Susan Rice: U.S. Not ‘Impotent’

Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the United States is not “impotent” — but that it’s also not powerless as violent anti-U.S. protests transpire in the Middle East.

Her exchange with ABC’s Jake Tapper:

TAPPER:  Look at this map, if you would.  There have been protests around the world over the last several days.  And President Obama pledged to repair America’s relationships with the Muslim world.  Why does the U.S. seem so impotent?  And why is the U.S. even less popular today in some of these Muslim and Arab countries than it was four years ago?

RICE:  Jake, we’re not impotent.  We’re not even less popular, to challenge that assessment.  I don’t know on what basis you make that judgment.  But let me — let me point…

TAPPER:  It just seems that the U.S. government is powerless as this — as this maelstrom erupts.

RICE:  It’s actually the opposite.  First of all, let’s be clear about what transpired here.  What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region… 

TAPPER:  Tunisia, Khartoum…

RICE:  … was a result — a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.  We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is — that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms.

But let’s look at what’s happened.  It’s quite the opposite of being impotent.  We have worked with the governments in Egypt.  President Obama picked up the phone and talked to President Morsi in Egypt.  And as soon as he did that, the security provided to our personnel in our embassies dramatically increased. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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