Is the Obama Administration Really So Good at Foreign Policy Messaging?

Is the Obama Administration Really So Good at Foreign Policy Messaging?
Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes at the White House, Washington, Feb. 16, 2016 (AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

A profile in The New York Times Magazine of Ben Rhodes, the Obama administration’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, has been the focus of attention in U.S. foreign policy and media circles since it appeared last week. There’s a lot of ground to cover in giving the article a critical reading, and little of it reflects positively on the author, David Samuels—or on the Obama administration, if not quite for the reasons Samuels claims.

In a nutshell, Samuels uses what is ostensibly a profile of Rhodes, who is President Barack Obama’s speechwriter as well as one of his closest foreign policy advisers, to grind a few axes over the Iran nuclear deal.

In Samuels’ telling, Rhodes is “the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives” and a “more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies.”

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to WPR’s fully searchable library of 16,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news and analysis from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • The Weekly Wrap-Up email, with highlights of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review