After The Fall

Being American in the World We've Made

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Foreign Affairs

October 07, 2021

Them and Us: How America Lets Its Enemies Hijack Its Foreign Policy

No twenty-first-century event has shaped the United States and its role in the world as much as 9/11. The attacks pierced the complacency of the post–Cold War decade and shattered the illusion that history was ending with the triumph of American-led globalization. The scale of the U.S. response remade American government, foreign policy, politics, and society in ways that continue to generate aftershocks. Only by interrogating the excesses of that response can Americans understand what their country has become and where it needs to go...

the Guardian

September 10, 2021

After 20 years, Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal has finally ended the 9/11 era

Foreign policy, for better or worse, is always an extension of a nation’s domestic politics. The arc of America’s war in Afghanistan is a testament to this reality – the story of a superpower that overreached, slowly came to terms with the limits of its capacity to shape events abroad, and withdrew in the wake of raging dysfunction at home. Viewed through this prism, President Joe Biden’s decisive yet chaotic withdrawal comes into focus...

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Ben Rhodes is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. He is currently a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC; co-host of Pod Save the World; a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; and chair of National Security Action, which he co-founded with Jake Sullivan in 2018. From 2009-2017, Ben served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, and public diplomacy. He led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government that resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, and supported the negotiations to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made, and The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House. His work has also been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. Ben serves on numerous boards, including Legacies of War, The Ploughshares Fund, and consults for The Obama Foundation. A native New Yorker, Ben has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A from New York University.