US Opinion and Commentary

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Ben Rhodes’ Turn in Washington’s Spin Cycle

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-4)
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Ben Rhodes was a no-show at a congressional hearing that was ostensibly about him.
Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communications, is described in a controversial New York Times Magazine profile of him as “the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy” aside from President Obama.
The passages drawing the most attention center on the nuclear deal with Iran. The profile reveals that the White House spun a narrative that the deal came about in 2013, when “moderates” came to power in Iran when in fact, “the most meaningful part of the negotiations” took place in 2012, months before the election of President Hassan Rouhani.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee criticized Rhodes for how he managed the White House campaign to sell the deal to Congress and the media. Committee Democrats pointed out the Bush White House engineered a similar campaign about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In a letter to President Barack Obama, three U.S. senators called for him to fire Rhodes.
When voters select a presidential candidate on election day, they’re not necessarily thinking about the hundreds of people who will fill key advisory positions behind that candidate. And when the spotlight catches one of those generally anonymous presidential loyalists, it begins one of Washington’s favorite parlor games: Is the President being well served?
Ben Rhodes skipped the invitation to appear before the Congressional committee, but he cannot avoid the political spotlight.

Ben Rhodes: The Sycophantic Political Operative Shaping Obama’s Foreign Policy

Posted May 9th, 2016 at 12:13 pm (UTC-4)
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Samuels wrote that Rhodes is … “the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from POTUS himself.” He also notes that Rhodes’s “lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations … is still startling.”

How We Advocated for the Iran Deal

Posted May 9th, 2016 at 9:17 am (UTC-4)
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We pursued several diplomatic efforts with Iran during the President’s first term, and the fact that there were discreet channels of communication established with Iran in 2012 is something that we confirmed publicly. However, we did not have any serious prospect of reaching a nuclear deal until after the election of Hasan Rouhani in 2013.