Susan Rice - next US Secretary of State?

By Sarah Pilchick, December 12, 2012
Follow The JC on Twitter
Susan Rice, pictured, is considered to be President Barack Obama’s top choice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (Photo: AP)

Susan Rice, pictured, is considered to be President Barack Obama’s top choice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (Photo: AP)

The front-runner to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State has proven herself to be a staunch friend of Israel.

Susan Rice, currently the US Ambassador to the United Nations, is considered by many pundits to be the president’s first choice to replace Ms Clinton. Her vote in the General Assembly earlier this month on Palestinian statehood was one of just nine “no” votes, the others coming from Israel, the Czech Republic, and several Pacific islands.

Ms Rice has won praise from the Jewish community for her pro-Israel votes in the UN. She notably voted against a Security Council resolution denouncing settlements despite railing against further construction as “illegitimate”. She also fought against measures based on the Goldstone Report, and under her ambassadorship, the US left the Durban review conference in 2009.

“Ambassador Rice is a staunch and eloquent promoter of American values within the world body,” said Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. “Under the ambassador’s leadership, the U.S. has helped to secure the strongest U.N. sanctions ever against Iran and has defended Israel's security and legitimacy in the international body most known for its bias against the Jewish state.”

Despite plaudits from Jewish leaders, she faces an uphill battle to secure the secretary of state post due to vociferous opposition from Senate Republicans.

Ms Rice has come under fire for her appearances on Sunday-morning television programmes after the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which four people died, including US Ambassador to Libya J Christopher Stephens.

At the time, she trumpeted the Obama administration’s line on the assault, although she has been accused by critics of purposefully presenting misinformation. The attack is now widely believed to have been a planned assault by Islamist militants.

Senator John McCain, the former presidential candidate, is one of Ms Rice’s most outspoken critics and has signalled his intention to move to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will vet and approve the eventual successor.

There are few known alternative candidates in the race to be Secretary of State. Senator John F Kerry, also a former candidate for president, has also been discussed as a possible choice. Smart money, however, is on Ms Rice.

Last updated: 11:50am, December 12 2012