Now that Barack Obama’s cabinet is mostly filled out, Obama will now turn to filling out positions involving national security and foreign policy. The ambassador to the United Nations is the person who helps present the United States wishes and goals to the rest of the world. Obama is filling that position with another one of his friends and advisors from the campaign.
Susan Rice, Obama’s foreign policy advisor, has been selected as Obama’s UN advisor, according to the New York Times. Rice will be announced as Obama’s choice at a news conference today, which will also address Obama’s other picks for his national security team.
The inclusion of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State will make more headlines than Rice and Obama’s other choices, of course. But Rice will be in a position to represent Obama and his policies on a global scale, much like Clinton will.
Rice stands to be the second youngest UN ambassador in U.S. history, at 44-years-old. Rice is another veteran of the Clinton years, having been appointed as part of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff in 1993. She has also been a protégé of Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
A few years later, Rice became assistant secretary of state for African affairs, a job she held until the end of the Clinton administration.
Rice later became an advisor to the John Kerry campaign, and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. But Rice caused some ire among the Clinton team when she defected to support and advise Obama.
Now, Rice may have to coordinate regularly with a Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though she does not need to be in the White House regularly.
Rice has been most outspoken against the mass killings in Africa, most notably in Darfur. Rice has regularly argued for larger action to stop the killings, even if it involves military force. This is a belief that goes back many years, as her doctoral dissertation at Oxford had also addressed troubles in Zimbabwe.
Rice will be officially nominated by Obama today alongside Clinton, new Attorney General Eric Holder, returning Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, new National Security Advisor and retired general Jim Jones, and new Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano.
The mix of Obama’s national security team is already being labeled as moderate, due to Clinton and Jones’ cautious views towards a speedy withdrawal from Iraq. Whatever positions the Obama team does make will have to have approval and support from the UN, as Obama stresses a better working relationship with the world body. It will be Rice’s job to help make that happen.
New York Times- “Choice for U.N. Backs Action Against Mass Killings” www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/us/politics/01rice.html
Associated Press- “Susan Rice biography” www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gBiyWixlmf391azDIABStovHsKmwD94PLNOG1
USA Today- “Obama’s national security team a diverse mix” www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2008-11-30-obama_N.htm