Obama appoints tough-talking Susan Rice as National Security Adviser

Last Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 10:09

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: In a crucial shakeup in the White House foreign policy team, President Barack obama has appointed the tough-talking UN envoy Susan Rice as his National Security Adviser.

The 48 year old Susan Rice will be replacing Tom Donilon, who will be resigning from the post and departing as National Security Advisor in early July.

Earlier Susan was dubbed as Obama`s choice for Secretary of State, but due to Republican uproar over her comments made after Benghazi attack, she could not be nominated for the post.

Obama`s decision comes across as a move defying Republican critics, and signals a shift by Obama toward advisers who favor more robust American intervention overseas for humanitarian purposes.

Making a formal announcement in this regard at the Rose Garden of the White House, Obama hailed Rice as an "exemplary public servant".

"Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human decency. But she`s also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately," Obama said in a White House Rose Garden ceremony.

The president also credited Donilon with having "shaped every single national security policy of my presidency," including the renewed U.S. focus on the Asia-Pacific region and the tricky American relationship with Russia.

"With her background as a scholar, Susan understands that there`s no substitute for American leadership. She is at once passionate and pragmatic. I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she`s also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately," Obama said.

"She`s helped to put in place tough sanctions on Iran and North Korea. She has defended Israel. She has stood up for innocent civilians from Libya to Cote d`Ivoire. She`s supported an independent South Sudan. She has raised her voice for human rights, including women`s rights," he said.

"And I know that after years of commuting to New York while Ian, Jake and Maris stayed here in Washington, you will be the first person ever in this job who will see their family more -- (laughter) -- by taking the national security adviser`s job.
A former Brookings Institute Fellow, Rice has been a key part of Obama`s foreign policy team ever since he announced his presidential run in 2007.

Wednesday`s announcements came as Obama seeks to regroup from three controversies that have emboldened Republicans and threatened to overshadow his agenda: the Internal Revenue Service`s targeting of conservative political groups, the Justice Department`s seizure of phone records of Associated Press journalists and the resurgent investigation into the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Rice became entangled in the Benghazi case after asserting in television interviews that the September attack was probably spontaneous, a statement that was later proven false. While Rice said she was relying on talking points crafted by the administration, she became a target for Republicans accusing the White House of trying to cover up a terror attack during the presidential election.
In an ironic twist for her Republican adversaries, Rice may end up wielding more authority in U.S. foreign policy from within the White House than she would have as head of the State Department. Under Obama, the White House, not the State Department or other agencies, has become the power center for the administration foreign policy decision-making.

Standing alongside Obama in the Rose Garden, Rice said she looked forward to working with lawmakers from both parties "to protect the United States, advance our global leadership and promote the values Americans hold dear."

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 09:39
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