Well. This is interesting. Fox News launched a full-scale assault on Susan Rice this morning, calling for her to be fired as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Former Bushie Richard Grenell led the charge on Megyn Kelly's show this morning after posting an op-ed on the Fox News website calling for her to step down.
As far as I can tell, Grenell's reasons are as follows:
- She isn't strong enough.
- She isn't effective enough.
- She didn't speak out against the violence in Syria soon enough.
- She (allegedly) skipped Security Council meetings when "Israel needed defending."
- She didn't show up at first two UN Security Council meetings "on the unfolding Arab revolution."
- She hasn't passed enough resolutions on Iran.
All of this seems to be a proxy war on President Obama over differences of opinion between the neocons and the President on the subject of Iran. Fox News has been a key player in the "stoke fears over Iran" story unfolding this year, spending a minimum of an hour per day on it across daytime and nighttime TV. Back in November, Grenell launched this shot over the bow, via the Wall Street Journal:
Two views are emerging in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear weapons. While one camp believes the Iranians are close to obtaining nuclear weapons, the other side believes they haven't mastered the technology and that time still remains to work out a diplomatic, non-military solution.
The Obama team falls in the second camp. It is calling for more diplomacy and more international pressure—as if U.S. diplomats haven't tried to convince Iran or its neighbors that its pursuit of a nuclear weapon is not a good idea.
And that's what's so dangerous about the president's spin. His administration professes that the world is unified in pressuring Iran, but what the international community is really unified about is doing nothing.
The pronouncements from the White House that unity from the international community is its priority are naïve and treacherous excuse-making. And if consensus is the mandate, then the Obama team has already failed that test with the divided-support for their only resolution. More importantly, the Russians and the Chinese, with their complaints about another round of sanctions, have scared off the Obama team from calling for a vote on another resolution.
Mr. Obama's gamble that we have time before Iran gets a nuclear weapon is perilous. Those calling for more pressure on Russia and China to comply with current sanctions miss the reality of Iran's pursuit and the weakness of the Obama team. If Russia and China can vote for multiple Iran sanctions resolutions but ignore them—and then resist subsequent demands to comply with previous resolutions or produce new ones—then giving them more time to realize the errors of their ways is foolish.
Grenell's opinion, short version: It is a sign of weakness to use diplomatic pressure and negotiations to deal with the nuclear threat from Iran. Which of course begs the question: What would Grenell recommend? Oh, wait. Grenell doesn't have any recommendations, and his service under the prior four UN Ambassadors (ending with John Bolton), was limited to communications. In other words, spin.
So what heinous sin has Susan Rice committed, exactly? Telling Assad his days are numbered? Or is it condemning neocons' BFFs Russia and China for vetoing a UN resolution calling for Assad to step down? Or, is it that he doesn't feel the Obama administration has looked after US interests in Syria to his satisfaction?
Here is what Grenell wishes Rice would do:
But why not push our friends toward reform and our enemies toward regime change? White House and State Department officials should be able to have adult conversations with our allies that include multifaceted approaches to the policies we disagree with. Certainly U.S. allies that receive vast amounts of US taxpayer dollars are able to accept our aid but stand strongly against some of our policies (Pakistan comes to mind).
And he has specific friends and enemies in mind, too:
If we want to pressure Iran to give up its illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons then we better find enough resolve to support the overthrow of Iran's closest ally, Syria.
In Grenell's view, the only worthwhile strategy is a scorched-earth strategy, whether it's Susan Rice or Iran. Perhaps there is a different way, but for now, Fox News has embraced Grenell's strategies wholeheartedly, whether Iran or the Obama administration.
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