Director, The Dickey Center, Dartmouth College & Former Head, Counterterrorism Bureau at State Department
It is a fact that terrorism has been woven into the fabric of the American experience, and like crime, or war itself, it never truly ends, nor can it “be won.” We must learn to manage threats and prepare as best we can. For this, we look to our nation’s most trusted experts, such as Ambassador Daniel Benjamin to educate and assure us. After all, what is the benefit of focusing on your bottom line if you are oblivious to its newest top threats? Read More >
On Bin Laden Reward
On Blacklisting the Muslim Brotherhood
Late Line Appearance
Iraq Crisis: Will Maliki Step Down?
Discussion with Madeleine Albright
India Today Appearance
ISIS: Threat to America?
India Today Conclave
From the end of the cold war till only a few years ago, there was a global trend toward greater integration, international cooperation and transnational governance. Suddenly, we are moving in the opposite direction at high speed: Populist nationalism threatens to divide longtime allies, a rising China seems more menacing than before, Russia is aggressively intervening in the politics of states around the world, a nuclear North Korea threatens the Pacific region and the US. The European Union faces unprecedented strains, while in the Middle East, the state system is crumbling, sectarianism has further divided an already fractious region. The toll from Islamist terrorism has spiked dramatically over the last three years. Former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Daniel Benjamin provides explanations for why this is happening now, and, on the basis of 30 years’ experience in international affairs, helps audiences separate out the chaff and focus on those trends and threats that pose the greatest challenges for our common future.
Is the U.S. getting out of the business of leadership? Observers around the world are expressing criticism and concern at the Obama administration’s reluctance to bring all of America’s forces to bear against ISIS, its plans for a quick drawdown in Afghanistan and its posture vis-à-vis Russia after the annexation of Crimea. Asian nations are especially worried as they urge stronger U.S. engagement to help them stand up to the challenge of China, the world’s fastest rising power. Read More >
A veteran of the Obama administration and longtime Washington insider, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin explains how the White House finds itself stretched between the demands of a war-weary populace and an array of global commitments that America alone can shoulder. He assesses whether the U.S. is getting the balance right and meeting the demands of the era, and he considers the possible consequences if it falls short. Read Less ^
Almost 15 years after 9/11, the landscape of terrorism is changing rapidly. Though al Qaeda’s historic leadership in Pakistan has suffered profound damage and the threat of catastrophic attack has diminished, dangerous jihadist threats such as ISIS persist in Yemen and Iraq, and a plethora of new challenges have arisen, particularly across Africa. In the West, lone wolf operators who are hard to find and difficult to track add to the complexity of the picture. Read More >
As the State Department’s top counterterrorism official and as a high-level White House aide, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin takes the measure of the threats we face today, from bin Laden’s progeny to Iran’s role as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and from the Islamic State to the emerging danger of cyberterrorism. He explains how the Arab Spring has radically altered the situation on the ground and how the conflict in Syria – and the sectarian strife behind it – could well spawn the next era of terror. Read Less ^
In a short three years, international businesses have witnessed a redefinition of the security calculus for their foreign operations. In parts of the Middle East, the Arab Spring has opened up some societies, but swept away the ability of some states to provide a stable, safe environment. Elsewhere in the region, renewed repression has led to smoldering tensions or outright conflict. Read More >
Terrorist groups are acting with greater impunity across Africa, while in countries such as Turkey, Brazil and Greece, social unrest has erupted, clouding these countries’ political and economic prospects. Daniel Benjamin served at the heart of the policy world at the State Department and the White House. With such experience, he provides audiences with a guide to the new global instability, identifying those developments that are passing trends and those that are reshaping the way governments and the global business community work. Read Less ^
Every day, U.S. policymakers are confronted with a flood of news stories and intelligence on growing conflicts, mass atrocities and grave injustices. They also face the profoundly complex problem of reconciling their responsibilities to advance American interests and carefully manage American resources while upholding American values. In a democratic system, how should we weigh the requirements of moral principle against the preferences of the broader public? What role should concerns about political endurance and even survival play in these deliberations? Are there any moral imperatives in the conduct of statecraft? Read More >
Daniel Benjamin began working in the White House shortly after the Rwandan genocide and served in the 1990s through such events as the crises in the Balkans, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan and, in the first Obama term, played a central role in counterterrorism policymaking in such areas as Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Syria. In this talk, he reflects on the extraordinary challenges faced by those who must decide when the nation should act to prevent bloodshed, protect the helpless or redress inequity. Read Less ^
"The Daniel Benjamin event was very good! He made a nice presentation to the group and elicited many solid questions. I think many people were quite interested in his perspective on the many current global threats and his assessment of those. He did a great job."
"He was fantastic! He drew our largest crowd in five years! It was a packed room and many stayed for lunch and question session. It was great!"
"Ambassador Benjamin was so kind and thoughtful, and he did a fantastic job in the event with our faculty members. We estimated that about 700 people showed up for the conversation, which went well. He did a great job of balancing moments of humor with moments of levity, telling interesting stories that we couldn’t have heard from anyone else, and providing an incredibly intelligent (yet still understandable to the general public) analysis of world events from his view behind the scenes. Overall, the event was extremely well-received—with one of our donors saying it was the best he has attended."
"Thank you very much for participating in our final conversation in this year's Downtown Series, "What the News Doesn't Tell You About Rising Global Conflict." Those who were present had a great experience and were extremely impressed by the level and tenor of the conversation. The attendees learned much from the conversation and thoroughly enjoyed your perspective and deep knowledge based on years at the State Department. While I know you are a seasoned presenter, your honesty, humility, attention to detail, and expertise really shone onstage. Your presence was appreciated and admired not only by those who attended the conversation, but also by our SBS staff members who had the pleasure of working with you."