Rice Calls Brutal Oil-Rich Dictator a ‘Good Friend’

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, two weeks ago, lamenting how energy politics ‘warp’ foreign policy:

“I can tell you that nothing has really taken me aback more as secretary of state than the way that the politics of energy is — I will use the word ‘warping’ — diplomacy around the world,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 5.

Condoleezza Rice, last week, sharing a photo-op with Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Nguema is “one of the most brutal, most corrupt and unreconstructed dictators in the world”; he also controls the third-largest oil reserves in Africa:

The Washington Post noted this morning, “The meeting with Mr. Obiang was presumably a reward for his hospitable treatment of U.S. oil firms, though we cannot be sure since the State Department declined our invitation to comment.”

Unfortunately, Rice’s backslapping with a vicious dictator is nothing new:

In 2003, the Bush administration reopened the embassy [in Equatorial Guinea], a move sharply criticized by human rights groups as a favor to the oil companies and to Obiang. Frank Ruddy, U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea in the mid-1980s, decries current U.S. policy, saying that Bush administration officials are “big cheerleaders for the government — and it’s an awful government.”

Read more in this excellent Mother Jones profile.