“To have any capacity to help fix what had gone wrong in the world, we had to begin fixing what had gone wrong with ourselves. To do that, we had to figure out who we were, what it means to be American.”
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.
Rhodes’s most recent book is the bestseller After the Fall, which The New York Journal of Books called “vital reading for Americans and people anywhere who seek to understand what is happening ‘after the fall’ of the global system created by the United States.” At a time when democracy in the United States is endangered as never before, Rhodes spent years traveling the world to understand why. He visited dozens of countries, meeting with politicians and activists confronting the same nationalism and authoritarianism that are tearing America apart. Along the way, he discusses the growing authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin, and his aggression towards Ukraine, with the foremost opposition leader in Russia, who was subsequently poisoned and imprisoned; he profiled Hong Kong protesters who saw their movement snuffed out by China under Xi Jinping; and America itself reached the precipice of losing democracy before giving itself a fragile second chance.