Published On: Wed, Jun 5th, 2013

Samantha Power to be US ambassador nominee, role in Libya plans and comments on Israel problematic

Cass Sunstein, right, and his wife, Samantha Power, who is now on the National Security Council, with their new boss.  photo White House, Pete Souza

Cass Sunstein, right, and his wife, Samantha Power, who is now on the National Security Council, with their new boss.
photo White House, Pete Souza

A White House official says President Barack Obama will name former aide Samantha Power as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Power will replace Susan Rice, who will take over as Obama’s national security adviser. The official says Obama will announce both appointments from the White House Wednesday afternoon.

Power, the spouse of “Regulatory Czar” Cass Sunstein, turned heads back in 2008 when she called Hillary Clinton a “monster’ during the presidential primaries.

“We f***** up in Ohio. 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 said of the Obama camp’s efforts and of Clinton’s political prowess. “She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything.”

Power then ran the human rights office in the White House and was described as the “main architect, along with Hillary Clinton, of the Libya policy and has an increasing influence in the White House inner circle.”

From her speech on Libya: “The president has argued our interests and our values cannot be separated,” Power told the university audience. “These values have caused the people of Libya to risk their lives on the street.”

Power credits the president, through a series of speeches he gave in various foreign capitals, to make it easier for other nations to stand with the United States against home grown tyrants.

“To put Libyan events in historical perspective,” she added, “in Libya, it took us nine days impose asset freezes and travel bans,” while pressuring regimes in the Balkans and other places took years.

Bloomberg states there is more about her Libya involvement as well: “She played a role, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other NSC advisers, in convincing Obama to push for a UN Security Council resolution to authorize a coalition military force to protect Libyan civilians. Other administration figures were concerned about the effectiveness of a no-fly zone and differences within NATO over what Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned would be a “big operation.” […] Power, who sought the limelight as a writer and public intellectual, has learned to be a behind-the-scenes policymaker over the past two years, associates say.”

The United States did not go to war in Libya because “there was some dramatic meeting in the Oval Office where everybody tried to persuade the president not to do this, and Samantha rolled in with her flowing red hair and said, ‘Mr. President, I stand here alone in telling you that history calls upon you to perform this act,’ ” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch, a friend.

When she married the constitutional law scholar Cass Sunstein — he now runs the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs — Esquire dubbed them “The Fun Couple of the 21st Century” and photographed them on the squash court, in tennis whites.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/world/30power.html?_r=3&


The Blaze summarized the fears on Israel with this commentary:

Past comments do little to temper these fears. In 2002, Power sat down with Harry Kreisler, the director of the Institute for International Studies at Berkeley. Kreisler asked her the following:

“Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine – Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?”

Power’s response, in the eyes of those who support Israel, was problematic, as she claimed support for “external intervention” in the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma and said that it’s important to consider the “lesser evils” associated with getting involved in alleviating the issue.

She also, at one point in her commentary, claimed that Middle Eastern leaders — including Israel, it seems — are “destroying the lives of their own people.” Here is a portion of her response, word-for-word:

“What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line…and putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean…investing literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israeli military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine.

In investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support, I think, what would to be, I think, a mammoth protection force…a meaningful military presence because it seems to me at this stage — and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just major human rights abuses which we’re seeing there — but is that you have to go in as if you’re serious. You have to put something on the line and unfortunately the position of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful, it’s a terrible thing to do, its fundamentally undemocratic.

But sadly, you know — we don’t just have a democracy here either — we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide, you know, our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. And there, it’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people, and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.” I mean, I do think in that sense, there’s — that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately, it does require external intervention which, very much like the Rwanda scenario — that thought experiment, of ‘if we had intervened early’ — any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are just becoming ever more pronounced.”

Some critics (including the The Lid blog), regardless of the blame that was placed on both parties, have charged that this commentary was a call to invade Israel.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

Displaying 4 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. George Clooney’s Friends-Alamuddin, Power and R2P: Implications for Libya | The New Libya Report says:

    […] Power is considered to be a key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya. […]

  2. Pine 4 Better Daze says:

    As a ‘behind-the-scenes’ policymaker who apparently convinced Obama to wage an
    illegal war (with NATO) on Libya, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,
    Samantha Power, should be subpoenaed to testify at the congressional hearings on
    Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador Stevens and the other three Americans would still be alive if
    Qaddafi had not been overthrown and murdered. The resulting chaos in Libya allowed
    al-qaeda and other Islamic terrorists to take control of the country. But maybe that was
    the plan….

  3. Samantha Power: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know | HEAVY says:

    […] Power is considered to be a key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya. Power […]

  4. Obama to Pick Rice for National Security Post, Power for UN – Businessweek says:

    […] in foreign crises, to succeed Rice.Samantha Power: Obama's pick for UNWashington PostSamantha Power to be US ambassador nominee, role …The Global DispatchSusan Rice to be named national security adviser, says sourceTuscaloosa […]

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