President Obama has chosen controversial United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to serve as his National Security Adviser, replacing Tom Donillon, who is resigning.
Obama will announce the appointment in the Rose Garden at 2:15 this afternoon. Donilon is expected to depart early next month.
Rice’s new post is within the White House and does not require Senate confirmation. Rice was passed over by Obama for Secretary of State earlier this year amid harsh criticism from Republicans for appearing on talk shows after the Benghazi attacks touting the idea that a video was responsible. It had become clear she could not be confirmed.
Rice served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. While at the NSC , she was director for international organizations and peacekeeping from 1993 to 1995 and special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, President Clinton appointed her Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, a post she held for the rest of Clinton’s term.
Rice has been criticized for playing a role in the failure of the Clinton administration to prevent the 1994 Rwanda genocide, reportedly saying at the time, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November (midterm) election?”
Rice has served as U.N. ambassador since the start of Obama’s presidency in 2009.
Power has made quite a comeback since she was forced off the Obama 2008 campaign for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.” Power backs the goals of the “Responsibility to Protect” movement, or “RtoP,” which advocates international military intervention to protect those suffering egregious human rights abuses.
In 2002, she said the United States should forcibly intervene in the battle between the Palestinians and the Israelis because Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat were being “dreadfully irresponsible.” She has suggested she regrets the administration’s failure and would come down on the side of action the next time she was faced with such a crisis.
Currently more than 80,000 people have been killed in Syria, but the White House has not acted against the Assad government. Whether that will change with Rice as National Security Adviser is an open question.