Do Rice and Power signal a new foreign policy?

Reuters

Article Highlights

  • A little engagement, a little passion from both Susan Rice and Samantha Power would be more than welcome. But it’s not likely.

    Tweet This

This morning, the Washington Post opinion page leads with a wistful editorial, asking “Could Rice’s appointment signal a more activist US foreign policy?” Certainly, we could use one. Look around the world: the Middle East is in flames, Egypt is in dire economic and political trouble, Yemen is experiencing crippling military unrest, and al Qaeda is making a major comeback across the region and into Africa. Europe is a slow-mo economic crisis, Russia is suffering from Putin’s Soviet recidivism, and in Asia, China is encroaching on its neighbors. Those who care about national security know I’ve barely touched on the crises that are being mismanaged, ignored, or exacerbated around the world under Barack Obama. So a little engagement, a little passion, a little principle, a little sharp-elbowed behavior from both NatSecAdviser-designate Susan Rice and her likely successor at the United Nations, Samantha Power, would be more than welcome. But it’s not likely.

It’s true that Susan Rice brings a different style than incumbent NSA Tom Donilon to the White House. But we haven’t seen much of what admirers and discreet detractors call her combative persona at the UN. Possibly her staff doesn’t like her, maybe even her fellow ambassadors will be glad to see her go. But on matters of policy, she’s been Obama’s handmaiden. Not that she shouldn’t be; he’s the boss. But those who nurture hopes like the WaPo editorial board are sure to be disappointed. Word was that it was Rice, Power, and former SecState Hillary Clinton who urged Obama into supporting NATO’s Libya operations. But after Benghazi, can you imagine any of them are going to tread that ground again?

In addition, there’s something about the character of this president and his administration that is different from others. Where some presidencies have been the sum of their parts — a leader who relies upon a seasoned group of like-minded (or even rivalrous) counsels — this has most assuredly not been one. Rather, it has been an administration, even more clearly in this second term, that is about the president as Pasha and his few viziers. Thus is it that Ben Rhodes and Valerie Jarrett are the architects of national security policy, of the “end” to the war on terror, and more largely of the retreat from American international leadership. Those who disagree with this vision have seen themselves out of the president’s orbit, out of his favor, and irrelevant. Don’t ask me, ask any internationalist Democrat. At the end of the day, he is a different leader from those who preceded him, and who believed more in country than in self. Barack Obama is a man who believes the presidency can help him do great things for America. And Rice and Power — as I’m sure they’ve already been told — will get with that program or get out.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.