Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, will become the country’s national security adviser, replacing Tom Donilon, 58, who has resigned, as expected. Rice’s new position will not require approval from the Senate. Obama will announce that Samantha Power, 42, is to be nominated to take Rice’s place at the UN. Power is a genocide expert and until this winter worked at the White House as a former special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights.
Since Rice, 48, won unanimous confirmation by the Senate in 2009 to become ambassador to the UN. There, she helped impose stiff sanctions against Iran and North Korea to prevent their development and use of nuclear weapons; supported the controversial NATO intervention in Libya; provided backing on the referendum for the independence of South Sudan, the UN’s newest member nation; and strove for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies.
Rice, who is known for not mincing words, also clashed with the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, over Western efforts to sanction Syria to end the bloodshed from the civil war. No resolutions were ever passed to help end the conflict under Rice’s tenure. She also landed in a nest of controversy when she spoke on a television news program about the deadly attack by terrorists on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. The information she relayed to the public turned out to be flawed.
Before her post at the UN, Rice was a senior adviser for National Security Affairs on Obama’s first presidential campaign. From 2002 to 2009, she was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, where she focused on US foreign policy, transnational security threats, weak states, global poverty and development.