Susan Rice and Samantha Power: Can they change Obama’s thinking on Syria? (updated)

For a particularly penetrating analysis of the backgrounds of Susan Rice and Samantha Power, and the chances that they might be able to change Obama’s mind and policy of non-involvement in Syria, see

Nicolas Richter (Washington) “Linke Falken im Anflug; Zwei Frauen besetzen künftig Schlüsselpositionen in der US-Außenpolitik: Weil Susan Rice und Samantha Power Katastrophen wie in Bosnien notfalls mit Waffengewalt verhindern, nennen sie Kritiker “Völkermord-Tussis”. An Obamas Zurückhaltung im Syrien-Konflikt wird sich trotzdem wenig ändern,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 7 Mai 2013.

For an excellent summary of Rice’s qualifications and experience, as well as the challenges she faces, see

David Rothkopf, “Susan Rice’s new job: Egos and elbows,” CNN, June 6, 2013.

For incisive analysis, see also

Matthias Kolb, “Obamas außenpolitische Einflüsterin; Susan Rice wird neue Sicherheitsberaterin, Der Spiegel, 5 Juni 2013 (14:13).

For her official biography, see

United States Mission to the United Nations, Leadership, Ambassador Susan E. Rice.

For a more complete biography, including personal aspects of her life, see

“Susan Rice biography,”

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.