To date, Team Obama’s response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea has been criminally lame. But now Susan Rice reportedly wants to take affirmative action.
Unfortunately, the affirmative action she contemplates is affirmative action in the legal sense — affirmative action on behalf of women.
The post of U.S. ambassador to Russia has been vacant for three weeks. Al Kamen of the Washington Post reports “we’re hearing that national security adviser Susan Rice would like to place a woman in Moscow.”
If true, this report is a perfect demonstration of Team Obama’s lack of seriousness. While Eastern Europe worries about the emergence of a Russian empire, Susan Rice worries about doling out jobs to women.
It may be, of course, that the best candidate for brutally difficult job of “our man in Moscow” is a woman. But to inject consideration of gender into the selection process — which is what I take Kamen to be reporting — is to reduce the odds of selecting the best candidate.
It could be worse, though. Last week it was rumored that White House press secretary Jay Carney, who once worked in Moscow for Time Magazine, wanted the job. In what universe does unsuccessful sparring with the White House press corps qualify someone to spar with the Russian bear?
Still, I concede that it probably doesn’t make much difference who becomes the new ambassador to Russia. Obama, assisted by John Kerry and Susan Rice, will set our Russia policy. And they will set it with the same lack of seriousness that lends plausibility to reports that Rice wants to make an affirmative action pick for the post of ambassador.