Debate Magazine

Ben Rhodes

Posted on the 16 May 2016 by Mikelumish @IsraelThrives
Sar Shalom
While plenty of others have laid out the know-it-all attitude of President Obama as conveyed by the New York Times Magazine profile of his communications director Ben Rhodes, there's another angle I would like to cover. To get at my angle, it would help to look at Nicholas Kristof's column from last week about Obama's responses to the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the Zika crisis now. During the Ebola crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that without intervention, the epidemic in Liberia could mushroom to 1.4 million cases. An epidemic of that scale would have been a vastly greater threat to us than a handful of medical experts traveling there, coming back, and monitoring themselves during the potential incubation period for the disease.
However, the balance of risks did not stop the self-appointed experts like Phyllis Schlafly, Donald Trump, and the Republicans in Congress from declaring that America had to be "kept safe" by stopping all flights to Africa. In actuality, the intervention by western medical crews brought and end to the Ebola epidemic in western Africa and there was not a single fatality from western-contracted Ebola. What this episode demonstrates is that there is such a thing as expertise and that those crafted Obama's response, presumably from the CDC, knew what they were doing. However, until the epidemic was contained, to the self-appointed experts, the public health community was simply what one might call "The Blob."
Just as there is such a thing as expertise in public health, there is also such a thing as expertise in international relations. Unfortunately, as David Samuels' profile of Ben Rhodes demonstrates, Obama's attitude towards international-relations expertise is the same of the self-appointed experts' attitude towards public-health expertise. There are legitimate reasons to challenge the community of experts. For instance it would be useful to call attention to facts that most experts ignore and there is nothing inherently wrong with having values (that is, view of what ought to be) that differ from those of most experts. However, there is a difference between an experts' professional assessment (that is, view of what is) and the application of that expert's values (what ought to be). Spurning the experts' advice, in effect dismissing their analysis because you dislike their conclusions, and treating their assessments of what is as if they were their assessments of what ought to be, creates a substantial risk for disaster. That is what Obama and Rhodes have done.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Classy and Elegant Wedding in Santorini | Hollie & David

    Classy Elegant Wedding Santorini Hollie David

    The wedding of today’s couple was simply gorgeous! Undoubtedly, Santorini is one of the most preferable and romantic destinations to create your wedding, so... Read more

    12 hours, 3 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
    LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, WEDDING
  • Weather Or Not

    Weather

    Our weather has been all over the place. Yesterday was beautiful -- but chilly. A few days ago it was almost in the 80s. And the day before that, there was snow... Read more

    12 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Vickilane
    CREATIVITY, PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Does GoDaddy Have Too Much Power?

    Does GoDaddy Have Much Power?

    It seems more and more domain owners are rebelling against the GoDaddy monopoly. Huge Domains also appears to be in the crosshairs of more angry domainers. Read more

    12 hours, 30 minutes ago by   Worldwide
    BUSINESS, TECH
  • Experience Burma Here…

    Experience Burma Here…

    Burma Burma is one of the newest outlet in the city catering to Burmese food lover. The outlet is located in Indiranagar just opposite to Glocal. Read more

    12 hours, 31 minutes ago by   Rohit Dassani
    DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK
  • Our Kind of Cruelty – Araminta Hall

    Kind Cruelty Araminta Hall

    Psychological Thriller5*s Verity and Mike are an example of a classic love story. They met at university, fell in love and then seven years later,... Read more

    13 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Cleopatralovesbooks
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • Opera Review: A Piece of Fairy Cake

    Opera Review: Piece Fairy Cake

    Joyce DiDonato sings a radiant Cendrillon at the Met. by Paul J. Pelkonen The lighting department: Joyce DiDonata as Cinderella in Massenet's Cendrillon.Photo b... Read more

    13 hours, 46 minutes ago by   Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Lizi's Granola Scones

    Lizi's Granola Scones

    This coming Monday will be Saint George's Day. All of the beautiful countries in the United Kingdom have a Patron Saint and the Patron Saint of England (where... Read more

    15 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Mariealicerayner
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES

Magazines