Friday, September 13, 2013

Former CSIS Scholar Takes Center Stage on Syria

Tony Blinken, the Deputy National Security Adviser and former think tanker, has been thrust into the spotlight on Syria while National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been traveling overseas.

Here is more from the Washington Examiner:
Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken built his reputation in Washington by being the smartest — and most soft-spoken — aide in the room.
But now the former adviser for Vice President Joe Biden has been thrust into the spotlight as the point man for the Obama administration’s contentious push to win congressional authorization for a military strike on Syria.
Blinken has long been a central player in the White House. He was in the Situation Room when President Obama's inner circle learned that Navy SEALs had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
In the famous photo capturing the tense moments during the raid on bin Laden's compound, Blinken seemingly fades into the background, looking over the shoulder of then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.
Blinken, though, is now front and center and the stakes couldn’t be much higher.
His newfound role was accelerated when National Security Adviser Susan Rice joined Obama for his trip to the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, leaving Blinken, the understudy, as the public face of the administration's push in Washington.

Blinken was a Senior Fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world for security and international affairs by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.

Amb. Rice also hails from think tank land.   She was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2002 to 2009.  There she focused on US foreign policy, weak and failing states, the implications of global poverty, and transnational threats to security.  The various work she did while at Brookings can be found here.

Rice is also a former Board Member of the American Security Project (ASP), and was on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council.