President-elect Obama's announcement of Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador is welcomed news. Even more welcome is the re-elevation of the U.N. Ambassador to a cabinet level position, as it was in the Clinton administration. This is a clear signal that the Obama administration intends to seriously engage with the United Nations. Rice, who is knowledgeable and passionate about Darfur and other conflicts, will be a strong advocate for assertive U.S. multilateral engagement.
During today's annoucement Obama stressed that Rice will send a "message that our commitment to multilateral action must be coupled with a commitment to reform. We need the UN to be more effective as a venue for collective action -- against terror and proliferation; climate change and genocide; poverty and disease." I believe she will be able to, in a postive way, get this job done. Its the task of the decade.
There have been many positive statements about the appointment made today, but I particularly appreciated U.N. Foundation president Tim Wirth's:
"President-elect Barack Obama's selection of Susan Rice as the next Ambassador to the United Nations, and his decision to once make this critical posting a cabinet-level appointment, sends an unambiguous signal to the world that the United States intends to reengage with the United Nations at the highest levels. Ms. Rice understands the importance of fostering international cooperation as a means of tackling the great global challenges we face, including climate change, poverty, nuclear proliferation and terrorism."