Foreign Policy Archives -

Implications of Pro-War Susan Rice as VP Nominee


Various media outlets are reporting that former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice is on Joe Biden’s “short list” to be his running mate.

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He said today: “Should Susan Rice be chosen as Biden’s running mate, it would serve as yet another signal that the likely next Democratic administration would embrace a foreign policy similar to that of Bush and Cheney. Rice’s decision to repeat the lies of the Bush administration regarding the supposed threat from Iraq in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of that oil-rich country in order to undermine the anti-war movement, her support for autocratic Middle Eastern and African leaders, her attacks against the United Nations, her support for the Israeli occupation, and her defense of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law will result in further alienating the progressive Democratic base from the national ticket. Already troubled over Biden’s hawkish foreign policy views, his lies about Iraq, and his successful insistence on including center-right foreign policy planks in the Democratic platform, his possible choice of a vice-president with a record of stating demonstrable falsehoods to defend actions by the United States and its allies that violate international norms could end up suppressing turnout and enhance the appeal of leftist third parties.”

In 2013, Zunes wrote the piece “Troubling Implications of Susan Rice’s Appointment as National Security Adviser,” noting that during the buildup to the Iraq invasion, she rose to the Bush administration’s “defense by insisting that, ‘It’s clear that Iraq poses a major threat.’ This claim came despite the fact that Iraq had disarmed itself of its chemical and biological weapons and eliminated its nuclear program at least eight years earlier. Moreover, despite the success of the UN’s disarmament program, Rice asserted that Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that’s the path we’re on.'” [Audio and video clips of Rice’s statements cited by Zunes are here and here.]

Obama, Saudi Arabia and “Reactionary Violence”


President Obama begins his visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday.

TOBY C. JONES, tobycjones at, @tobycraigjones
Jones is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University and author of the book Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia. He said today: “The U.S. must rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia. While many in Washington believe that our long-standing partners in Riyadh are the least worst option in the Middle East, the reality is that the kingdom is a dangerous and destabilizing actor. Saudi Arabia is a violent place, with an oppressive regime, that has doggedly pursued the path of counter-revolution since 2011. It seeks not stability nor security for residents across the Middle East. Rather, Saudi leaders seek domination and are supporting reactionary violence in places like Egypt, Bahrain and Syria to help them achieve it.”

ALI AL-AHMED, via Chidinma Zik-Ikeorha, externalaffairs at, @AliAlAhmed_en
Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, al-Ahmed said today: “Obama should end the current U.S. policy of ignoring the rights and aspirations of the Arab people in the Arabian Peninsula. The U.S. has no credibility on human rights without publicly confronting the Saudi monarchy on its dire human rights record and its destruction of the Arab people’s desire for freedom and progress.”

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad at, @vijayprashad
Edward Said chair at American University in Beirut, Prashad is co-editor of Dispatches from the Arab Spring. He said today: “Obama is going to Saudi Arabia because the Sultans of Arabia have gone at each other’s throats. The Qatar-KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] feud has damaged the fragile unity built up since 1979 with the creation of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and the coordination of their policy over the past three decades. Qatari gas gives the little emirate independence, which allowed it to become the patron of the Muslim Brotherhood — a group that the KSA does not support. Disputes between these countries predates the war in Syria and the Arab Spring. Some of it has to do with KSA’s very strong position against Iran which is not shared on the peninsula. Will the U.S. be able to patch things up? Unlikely. The transition in Qatar did not solve the KSA’s grouse, and nor will Obama’s visit.”