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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rice slams Security Council inaction on Syria

Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice slammed the UN Security Council for inaction on Syria during her farewell speech on Tuesday.
"The Council's inaction on Syria is a moral and strategic disgrace that history will judge harshly," Rice chided the UN.
She also reasserted America's past and continued support for Israel. "We've forcefully opposed unbalanced and biased actions against Israel across the UN system, standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel on principle - regardless of whether such actions were popular in these halls."


"I particularly regret that the Security Council has failed to act decisively while more than 90,000 Syrians have been killed and millions more displaced," she said.
However while Rice was critical of the world's lack of action regarding the Syrian crisis, she deflected blame from the United States.
"The crucial issue of Syria, I think, is a stain on this body and something that I will forever regret, even thought I don't believe that outcome is a product of the action of the United States or its closest partners," Rice said.
Instead of slamming the Security Council - or seeking its approval - the Obama administration should have acted on Syria long before the opposition turned Islamist and it became harmful to do so.

There's a lot I don't like about Franklin Roosevelt that came out over the years with respect to his inaction on stopping the Holocaust, but I cannot imagine him - or any other American President before Obama - waiting for a Security Council approval before acting. What if Roosevelt had refused to act on the European front during World War II without the UN's approval (it would have been the League of Nations then) and Russia kept vetoing every attempt to approve any action. Would Roosevelt have stood by? (Churchill clearly would not have, but that's a separate issue).

The Security Council is what it is and it's unlikely to change. Obama is the President of the 'world's only superpower' and he doesn't need UN approval to do anything.

Admittedly, the blame for this goes back to George H.W. Bush ("Bush I" or "Bush the father"), who refused to act on Iraq's invasion of Kuwait until he got an 'international coalition' (the assembly of which became a holy grail) behind him.

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