by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Victor Davis Hanson of National Review Online turns to cinematic history to describe the role played by one of President Obama’s top advisers.
Susan Rice is the real version of Woody Allen’s cinematic character Zelig, who in the movie of the same name popped up almost anywhere as an expert on anything.
As U.N. ambassador from 2009 to 2013, and later as National Security Adviser from 2013 to 2017, Rice seemed to have turned up everywhere there was an Obama-administration implosion. She was always eager to offer a supposedly expert assessment — one that also always proved wrong or untrue or both.
Rice, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, had a major role in the disastrous Libyan bombing decision and its wasteland aftermath.
As U.N. ambassador, she helped the U.N. draft resolutions establishing no-fly-zones and humanitarian aid to curb the violence against Arab Spring protestors. But such U.N. policies were immediately contorted into an active military role when the U.S. and allies supplied direct air support to anti-Qaddafi ground forces. The allied bombing to overthrow Qaddafi gave some credence to Russian complaints that Rice had deceived them about the true intent of the resolutions, which were really used by the Obama administration to facilitate French, British, and American efforts to achieve regime change in Libya.
The later Benghazi disaster and the subsequent false narrative of a video-inspired spontaneous riot — aimed at advancing the “al-Qaeda on the run” talking point central to Obama’s reelection campaign —were her most infamous moments of deceit. That fake-news effort eventually led to the unjustifiable imprisonment of the scapegoat (and otherwise shady character) Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on suddenly trumped-up enforcement of his parole violation. Rice’s well-publicized untruth, while helpful to Obama’s reelection effort, was not benign: It obscured the disturbing circumstances in which four brave Americans died.
Yet, to be fair, it is difficult to know whether Rice was a seasoned architect of that duplicity. Given her reputation as a useful naïf and loyal fall person, perhaps she was easily manipulated into going on five Sunday shows to mislead and distort.