Ben Rhodes began working as a speechwriter for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. He served as President Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter from 2007 until the end of his presidency. His designation was U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting. He was a key adviser on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. He has had his experience and his advice scrutinized. At one point he was a controversial figure in the Obama administration.
It was interesting to read a perspective from inside the Obama white house. The book walks us through the growth, failures, realizations, and challenges faced by Ben Rhodes, and the Obama administration.
The Bin Laden raid, Benghazi, Arab Spring, 2008/2012 Campaigns, foreign policy debates, The Iran deal, the actual motives and facts, the rise of Trumpisem, are some of the stories discussed in the book.
It is also full of behind the sean anecdotes that draws a picture of President Obama, his character and his viewpoints on current issues. It draws a picture of a group that is highly motivated, passionate and driven in their own ways to do good. Furthermore, the book describes the missteps, failures, and challenges of the administration that reveal the very human nature of the people that are at the highest level of government.
The book draws significantly on the leadership displayed internationally by the USA during the Obama administration, not only in its diplomacy but in how it inspired the ordinary people all over the world. The Obama presidency rose people not only in the USA but around the world, and people looked to him for leadership and hope.
The book took longer to read due to the fact that I was able to find the speeches that Ben Rhodes worked on and that President Obama delivered on youtube. I was able to understand and get a sense of the amount of effort and thinking given to each of those speeches.
While President Obama’s use of a teleprompter was scrutinized, I started to understand why it was necessary. The gravity of the words spoken by a leader of a country and the leader of the free world carries a certain level of responsibility, lost to us now. While he was scrutinized at home for being professorial, the president, his speech writers, and advisors scrutinized and mulled over the tone, the message and how best to communicate, not only with the people of the USA but the world.
It would be wrong if I didn’t mention that this book did leave me with a sense of concern about the direction the current administration is taking and the role it plays in leading the world.
I walked away with a sense of respect for the office of the presidency and those who dedicate their lives to public service. Additionally, I developed an awareness of how ordinary people with dedication and drive can make real change possible not only in America but in the world.
The book is in no way an outside perspective of President Obama or his administration. It is an insider perspective carrying with it its own biases. I believe the book is a genuine attempt at conveying the effort put by Ben Rhodes and the administration, at conveying a message of hope, dealing with complicated multifaceted issues faced in regards to foreign policy and the tough decisions that are required of the office of the president of the United States of America.