The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is the face of America at the United Nations General Assembly. The United States has a permanent position in the United Nations General Assembly; therefore this is an incredibly important role in international diplomacy.
Former United States Ambassadors to the United Nations have been prominent U.S. politicians and diplomats. Past United States Ambassadors to the United Nations include Henry Cabot Lodge, Adlai Stevenson, George H. W. Bush, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Madeleine Albright, and Bill Richardson. In the Clinton administration, the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations was a cabinet level position; it is the same way under Obama’s administration as well; it was not a cabinet position under George W. Bush. The incumbent United States Ambassador to the United Nations under Obama’s administration is Susan Rice. Prior to being the United States Ambassador to the United Nations she was the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Adviser to President Clinton on national security, and the Foreign Policy Advisor to the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and Barack Obama.
In this position, Susan Rice will be one of the most well known faces in Obama’s administration to the outside world. As the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will be a strong and forceful advocate of stronger action. She has been especially vocal about the crisis in Darfur, and it is on her agenda to stop the killings. This is an especially delicate position for Susan Rice, after the Bush administration left United States relations with the UN somewhat tense. Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton under the Bush administration did not offer a comment about Obama’s selection but did voice some concern that it was going to be a cabinet level position. According to John Bolton, it will overstate the importance the United Nations should have on United State foreign policy.
It really must be reiterated that during this time, the selection of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations is quite integral. The Bush administration left a slightly sour taste in their mouth with disregard for many recommendations. One of the most well known United States Ambassadors to the United Nations under the Bush administration was John Bolton and as mentioned in the quote above his views towards to United Nations are not very positive. In fact, John Bolton has been a staunch critic of the United Nations for a large part of his career. His exact words are: “There is no such thing as the United Nations, There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.” Naturally, those views don’t go very far in an international body where countries are all considered equal. Therefore, selecting the United States Ambassador to the United Nations is a very important decision and it is important that the new representative is somebody who is willing to work with the United Nations to reach a general consensus instead of viewing America as the sole power. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is a very critical role as it represents America to the international community. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is essentially our ambassador to the world in many ways, therefore one cannot underestimate the value of this decision and the responsibility that Susan Rice has.