In a major shakeup of President Obama’s foreign-policy inner circle, Tom Donilon, the national security adviser, is resigning and will be replaced by Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials said on Tuesday. [New York Times]
BREAKING this morning is news that two liberal interventionist females will be announced today by President Obama, both joining his national security team. Susan Rice, the bain of Republican existence on Benghazi, will take her place as the President’s national security advisor, a position that doesn’t require confirmation, which she would not get. Samantha Power will be nominated for U.N. Ambassador, the position Susan Rice now holds.
Both Susan Rice and Samantha Power were advocates for the intervention in Libya, which was part of what convinced then Secretary Hillary Clinton to become an advocate for the bombing.
Samantha Power got into trouble in the 2007-2008 primary season for calling Clinton a “monster,” but that is very old news and stale water under a very sturdy bridge. Power’s posts on WhiteHouse.gov will give you an idea of who she is.
She is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (2002) and Chasing the Flame: Sergio Viera de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008), the basis for the award-winning HBO documentary, “Sergio.” She is also the recent editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). Power has served as a columnist at Time Magazine and, in her journalism, has reported from such places as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, and contributed regularly to the New Yorker Magazine, the New York Review of Books, and the New Republic.
Susan Rice is very close to President Obama, someone he trusts. She’s not had a very good run as U.N. Ambassador, but is smart, capable, but, unfortunately, a liberal interventionist in thinking.
If you look at Samantha Power’s resume, there are few people more suited for the job of U.N. ambassador. She, too, believes in military power more than I think is wise, and is not part of the new thinking of economic development and private – public partnerships to solve diplomatic challenges.
As we’ve seen over the years he’s been in office, whatever Barack Obama’s anti war Iraq speech meant to his candidacy, it is a far memory to the way he’s prosecuted his commander in chief duties. A better tell of the kind of president he would be was his promise during the 2008 primary debates that he would cross a country’s sovereign borders to kill Osama bin Laden.
President Obama has performed the job of commander in chief like former President Bill Clinton would have done, minus the focus Clinton had on Middle East peace and the capital he spent to achieve it. A conservative, middle of the road, anti progressive, utilizing deference to Congress instead of pushing his own position, Obama’s interventionist penchant has ruled, his drone policy a signature legacy.
With Susan Rice in the White House, what President Obama decides to do on Syria is the most important decision in the short-term. If using the Libya model, with adjustments, we’ll have yet another abysmal move towards old style national security that simply isn’t working.
President Obama drives his own national security policy. So if you want to know how much Samantha Power and Susan Rice will change what’s been policy since he arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I’d say it’s business as usual, just with new faces.