Following the departure of Tom Donilon as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, it’s expected that Susan Rice will be formally named to the post at 2PM EDT later today. Rice who is presently the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations will step down and is likely to be succeeded by Samantha Power, a former special assistant to the president on the National Security Council.
Nominated is perhaps the better word than succeeded given that Ms. Power will face Senate confirmation hearings, a process recently characterized as “very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive,” by Ms. Rice. It’s that process that prevented President Obama from nominating her for the Secretary of State position vacated by Hillary Clinton presumably to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. That position was of course filled by John Kerry who is presently attending the OAS (Organization of American States) Summit about six blocks down the street from where this story is being filed in Antigua, Guatemala.
Opposition to Susan Rice:
Unlike the Secretary of State job that Republicans insisted they would block in the nomination hearings given her Sunday morning talk show comments following the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi, Rice will take up the position of national security adviser without confirmation. Opposition to Ms. Rice for the Secretary of State job was led by John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The former said today that, “Obviously I disagree [with Obama’s] appointment of Susan Rice as Nat’l Security Adviser, but I’ll make every effort to work [with] her on [important] issues,”
While that may not sound likely at first read, Sen. McCain has little choice in the matter if wishes to have a foreign policy voice in the Obama administration. Rice is more likely to face opposition from those within the administration and her own party in the trio of aging white male ex-senators — Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State Kerry.
By scapegoating Ms. Rice following the Benghazi attack, Senate Republicans have essentially given Ms. Rice more power that she would have had she become the Secretary of State. By taking this role, she will for all intents and purposes, become the boss of the man confirmed for the position.
The appointment of Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations should become a story to watch as the woman is not without controversy having once referred to Hillary Clinton as a “monster” when she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both women are considered to be liberal interventionists whose views on American involvement in Syria remains, for the most part, unknown.