Politico Op-ed: Susan Rice in Africa

From Enough blogs Fri Dec 7 2012, 11:44:16

Editor's Note: This opinion piece was written in Prendergast's personal capacity, not on behalf of the Enough Project, and originally appeared on Politico.com.

One of the usual victims in the politics of personal assassination is the truth. This phenomenon holds in the current extrajudicial "trial" of Susan Rice. Her record is being examined with a microscope and a telescope, at times refracting the light so completely that original facts become completely obscured. Such is the case with much of the examination of Ambassador Rice's record on Africa, particularly when she was the Clinton administration's lead diplomat toward that continent.

I worked in the Clinton White House and Albright State Department during President Clinton's second term. I spent a great deal of my time working on peace processes in Africa's hottest war zones. With that history, I can say from personal experience that the idea that Susan Rice was more of an administration loyalist than a consummate diplomat is preposterous.

When I first set foot in the White House at the end of 1996, with Rice as Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council, I found her leading a dynamic policy process that sought to redefine America's relationship with Africa in a way that a lifelong Africanist like me didn't think was possible. Rice worked tirelessly to build new opportunities for two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa that led to more growth and jobs on both sides of the ocean. She helped expand a truly bipartisan collection of influential senators and House members who prioritized partnering with Africa over patronizing it.

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