Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, gave as good as she got on a popular American TV comedy show (August 15) answering questions both serious and off-the wall posed by host Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.

 Ambassador Rice got an early laugh when she explained that the September UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders was a bit like a sideshow. “Sometimes it feels a little bit like the ‘Star Wars’ bar scene where some of the most colorful dictators of the world will come and give their speeches.”

 After asking a few innocuous questions, Colbert turned to the audience, “Don’t worry, I’m going to nail her.” After the applause subsided he phrased the question he knew was on many American minds, “Why are you willing to surrender the sovereignty of the United to these foreign governments who get to come in and say what we can or cannot do?”

 Rice calmly explained that the UN Security Council can’t even issue a press statement without US agreement. “They don’t tax us. They don’t take away our guns…We get to decide what we do…All this stuff about sovereignty is one big myth.”  The reference to guns referred to a recent warning from the US gun lobby about an alleged UN effort to usurp American’s right to bear arms.

 Rice, like other officials from the Obama administration, has agreed to appear on popular talk shows in order to speak to Americans who may not follow domestic or international politics very closely and who feel that global governance is a threat to US sovereignty.

 In a more serious vein, Rice explained that “the UN is the one place on earth, despite its many flaws, where we can marshal the support and share the cost” of protecting the United States.  “Many of the threats we face – terrorism, proliferation, genocide, climate change - are not the kind of things that one country, even one as powerful as our own, can solve, by itself. So we need cooperation. We need countries working together.”