Susan Rice is Asia’s worst nightmare

But she is not just persona non grata to Republicans. Reporting on her choice position in the wrangling over a Biden cabinet has stirred up a fury on the far left. Anti-war activists remember that Rice was a prime instigator of America’s catastrophic intervention in Libya, and are outraged that one of the principal authors of this disaster could today be the front-running candidate for any nomination.

But Rice’s problems extend far past her role in America’s Libyan calamities. This is an age where American diplomacy and international geopolitical maneuver is centered on what an older generation called the Far East—and Rice’s record on Asia is execrable. This record, and the appalling reputation it has given her in the region, should have long ago disqualified her from ever being considered as a proper selection for America’s chief diplomat.

The disgust Rice generates in Asian diplomatic circles was expressed with unusual frankness earlier this year by former senior Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan. In response to rumors that Rice was a leading candidate in Biden’s search for a running mate, the former diplomat waxed undiplomatic: “Susan Rice would be a disaster. She has very little interest in Asia, no stomach for competition, and thinks of foreign policy as humanitarian intervention. … [with Rice at the helm] we will look back on Trump with nostalgia.”