After The Fall

The Rise of Authoritarianism in the World We've Made

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February 25, 2022

On the Ground in Ukraine and Russia

As the worst case scenario unfolds in Ukraine, Ben runs through the latest on Russia’s invasion, how this attack marks a new phase of history, and what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Then Ben is joined by Ukrainian investigative reporter Tanya Kozyreva from Kyiv as it is under siege. During the interview, Tanya describes the dire situation in Kyiv, the Ukrainian peoples’ commitment to resist, and has to seek shelter after hearing explosions. Ben is also joined again by Max Seddon, Bureau Chief of the Financial Times in Moscow who shares how Russians feel about the invasion, and if sanctions could actually cause President Putin to stand down.

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The Atlantic

July 12, 2022

Why No One Believes American Rhetoric About Democracy

American foreign policy often highlights the gap between the values-based story that the United States tells about itself and the reality of how a superpower pursues its interests. The size of that gap will be impossible to straddle when President Joe Biden travels to Saudi Arabia to repair his relationship with the kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden is by no means the first American president who has struggled to reconcile a declared commitment to human rights with a more utilitarian definition of American interests. George W. Bush enlisted Saudi Arabia as an ally in the War on Terror even though 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, the wellspring of the Wahhabism that helped create the conditions for the attacks.

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Ben Rhodes is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. 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.” He is currently co-host of Pod Save the World; a contributor for MSNBC; 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 speechwriter and Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions, oversaw the President’s national security communications and public diplomacy, and led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government that resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. His work has also been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. A native New Yorker, Ben has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A from New York University.