ABC is reporting that Susan Rice, a former member of President Bill Clinton's National Security Council and a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, is about to be named US Ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama Administration. Why is this of note? Rice is extremely close to Obama, and has been for years. Mark Goldberg, of UN Dispatch, is jazzed about what that means for the future of US-UN relations:
This is great news. The fact that President-elect Obama is entrusting US diplomacy at the United Nations to such a close adviser is a sure sign of the high priority to which the new administration will place US-UN relations. Deeper still, her background as a regional Africa expert will come in handy. About 2/3rds of all discussions at the Security Council are about situations in Africa.
More broadly, Rice is known in foreign policy circles as an innovative, forward thinking foreign policy wonk who pays special attention to the connectivity of today's threats and challenges. As a diplomat, I expect her to be fairly sharp-elbowed, which is not a bad quality for Turtle Bay!
I suspect this is a sign that Obama will be involved in (or his administration will be a full partner in) worldwide efforts to bring stability to places like Darfur and Somalia. That's great news. And just take a moment to consider the difference between the Obama Administration and the Bush one. Bush named to this same post John Bolton, a man who believes force is always the right option and is so hostile toward the United Nations that he once said wiping out 10 floors of UN headquarters wouldn't make a "bit of difference." And now we have someone who has spent years studying how to engage in the world in order to reduce conflict. The democratic transfer of power is a remarkable thing.