As Congress continues to probe the White House’s handling of the Islamic jihad attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi, President Obama is asking the Senate to approve as his new U.N. ambassador one of the key figures who persuaded him to intervene in Libya.
Samantha Power, 42, drew attention in 2008 when she resigned as an Obama campaign adviser after calling rival candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton a “monster.” But after Obama took office, the activist known for her crusade against genocide and her role in formulating and advocating a policy that puts global humanitarian crises ahead of U.S. interests persuaded Obama to use military force in Libya in her role as the National Security Council special adviser on human rights.
Power’s political rise was forecast in a National Interest magazine profile of her two years ago that placed her among a “new elite” that believes American foreign policy “must be fundamentally transformed from an obsession with national interests into a broader agenda that seeks justice for women and minorities, and promotes democracy.”
The U.N. ambassador position became open when Obama earlier today announced his appointment of Susan Rice as his new national security adviser to replace Tom Donilon. Obama had Rice pegged as Hillary Clinton’s successor as secretary of state but was forced to settle for John Kerry when Republican senators pushed back. The critics cited Rice’s prominent role as purveyor of the White House’s now debunked insistence that the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi was the tragic outcome of a protest against an anti-Muslim video that turned violent.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Power was raised in the U.S. and graduated from Yale and Harvard Law School. She was a correspondent for Time magazine and later The New Yorker, covering crises in Kosovo, Rwanda and Sudan. Her 2002 book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” won a Pulitzer Prize for its analysis of why the U.S. has failed to stop genocide worldwide.
She is married to the well-known Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein, who served as head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during Obama’s first term. Sunstein has advocated redistributing America’s wealth to poorer nations to pay “justice”.
As a foreign policy aide to Obama in the 2008 campaign, Power thought she was speaking off the record to a Scottish newspaper when she called Hillary Clinton a “monster.”
“We f***ed up in Ohio,” she told The Scotsman newspaper. “In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win.
“She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” Power said.
‘Shaming’ into action
Reporter Jacob Heilbrunn foresaw Power’s political rise in a profile of her for the May/June 2011 issue of National Interest magazine.
Noting her reputation as an outspoken crusader against genocide, Heilbrunn said Power “has made it her life’s mission to shame American statesmen into action and to transform U.S. foreign policy.”
Heilbrunn called her “a testament to the collapse of the old foreign policy establishment and the rise of a fresh elite.”
“This elite is united by a shared belief that American foreign policy must be fundamentally transformed from an obsession with national interests into a broader agenda that seeks justice for women and minorities, and promotes democracy whenever and wherever it can – at the point of a cruise missile if necessary,” Heilbrunn wrote in 2011.
Heilbrunn said Power “may be the most influential journalist-turned-presidential-adviser since a young Walter Lippmann drafted the Fourteen Points for Woodrow Wilson, only to become a chastened realist after the Treaty of Versailles made a mockery of Wilsonianism and the internationalist dream.”
In a 2003 New Republic article, Power called for a complete “overhauling” of U.S. foreign policy to address crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States.”
“U.S. foreign policy has to be rethought,” she wrote. “It needs not tweaking but overhauling. We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States. This would entail restoring FOIA to its pre- Bush stature, opening the files, and acknowledging the force of a mantra we have spent the last decade promoting in Guatemala, South Africa, and Yugoslavia: A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors.”
Power said U.S. foreign policy “should inject first-order concern for human rights into every policy decision. American decision-makers must understand how damaging a foreign policy that privileges order and profit over justice really is in the long term.”
In a 2002 interview, Power proposed imposing a peace deal on the Israelis and the Palestinians through military intervention but saw pro-Israel American Jews as an obstacle.
Military intervention “might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import,” she said laughing.
She called for shifting U.S. funding from the Israeli military to the building of a Palestinian state and equated then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s actions defending Israel from terrorist attacks with Yasser Arafat’s leadership of the Palestinians, asserting “both have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately it does require external intervention.”
Crafter of new doctrine
As WND reported, Power founded and headed a research center that had a seat on the committee that invented the “Responsibility to Protect” military doctrine used by Obama to justify U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is based on the concept that sovereignty is a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”
The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. Some critics fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.
WND was first to report billionaire philanthropist George Soros is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, the world’s leading organization pushing the military doctrine.
The committee that devised the Responsibility to Protect doctrine included Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa and Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as a deputy for Arafat.