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Despite the horrible treatment of women in the thugocracy of Iran, last week the United Nations chose that country to have a leadership role on the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women. This was just another example of a U.N. body following an Orwellian strategy of stating their purpose as one thing, then proceeding to do the total opposite. 

While not surprised at the UN’s actions, there were many questions that arose about the United States and the fact that our UN delegation did not object to Iran’s nomination to the Commission on the Status of Women.

High off its success in keeping Iran from joining the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, the U.S. appears to have missed its chance to object to Iran’s selection to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, which was affirmed during a so-called U.N. vote this week.

No gesture of disapproval came during an acclamation vote affirming the Islamic nation’s appointment to the 45-nation group.

A senior official with the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told that “there is no opportunity” to object. “That is not how the procedure works,” the official said.

The official said that the United States was powerless to stop the selection because Iran faced no competition — a scenario that Iran took advantage of in the 2005 election too.

That may be the case, but there is much more to the story, you see our UN Ambassador Susan Rice wasn’t at the UN that day. One would think that our UN Ambassador would want to take the opportunity to point out the Iranian regimes horrible record toward women. But Rice is rarely at the UN, or even in New York for that matter. You see, Rice isn’t a big fan of some of the duties of the UN Ambassador, so she treats the position as a no-show job.

Richard Grenell served as the spokesman for the last four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, he knows what it takes to do a good job as UN Ambassador, in today’s NRO Grenell explains that she is doing an awful job.

I spent eight years at the U.N., so I understand that U.S. ambassadors have a lot of issues to cover. There is no way to expect one ambassador to cover all of the U.S. government’s priority issues, and certainly there are a plethora of U.N. meetings that drag on, with an unlimited number of speakers and no time limits. I also understand the unique ways of the U.N. system and the regional voting blocs that control elections. But an American ambassador must be able to be nimble and spontaneous. The ambassador’s staff must monitor situations simultaneously and use the ambassador’s time well, to maximize attention and impact. If the votes are stacked against the U.S. and we are going to lose an election, then, for heaven’s sake, stand up and say something! Bring some shame on the countries that vote for the violators by drawing attention to the situation. American silence sends a very loud message and encourages the status quo. 

But U.S. mission staff have confirmed that Rice wasn’t at the U.N. and therefore wasn’t able to so much as drop by the committee-elections meeting that was taking place, because she wasn’t attending any formal U.N. meetings that day. Even after all the votes were counted and Iran was elected to four committee assignments, Rice didn’t speak out to highlight the hypocrisy of electing a country like Iran to a committee designed to promote women’s rights — because she wasn’t around. 

For Rice, this silence is becoming a pattern. She is seldom in New York City and spends even less time at the U.N. Rice has not conducted the hard negotiations nor done the sometimes unpopular and messy work of engaging the U.N. or speaking up when others are silent. Rice has been routinely unavailable to reporters, absent from daily U.N. meetings, and all too often silent when the American people needed a strong voice to speak out on an important issue. From Iran to Zimbabwe to Sudan to Cuba, Rice consistently stays silent. It’s no wonder other countries at the U.N. think the Obama administration is so easy to work with. And it also explains why we haven’t had one single Security Council resolution on Iran since Rice arrived. In a roughly two-year period, the Bush administration passed a total of five Iran resolutions, three of which contained increased sanctions and were passed unanimously (one sanctions resolution passed 14 to 1, with Indonesia voting no). The excuse that Rice is building relationships quietly or has a different type of style is lame. We don’t need to win popularity contests, we need action and votes and leadership. In Rice’s case, we just need her to start showing up for meetings and using her microphone. It’s time for Rice to step up and represent American interests at the U.N. or step aside and cede the role to someone who will show up for the fight.

A UN Ambassador who doesn’t like to job of being UN Ambassador that’s change you can believe in.

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