Bruce Dixon on Susan Rice, Africa, and the Black leadership elite
KPFA Evening News, 01.06.2012
Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor of the Black Agenda Report, and author of "Did Bloody Hands, Not Black Womanhood Sink Susan Rice Nomination?," spoke to KPFA about UN Ambassador Susan Rice's withdrawal from consideration to become President Obama's next Secretary of State.
KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration to become President Obama's next Secretary of State two days after the December U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the hearing the Obama Administration was on the defensive about its relationship with Rwanda and about Ambassador Rice's defense of Rwanda in the UN Security Council. President Obama then nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is reported to be preparing for his Senate confirmation hearing. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor of the Black Agenda Report, and author of the essay,"Did Bloody Hands, Not Black Womanhood Sink Susan Rice Nomination?"
KPFA: Bruce Dixon, do you think the criticism of Susan Rice's history with the U.S. in Rwanda and Congo ultimately caused her to withdraw her name from consideration?
Bruce Dixon: Well, we won’t know what the exact cause is because they’re not gonna tell us. But I do think that parrt of the equation is Susan Rice’s bloody hands in the Congo. The Congo has seen the death of six or seven million people since about 1996, and Susan Rice has been up to her elbows in that bloodshed, as Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Clinton Administration, and then as a private lobbyist for the Rwandan government, and now has been covering up for some of the perpetrators of the Congolese, and perhaps Rwandan Genocide, as UN Ambassador.
KPFA: John Kerry doesn't have Susan Rice's history in Rwanda and Congo, but he’s associated with the same institutions, the same people. Do you have any reason to believe that the outcomes will actually be any different?
Bruce Dixon: Well, as far as policy outcomes, perhaps not, but the fig leaf of deniability and distance is important to the empire for publicity reasons. It’s true that John Kerry’s hands are equally bloody, but John Kerry hasn’t been a hands on guy like Susan Rice has. Susan Rice has been the gangster on point for two administrations and, again, as a private lobbyist. Susan Rice has traveled to Ethiopia as recently as the last couple of months, where she delivered a eulogy at the funeral of the Ethiopian strongman, citing his virtue as a family man and as a visionary.
John Kerry, by comparison, has been sitting up there on Mount Olympus, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, relatively distant from some of this stuff.
Like I said, since the mid-1990s, six or seven million Congolese have died. Two million Congolese women have been raped. And still the focus of Susan Rice’s defenders is on her Black womanhood. What about the two million raped Congolese women? What about them? Why isn’t that as important as Susan Rice’s womanhood?
KPFA: Are you relieved, at least, that Susan Rice will not follow Condolezza Rice, into such a prominent position within the Black leadership elite that you and Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford are so critical of?
Bruce Dixon: Well, now that you mention it, I guess we should be relieved, but this class of Black misleaders is definitely going to be with us for a long while. They’re going to perpetuate themselves. The Under-Secretary of State, now, for African Affairs, is a guy named Johnnie Carson, who’s a Black man. One of the last two generals in charge of AFRICOM is a Black general, so there’s gonna be plenty more to step in the shoes of Susan Rice and Condolezza Rice and all the rest of them. Even the Bush Administration had a Black Under-Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Fraser.
KPFA: The Bush Administration had the most racially diverse staff of any administration in history.
Bruce Dixon: Yeah, well that’s not hard to do. And that kind of goes to show you that the ruling class and empire does believe in diversity. But diversity does not mean justice. Diversity does not mean equity. And diversity does not mean peace.
KPFA: And that was Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor of the Black Agenda Report. For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.