Ben Smith of the Politico landed an excellent interview with US-UN Ambassador Susan Rice. In it, Ambassador Rice talks about the administration’s decision to reverse Bush administration policy and join the UN Human Rights Council.
“We have a record of abject failure from having stayed out. We’ve been out for the duration and it has not gotten better. It’s arguably gotten worse,” she said. “We are much better placed to be fighting for the principles we believe in — protection of human rights universally, fighting against the anti-Israel crap and for meaningful action on issues that we care about and ought to be the top of the agenda, things like Zimbabwe, Sudan [and] Burma — by leading and lending our voice from within.”
A similar logic is at play with the anti-racism conference, scheduled for April 20 in Geneva, the successor to a 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, that featured sharp condemnations of Israel. The U.S. delegation pulled out of preparatory talks for the conference after negotiators produced a 63-page draft text that featured more condemnation of Israel and demands for reparations for the slave trade.
This kind of ideological openess and pragmatism is a welcome break from the past eight years. The haters will still hate, but all they offer is more of the same.