Liz Cheney

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Elizabeth L. ("Liz") Cheney (1966-) is an attorney and U.S. Republican Party activist, who is the daughter of Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney. She is assisting her father with his memoirs, and is active in neoconservative groups such as Keep America Safe, and political warfare against the Obama Administration to defend the Bush-Cheney legacy. She is also a member of the International Board of Visitors at the University of Wyoming, and chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of War.

She is affiliated with her father's political approach, and appeals to the hard-line national security conservatism part of the Republican base.

Early career

From 1988 to 1993, she worked on aid programs for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union at the U.S. Department of State and at the Agency for International Development (AID). Her assignments included duty at the U.S. Embassy to Hungary, as interim AID to Poland, as Desk Officer for China, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State, and as Special Assistant to the Assistant AID Administrator for Asia and the Near East.

She then practiced law at White & Case LLP in the area of international project finance from 1996 to 1999. From 1999 to 2002 she served on assignment with the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, where she provided legal advice on investing in the Middle East and Central Asia.

For the 2000 and 2004 United States presidential elections, she managed vice presidential debate preparation.

George W. Bush Administration

In the first George W. Bush Administration, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in the U.S. State Department under Colin Powell from 2002 to 2004. She was responsible for the establishment of the $300 million Middle East Partnership Initiative to support political, economic and educational reform and the empowerment of women in the Middle East. Perceived as an agent of the Vice President, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff said, "She came across to me as ... pushing her weight around. She knew who her daddy was." [1]

She received praise, however, from Edward Walker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs at the end of the Clinton administration and former president of the Middle East Institute.

Liz is a little different, obviously, because of the name. But the name doesn't bother anybody I know, simply because she did her job ... She could have been a disaster, given her father, given the fact that she knew all the players, she could have run roughshod [over career Foreign Service officers.] But she didn't.[2]

In the second term, according to Michael Isikoff and Michael Hirsh of Newsweek, "she upset some more moderate political appointees by pressing hard to use government money for regime change in Syria and Iran. According to several former colleagues who would speak about her activities only on condition of anonymity, Cheney began acting more as an appendage of her father's office, at a time when administration policy was trending toward a more diplomatic approach." Robert Dreyfuss, at the American Prospect, reported "Liz Cheney, who exercises enormous power inside the State Department, has secured millions of dollars to support opposition elements in both countries, and she has met with Syria's version of Ahmed Chalabi, a discredited businessman from Virginia named Farid al-Ghadry."[3]

After leaving to give birth, she then joined the presidential primary campaign of Fred Thompson.

In a Washingon Post op-ed in 2007, she criticized Nancy Pelosi's suggestions for diplomatic engagement with Syria regarding the Middle East peace process, due to Syria's suspected involvement with assassinations in Lebanon. She called, instead, for the "(UN) Security Council [to] also hold Syria accountable for its ongoing violations of existing resolutions. The U.S. government should implement all remaining elements of the Syria Accountability Act and launch an aggressive effort to empower the Syrian opposition. European governments should demonstrate that they value justice over profit and impose financial and travel sanctions on Syria's leaders. [4]

Early Obama administration

After her father gave a 21 May 2009 speech criticizing the Obama Administration for rejecting the interrogation programs of the Bush Administration,[5] she appeared on 12 television interviews, in 10 days, as an analyst of his position.[6]

Keep America Safe

For more information, see: Keep America Safe.

When she announced the formation of Keep America Safe in October 2009, she described the motivation as "The policies being proposed by the Obama administration are so radical across the board,” Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you want the nation to be strong and so many steps this president is taking are making the nation weaker.”[7]

Writing for the Thinkprogress blog of the liberal Center for American Progress, Matt Duss described it as linked to the Foreign Policy Initiative, an "attempt to reboot and rebrand the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC)."[8] He suggested this group will "essentially function as the street-fighting arm of the more 'serious', policy-oriented FPI."

Its mission statement is phrased in political terms.

America’s interests are challenged by an authoritarian China, a resurgent Russia, and dictators in our own hemisphere who ally themselves with our adversaries. Amidst the great challenges to America’s security and prosperity, the current administration too often seems uncertain, wishful, irresolute, and unwilling to stand up for America, our allies and our interests...By turning away from the policies that have kept us safe, by treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, giving foreign terrorists the same rights as American citizens, launching investigations of CIA agents, cutting defense spending, breaking faith with our allies and attempting to appease our adversaries, the current administration is weakening the nation, and making it more difficult for us to defend our security and our interests.[9]

Politico said

But its spirit is very much the Cheneys’. The former vice president assumed a high profile role last spring publicly contesting the Obama administration’s move to bring its interrogation policy in line with international law – and defending his own legacy. More recently, he’s faded into the background as Liz Cheney, deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the Bush years, emerges as the most visible defender of that administration’s foreign policy and the most vocal critic of Obama’s departures from it.

Middle East

On 6 June 2010, she said, on ABC News, that "(Israel's enemies) want to destroy the state of Israel, and they are supported in that by the countries Iran, Syria[ and, now, it looks like Turkey as well...The prime minister of Turkey has stood up and said Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The Turks themselves have allied themselves with Iran and Syria." Referring to the Israeli raid on ships headed to the Gaza Strip, she said Turkey, usually considered a key U.S. ally, has decided against the United States.[10]

Future directions

Isikoff and Hirsh quoted Republican strategist Vin Weber as saying that she appeals to the

"Sarah Palin constituency," but she has more intellectual credibility. "Nobody says about Liz" what they do about Palin, he says. Whether any of this is good for the Republican Party is anybody's guess. But at least a few moderate Republicans note—with some trepidation—that Palin may have a rival, and Dick Cheney may have an heir.[1]