because if you're a republican, everyone expects you to be a liar, it's what you are.

      so, unless you have proof that ms. rice knew, at the time, that the bush administration was just a lying sack of shit, masquerading as leaders of the country, and she supported it anyway, that's hardly a black mark on her career.

  •  Troubled..the new rightwing (4+ / 0-)

    Catchphrase that cues their insane base to get all wrinkle browed and seek out false stories about top secret Spectre gunships and CIA SEALs laser painting targets while the White House radios back "Die Already!"

    It has been one troubled bullshit conspiracy after another.

    You know what I really think is troubling to "them"?  Susan Rice is a brilliant black woman who doesn't know her place, and God fucking help the Republican base if she became an obvious raving success and served this nation eloquently and victoriously seeking win/wins as Hillary Clinton has and Albright did, while being a black woman who didn't know her place.  I really need Susan Rice to be my next SoS.

  •  If the Rice has an (R) after her name, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Militarytracy, oysterface, ER Doc

    then bluntness and certitude are good qualities.  However, if she has a (D), then all bets are off.

    As far as Tom Pickering's judgement vis a vis Susan Rice's, while I will concede that Rice got that one right, you have to understand that Tom Pickering is considered in Foreign Service circles to be this generation's George Kennan.  This hagiographication has obviously overflowed into the press corps, who see any challenge to Tom's judgement to be per se grounds for questioning the person's own judgement.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:05:26 AM PST

    •  I always felt like Condoleezza Rice (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, oysterface, FindingMyVoice

      Knew her place.  It is a choice every woman must make, how much you choose to ignore the status quo of patriarchy in our culture and society.  Some women get high marks for manners and a poor actual achievement score because they are very busy minding their manners.

      Susan Rice is a woman who chose to not let manners be the enemy of the good while never being poorly mannered when manners truly do matter.  She is very threatening to the patriarchy.  They've barely been able to tolerate Clinton.  They've taken a loss on all lose 'Impeach Clinton and her husband too' bumper stickers.  Having to deal with a Susan Rice brilliant performance as SoS is a bridge too far.....straw and camel backs.

      •  Condoleezza Rice is beloved by older men. A (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justintime

        close friend of my husband's family, a foreign policy expert and generally a Democrat, just loved her. They had lunch, after all, and she was just charming and smart....
        When I pointed out that she was part of a truly criminal administration and should leave (this was during the Bush administration), he said she was staying there to make it better from the inside.
        He was so taken with her and I think I heard that when she was a student, the male faculty had the same reaction.
        This is not meant as sexual innuendo, just that she seems to have the knack for praising and supporting the egos of male authority figures.

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:16:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Something I find comforting (4+ / 0-)

    Rice didn't like Holbrooke....neither did I.  Particularly on how he wanted Afghanistan dealt with.  Absolutely not!  He had many inhumane ideas about how to getterdone, and he still gets such a free pass among the left while Rice gets skewered.  I really need Susan Rice please.

    •  With all respect (0+ / 0-)

      I am very interested in your comments on Susan Rice as nominee for SoS, and of Condi's performance thereof, as well as some of the ambassadors that you have mentioned. And all of the issues surrounding diplomacy in the 1990's. But I am having a hard time following your argument. Some of the people you mention are unknown or barely known to me, and some, like Holbrooke, I have an impression based upon reported stories and Washington elites who knew him. None of that really informs my opinion very much.

      I don't know if Susan Rice is the best qualified person for SoS, and I think that Senator Kerry doesn't have the skill set that I would wish for to run a huge, self-contained bureaucracy like State. And I wouldn't want the rightwing extremists to have the final say on who should be nominated, one way or the other.

      I wonder if you might make a diary of your opinions on the matter. You seem to have a more informed opinion about the matter than most commenters/bloggers around. Please consider expounding upon your arguments.

  •  Thanks Armando. I learned a new word today (7+ / 0-)

    Now I will bristle while I work.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:20:38 PM PST

  •  Cohen is, and always has been, (0+ / 0-)

    a douche.  End of story.

  •  2003 Gov RPT our embassies need security upgrades (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justintime

    upgrades and some embassies can't be upgraded.  Need 10 billion dollars.  This report included new security concerns of a country at war.  This isn't Susan Rice's fault.  Of course when you are at war and have created thousands of new terrorists then embassies and consulates need vast improvements.

    Susan might not be that good at Secretary of State.  Giving up Senator Kerry's seat to Scott Brown might be the pivotal vote.

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

    by Churchill on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:50:04 PM PST

  •  It's really quite simple (6+ / 0-)

    Susan Rice is female, black and smart. She doesn't curtsey. It drives the mature white males bananas. I hope the President insists that she get the job of S of S. She will do just fine.

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:02:06 PM PST

    •  maybe it's simpler that that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native

      My guess is that much of the dust up revolving around Rice has very little to do with her race, gender or intelligence.

      Maybe she really has pissed more than a few folks off with her attitude?  It does happen to folks on our side too. It is something that needs to be considered.

      Victory is sweet-November 6, 2012

      by al23 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:20:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I find an element of misogyny... (3+ / 0-)

        ...when a woman is disapprovingly described as tough. The "B" word is hiding in the wings.

        Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. - Thomas Paine

        by Spinster on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:37:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  John Bolton's neocon philosophy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native

          was certainly disagreeable, but what I remember most about the frequent characterizations of Bolton is that he was an abrasive jerk, which in my mind not a very desirable personality in a senior ambassador.

          I don't know much about Rice and I think that McCain and Graham's crusade is just so much partisan hot air. But if Rice does have an abrasive, hard charging manner, it that a good fit for our chief diplomat? That is not an unreasonable question.

          Victory is sweet-November 6, 2012

          by al23 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:05:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and the "S" word (strident). /nt (0+ / 0-)

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:18:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why anyone wants to be U.S. Secretary of State (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jane Lew

    is still kind of a mystery to me?

    "God bless us, every one!" ~ T. Tim

    by jwinIL14 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:03:23 PM PST

  •  Here's another question -- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, SoCaliana, YucatanMan, Jane Lew

    who is Roger Cohen and why should I pay attention to his opinion?

    The truth is rarely pure and never simple. -- Oscar Wilde

    by Mnemosyne on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:06:20 PM PST

  •  The Black Agenda Report's opinion of Susan Rice (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/...  may have more authenticity here.

    Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

    by CarolinNJ on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:08:50 PM PST

  •  Other comparisons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jane Lew

    The comments on Ambassador Rice I've read compare the relative merits, behavior, and reactions to her vis-a-vis Condalezza Rice. Lately I've been recollecting a previous UN Ambassador who I think is also on point. No, not John Bolton (the man is not fit to carry Susan Rice's portfolio), but rather Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Agree ir disagree with her politics, no one ever accused her of being less than blunt with her opinions.

  •  Rice = Imperialist warmonger (0+ / 0-)

    Can't imagine why the R's wouldn't want her.  Condi had a fukin' oil tanker named after her for loyal service so what's the risk for the elite?

    I preach the church without Christ, where the lame don't walk, the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way! Hazel Motes in "Wise Blood"

    by chalatenango on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:13:54 PM PST

  •  Blunt? What did he call Bolton? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, SoCaliana, YucatanMan

    Bolton's certitude was as bristling as his moustache.

    Susan Rice is a giant step up from any of the Bush foreign policy appointees.

    Of course it is racism and sexism on top of the usual hypocrisy of the Republican double standard. Their people can do no wrong and any Democrat can do no right.

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:14:41 PM PST

  •  Obama Has to Nominate Susan Rice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan

    Because the Republicans have made an issue of it. It's as simple as that.

    It's just like 2009. They wouldn't hold hearings on his nominees or confirm a lot of them. He should have made a blanket appointment of all the remaining ones during the first congressional recess and went on to other things.

    Yes, there would have been screaming. Yes, there would have been intransigence. Yes, they would have called him lots and lots of bad names and swore never to work with him on anything after that. In short, yes, they would have behaved like two-year-olds.

    In other words, business as usual for the Republicans. But it would have sent a clear message that he wasn't putting up with any bullshit from them, and if they wanted to not suffer for four years in the wilderness they'd have to deal with him.

    Perhaps he would have gotten a better deal on everything else, though.

  •  Ironic That The GOP Senators Who Want Kerry (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, SoCaliana, YucatanMan, Jane Lew, Lawrence

    seem to be trying to Swiftboat Rice.

    •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, YucatanMan

      Rachel Maddow has pointed out that if John Kerry receives a presidential appointment, he will have to give up his Senate seat, and Scott Brown can then run for Senate again in MA in a special election.

      Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. - Thomas Paine

      by Spinster on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:58:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  His last four paragraphs are a demonstration of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, SoCaliana, YucatanMan

    contradicting notions and analogies.

    The U.S. secretary of state needs several skills: leadership...judgment. The most effective secretaries — Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and James Baker come to mind — have served their presidents, of course, but were also shapers and clinchers of policy.

    The recent precedent of Colin Powell’s reluctant support for the Iraq war shows how important it can be for the secretary to stand up to the White House...

    In diplomacy... It is less a question of what you know than how curious you are about what you do not.

    Susan Rice’s story includes several significant achievements. But, from Khartoum to Benghazi, it has been more one of knowing than asking.

    Garbledy gook
  •  "blunt" as opposed to what, exactly? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spinster, SoCaliana

    Not sharp? Not pointed? Not subtle? Not deferential? Not ... apologetic?

    What traits do you want in a Secretary of State?

    Susan Rice is sharp, very sharp. She does speak clearly and directly and she certainly should! As for subtlety, Yes, that's a feature of some diplomacy, but so is being sharp, clear and direct. And blunt. The posturing in and around the UN calls for blunt talk.

    As for not being deferential or apologetic, Mitt Romney's foreign policy platform during the campaign consisted of accusing President Obama for apologizing for America.

    The women who is now Secretary of State is generally regarded as having done a very good job in very troublous times. Secretary Clinton is notably blunt when called for and most certainly not deferential or apologetic.

    The other issue seems to be that Susan Rice doesn't have good judgment. The evidence for that seems to be limited to a set of TV appearances (UN ambassadors have been known to appear on TV on foreign policy matters in the past) and her statements (provided by some faulty intelligence) that were sufficiently qualified that she has little, if anything, to apologize for.

    This is a concocted set of objections based on (1) the Far Right's antipathy for the UN and (2) something to harangue this administration about. That is what is producing all this flak from the GOP's flacks.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:54:24 PM PST

  •  what about her millions in oil holdings? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, PDiddie, Philip Woods

    “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” - Aristotle

    by Tribble13 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:04:48 PM PST

  •  I prefer what I call 'the Republican rally test' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, sngmama
    Condoleezza Rice, the new secretary of state, explaining last month what will guide her policy: "The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls 'the town square test': if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a fear society has finally won their freedom.
    If a person cannot walk into the middle of Republican presidential campaign event and express his or her views (for instance by wearing a Democratic t-shirt) without fear of arrest, imprisonment or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society.

    Did you ever consider that, Condi?

    ------
    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:09:09 PM PST

    •  No, she didn't. Right to peaceable assembly no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alden, YucatanMan

      longer merits constitutional protection in some eyes.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:15:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blunt? So, she's worse than John Bolton, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    Bush's ambassador to the UN?

    Widely known as being "rude," "undiplomatic," "blunt," "abrasive," inflaming the North Koreans at delicate diplomatic junctures and otherwise bollixing up US foreign policy.  From politicizing intelligence knowledge to falsifying accusations against Cuba to interfering with assignments in the State Department and the CIA and trying to have other government employees fired for not going along with his lies?   Yellowcake Bolton?  Iran-Contra, blood-on-his-hands in Central America Bolton?  The man who previously said this about the United Nations:

    ... there is no United Nations... there is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that´s the United States, when it suits our interests, and when we can get others to go along.
    That UN ambassador? She's worse than that?

    Or is it because she is:

    1) Black and
    2) A Woman and
    3) A Democrat and
    4) Works for Obama?

    What a load of crap. Cohen and the New York Times should be ashamed of themselves.  Rice is nowhere near as "objectionable" as anyone involved with the 8 year Bush reign of idiocy and "bluntness."  

    In fact, she is not "objectionable" at all.

    It is just more of the village push-back in support of the Republican Party.  And the New York Times should be ashamed to be used in a political power play like this.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:16:27 AM PST

  •  Damaged goods (0+ / 0-)

    move on.. for cripes sakes.. Susan Rice is the ONLY qualified candidate for SoS?

    Of course not.. but it would make wingnuts heads explode, so "progressives" have to keep pushing her as THE ONLY CANDIDATE despite it being an exercise in biting off your nose to spite your face.

  •  Unlike John Bolton, whose bristling certitude... (0+ / 0-)

    came with a generous helping of distilled assholishness, Susan Rice has had the virtue of being generally correct in her judgments.

  •  Well, I am troubled that Armando's (0+ / 0-)

    diary didn't trouble me, they often do, because I can't follow the argumentations.

    This time not. Let's bristle with certidude through all the faux arguments given in support or in opposition to Susan Rice's record.

    Didn't Kerry and H.Clinton also voted for the Iraq War resolution? So, why isn't that an issue for Kerry's nomination and why isn't H.Clinton way too "bristling certain" in her way to deal with the Middle East conflict ?

    I guess "certitude" is especially annoying when it comes from a black woman, bristling or not. .

    Sigh. I want a mixed race Sec. of State having Native American, Afro-American and Caucasian fathers and grandfather and being preferably bisexual too. That should satisfy everyone, right?

    /ugsome thoughts

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