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The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru - The New York Times
By DAVID SAMUELSMAY 5, 2016

Ben Rhodes walks through the room, a half-beat behind a woman in leopard-print heels. He is holding a phone to his ear, repeating his mantra: “I’m not important. You’re important.”....As the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Rhodes writes the president’s speeches, plans his trips abroad and runs communications strategy across the White House, tasks that, taken individually, give little sense of the importance of his role. ...Rhodes strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy speeches. ...Like Obama, Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press. His ability to navigate and shape this new environment makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies. ....Price turns to his computer and begins tapping away at the administration’s well-cultivated network of officials, talking heads, columnists and newspaper reporters, web jockeys and outside advocates who can tweet at critics and tweak their stories backed up by quotations from “senior White House officials” and “spokespeople.....Watching Rhodes work, I remember that he is still, chiefly, a writer, who is using a new set of tools — along with the traditional arts of narrative and spin — to create stories of great consequence on the biggest page imaginable. The narratives he frames, the voices of senior officials, the columnists and reporters whose work he skillfully shapes and ventriloquizes, and even the president’s own speeches and talking points, are the only dots of color in a much larger vision about who Americans are and where we are going that Rhodes and the president have been formulating together over the past seven years. When I asked Jon Favreau, Obama’s lead speechwriter in the 2008 campaign, and a close friend of Rhodes’s, whether he or Rhodes or the president had ever thought of their individual speeches and bits of policy making as part of some larger restructuring of the American narrative, he replied, “We saw that as our entire job.”...The job he was hired to do, namely to help the president of the United States communicate with the public, was changing in equally significant ways, thanks to the impact of digital technologies that people in Washington were just beginning to wrap their minds around.....
Ben_Rhodes  U.S.foreign_policy  Communicating_&_Connecting  policy_tools  White_House  writers  strategic_thinking  storytelling  narratives  speechwriters  Obama  PDB  messaging  Syria  Iraq  Middle_East  novelists 
may 2016 by jerryking
The new game | The Economist
Oct 17th 2015 |

America still has resources other powers lack. Foremost is its web of alliances, including NATO. Whereas Mr Obama sometimes behaves as if alliances are transactional, they need solid foundations. America’s military power is unmatched, but it is hindered by pork-barrel politics and automatic cuts mandated by Congress. These spring from the biggest brake on American leadership: dysfunctional politics in Washington. That is not just a poor advertisement for democracy; it also stymies America’s interest. In the new game it is something that the United States—and the world—can ill afford.
Asia_Pacific  China  gridlocked_politics  indispensable  influence  international_system  NATO  networks  network_density  network_power  political_power  Obama  Russia  South_China_Sea  strategic_alliances  superpowers  Syria  transactional_relationships  U.S.foreign_policy  politics  Vladimir_Putin 
october 2015 by jerryking
A moment to revisit our Canadian values - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE HILL
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Sep. 05, 2015
Lawrence_Hill  values  civics  Canadian  Syria 
september 2015 by jerryking
Contain and Amplify - NYTimes.com
MAY 27, 2015
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Thomas L. Friedman
Tom_Friedman  pluralism  Arab-Muslim_world  Middle_East  religious_tolerance  Syria  Yemen  Libya 
may 2015 by jerryking
Ten maps that explain Iran's power play in the Middle East - The Globe and Mail
PATRICK MARTIN, TONIA COWAN AND TRISH MCALASTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Apr. 15 2015,
geopolitics  Iran  Iraq  Lebanon  mapping  Middle_East  power_plays  Saudi_Arabia  Syria  Syrians  Yemen 
april 2015 by jerryking
With Islamic State, the chickens come home to roost - The Globe and Mail
LYSIANE GAGNON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Sep. 03 2014
al-Qaeda  ISIS  Iraq  Libya  Syria  unintended_consequences 
september 2014 by jerryking
The Shadow Commander - The New Yorker
SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 ISSUE

The Shadow Commander
Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria.

BY DEXTER FILKINS
Iran  Revolutionary_Guards  Qassim_Suleimani  Quds_Force  covert_operations  Syria  Middle_East 
august 2014 by jerryking
Yossi Klein Halevi: A Lesson From the Yom Kippur War for a Perilous Time - WSJ.com
October 3, 2013 | WSJ | By YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI.
A Lesson From the Yom Kippur War for a Perilous Time
Golda Meir didn't strike pre-emptively in 1973 because she was 'scared' of angering the White House.
security_&_intelligence  Yom_Kippur_War  pre-emption  Israel  lessons_learned  Iran  diplomacy  Mideast_Peace  IDF  Egypt  Syria  war  militaries 
october 2013 by jerryking
Syria has blown a region-wide political crater -
Sep. 07 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Doug Saunders

Istanbul — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday,
Doug_Saunders  Syria 
september 2013 by jerryking
Historian Margaret MacMillan on what the ‘war to end wars’ can teach us -
Sep. 07 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Sandra Martin.
Her new book, The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, will be out this fall – in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the war next August.

Why are we still haunted by the First World War?

Because we still don’t know what to make of it. We’re still horrified by the loss, by the sense that it may have all been a mistake, by the sheer waste, and by what happened afterward. Nothing much was settled, it helped to brutalize European society, to breed ideologies like fascism and Bolshevism, to prepare the way for the horrors that came in the 1920s and 1930s and the Second World War. It’s also a war that created the modern world. It had its greatest impact on Europe, of course, but it shaped Canada and Australia, helped to speed the rise of the United States to superpower status, and redrew the map of much of the world. It was a watershed that remains one of the greatest historical puzzles.
history  historians  WWI  root_cause  Margaret_MacMillan  Syria  books  '30s  WWII  turning_points 
september 2013 by jerryking
Without Water, Revolution - NYTimes.com
By

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: May 18, 2013
Syria  Tom_Friedman 
may 2013 by jerryking
Overseas Hot Spots Could Entangle Obama - WSJ.com
April 1, 2013, 1:26 p.m. ET

Overseas Hot Spots Could Entangle Obama

By GERALD F. SEIB
Like this columnist
U.S.foreign_policy  threats  security_&_intelligence  Iran  Syria  North_Korea  Obama  hotspots 
april 2013 by jerryking
U.S. Goals in Middle East Force Syria to a Crossroads - WSJ.com
April 28, 2003 | WSJ | By HUGH POPE | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Syria  Iraq 
july 2012 by jerryking
Syria hack signals evolution of cyber warfare
Mar. 16, 2012 | - The Globe and Mail | Peter Apps.
cyber_warfare  Syria  hackers 
march 2012 by jerryking
Israel's Secret War With Iran - WSJ.com
MAY 16, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by RONEN BERGMAN. Article
details recent successes of the Israeli intelligence community but
concludes that there remain limits to the utility of intelligence.
Israel  security_&_intelligence  Iran  Syria  Hezbollah  Hamas  Mossad  covert_operations 
may 2009 by jerryking

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