Jun 06 2013

Power to the United Nations

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

President Obama announced that he is nominating former White House adviser Samantha Power to replace UN Ambassador Susan Rice who is leaving the post to become the his new National Security Adviser. The UN appointment is subject to approval by the Senate while the NSA position is not. While there was some noise from the right about the Rice move, as a slap in the face by the president over the Benghazi incident, there hasn’t been much said about Power, at least that has been noticed by the traditional MSM.

So who is Susan Power? Anyone who followed the 2008 Obama v Clinton campaign, will remember her as the Obama campaign as a foreign policy advisor. In a March 6 interview about the campaign in The Scotsman, Power notoriously said about then Sen Hillary Clinton a “She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything.” Although she apologized that night for the remark, she resigned from the campaign the next day. She later joined the Obama administration as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director running the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council.

Born in Ireland and married to law professor Cass Sunstein, whom she met while working on the Obama campaign, Power began her career as a journalist covering the wars in Yugoslavia. She is a strong advocate for human rights, as well as, LGBT and women’s rights. From her Wikipedia bio:

In April 2012, Obama chose her to chair a newly-formed Atrocities Prevention Board. During her time in office, Power’s office focused on such issues as the reform of the UN; the promotion of women’s rights and LGBT rights; the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of religious minorities; the protection of refugees; the campaign against human trafficking; and the promotion of human rights and democracy, including in the Middle East and North Africa, Sudan, and Burma.

In her book Pulitzer Prize-winning A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, she raised many questions about the Clinton administration’s decisions to not engage in conflicts where the country’s hard security interests were not readily apparent. She is also credited for being one of the key figures in persuading Pres. Obama to intervene in Libya. Her solutions to humanitarian issues have been criticized as “tendentious and militaristic, for answering a ‘problem from hell’ with a ‘solution from hell’.”

Over at No More Mister Nice Blog, the question gets asked if ‘can Samantha Power’s appointment survive a ride on the right-wing crazy train“? The question of her support of Israel may come into question on the basis of comments she made in an interview where she was harshly critical of Israeli policy on Palestine. She has been a strong advocate for a Palestinian state. Her marriage to Sunstein may also come under some scrutiny since Sunstein as Pres. Obama’s information czar came under heavy criticism for a paper he wrote about the First Amendment and some other controversial views.

In an aim to get better insight into how Power thinks and what her approach to foreign policy would be if she is appointed, Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman re-posted this debate Power had with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill in 2008 about US intervention in Kososvo,  Iraq sanctions and Bill Clinton’s foreign policy record. Scahill covered the NATO bombings of Kosovo and Yugoslavia for Democracy Now! in 1999.

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