by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Barack Obama's nominee for United Nations Ambassador is a very aggressive woman - militarily speaking. Susan Rice is "more bellicose" than George Bush when it comes to threatening Sudan over the plight of the people of Darfur, "while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia." One is forced to conclude that "Susan Rice's brand of ‘humanitarian intervention' is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering."
Susan Rice is Bad News for Africa
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
"Rice revealed herself to be an apostle of George Bush's War on Somalia."
If you believe that Barack Obama will pursue a policy in the Horn of Africa that is substantially different than that of George Bush, you are in for a deep disappointment. Only weeks after Ethiopia's U.S.-instigated invasion of Somalia almost two years ago, Susan Rice, Obama's choice for Ambassador to the United Nations, endorsed the aggression - an atrocity that has resulted in the displacement of 1.5 million Somalis and impending starvation of 3.5 million more.
Rice is a proponent of so-called "humanitarian military intervention" - but supports a U.S. Somalia policy that created "Africa's worst humanitarian crisis," according to the United Nations.
There is every reason to believe she will counsel the next president to continue George Bush's policies in the Horn of Africa. In January, 2007, while Ethiopian troops attempted to crush Islamists who had brought a brief period of relative peace and stability to Somalia, and U.S. air and sea forces pounded the countryside with missiles and bombs, Rice revealed herself to be an apostle of George Bush's War on Somalia (and the so-called War on Terror in general). Rice told the PBS News Hour that U.S. collaboration with the Ethiopian invaders was justified by what she called America's "counterterrorism imperatives," which she said "really are real in the context of Somalia." In Rice's words, "We have to go after the terrorist cells where we find them."
The Bush regime gave no estimate of how many persons with ties to Al Qaida were operating on Somali soil, but the number appears to have been very small. The main goal of the Americans and their Ethiopian allies was to crush the government that had been created by Somali Islamists. The Islamic Courts regime, as Abukar Arman writes in the journal Global Politician, operated "schools, hospitals, and for six months before the occupation removed every checkpoint in Mogadishu and brought a semblance of peace." Two years after the invasion, the Islamists have retaken much of southern and central Somalia, and the Ethiopians appear poised to withdraw - after killing, starving and displacing millions in partnership with the United States.
"On Darfur, Rice is more bellicose than Bush."
The "humanitarian" component of Susan Rice's militarism is quite selective.
She has long been a super-hawk on punishing Sudan for its behavior in Darfur. Back in October, 2006, Rice declared, "It's time to get tough" with the government in Khartoum." In a Washington Post column, she advised the Bush regime to give Sudan "an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences." (explain China and oil and Israel)
On Darfur, Rice is more bellicose than Bush. She sees no contradiction in calling for military action against Sudan, supposedly to end a "humanitarian crisis" in Darfur, while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia. Rice claims to seek safety for civilians in Darfur, while supporting a total absence of security for Somali civilians. Darfur is a military/political convenience for "real-politic" operatives like Susan Rice. As Bruce Dixon wrote in his November 2007 BAR article, "If stopping genocide in Africa really was on the agenda, why the focus on Sudan with 200,000 to 400,000 dead rather than Congo with five million dead?" (See "Ten Reasons Why ‘Save Darfur' is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa.")
"Her sole concern is projection of U.S. power by any means - or pretext - that is available."
Rice's behavior in Africa has always been morally inconsistent. She was a member of Bill Clinton's National Security Council during the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi minority. Later, she "swore" she would go "down in flames" if necessary to prevent future genocides. But after her promotion to Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, she failed to publicly advocate action against U.S. allies Uganda and by then Tutsi-ruled Rwanda - the main perpetrators in an ongoing war that his killed millions
Susan Rice's brand of "humanitarian intervention" is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering. She has amply demonstrated that her sole concern is projection of U.S. power by any means - or pretext - that is available.
Rice embraces a policy that causes mass death and starvation in Somalia and ongoing genocide in Congo. Although she's no blood relative of Condoleezza Rice, on African issues she seems headed in the same direction as the current Secretary of State.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].