As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Samantha Power

Why Did Samantha Power Need the Unmasked Names of Trump Aides?

Okay, now this is getting exceedingly interesting.

The House Intelligence Committee Wednesday issued subpoenas for unmasking requests made by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

Brennan and Rice while partisans, at least have a reasonable defense against accusations they sought for political purposes to unmask the names of Trump advisors speaking with the Russians. They’re involved in national security, although they should be forced to show why they needed to know these names. Since one suspects that maybe, at least Rice, did not.

But as the Wall Street Journal points out, Power’s job was diplomacy:

Unmaskings are supposed to be rare, and if the mere ambassador to the U.N. could demand them, what privacy protection was the Obama White House really offering U.S. citizens? The House subpoenas should provide fascinating details about how often Ms. Power and her mates requested unmaskings, on which Trump officials, and with what justification. The public deserves to know given that unmasked details have been leaked to the press in violation of the law and privacy.

Nor, as far as I’m aware, the UN ambassador also does not run criminal investigations. SO WHY DID SHE NEED TO KNOW?

Samantha Power has already disgraced herself by making her pre-government career on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, which says we should act to oppose genocides and “crimes against humanity.” And then she joins the Obama administration and sits there while a half million Syrians are killed as a result of their dictator, Bashar Assad, and the United States effectively does nothing except possibly prolong things by giving half-hearted support to Syrian rebels.

No doubt her hypocrisy, in failing to resign, was fueled by her enjoyment of her powerful job and her desire for Barack Obama or some future Democratic president to make her secretary of state. Now, she may have worse problems than lack of principles.

Here’s an old chestnut from the Samantha Power archives.

Obama Must Honor Armenia’s Suffering by Calling it a “Genocide”

President Obama claims to be guided by morality and what he thinks are “American values” in his conduct of foreign policy.

Unlike many conservatives, particularly conservative commentators, I actually believe that Obama is doing what he thinks is right. Even if Obama would not extend that particular article of faith to his conservative opponents.

Now, I do believe that some of what he does amounts to rationalizing weakness – inaction, concessions, and reversals of promises – parading it instead as a morally superior and “practical” approach. And I think much of what he decides is good policy is, to the contrary, bad policy – inconsistent with our values and gravely injurious to the nation.

But I believe he is doing what he thinks is right.

However, Obama cannot even claim to seek the “moral path” in foreign policy if he fails to do what he promised during the 2008 campaign, and that is call the genocide committed by the Turks against the Armenians what it is: a genocide.

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of beginning of the slaughter, which killed more than a million people. The massacre was directed by top government officials, one of whom, according to historian Dominic Green, “installed a personal telegraph office in his home so that he could direct” those committing the murders “and keep count of the killings.”

Green described the genocide and its roots in an article published this week in the Weekly Standard:

In 1914, some two million Armenians lived in Ottoman Turkey, three-quarters of them in six provinces of eastern Anatolia, on the borders of Russia and Persia. By 1918, 90 percent of them were gone. More than one million were either murdered in their towns and villages or killed by disease, starvation, or death marches into camps in the Syrian desert, where the survivors were massacred. Hundreds of thousands of women and children were forced to convert to Islam; tens of thousands fled to the Russian Caucasus as refugees. Yet to this day, the Turkish government claims that there was no genocide and that it was the Armenians’ fault.

Obama’s moral failing here is consistent with that of previous presidents, all of whom have been frightened to anger Turkey, which is a member of NATO and supposedly a key ally in the Middle East, where we have few allies.

Here is the supreme, awful irony: The United States does not recognize a “genocide” because the nation that committed the genocide objects.

child-victims-of-armenian-genocide

It is time for the cravenness to stop. It is time to remember that the United States is the most powerful nation in the history of the world, and to start acting like it. Third-rate powers like Turkey actually do need us more than we need them. The United States, through NATO, is committed to defending Turkey should Russia or anyone else try to mess with it. So let the ass-kissing come to an end.

It’s worth remembering at this point that despite pleas from the Bush administration in 2003, Turkey refused to grant the U.S. access to its territory and ports, critically needed staging areas for the war with Iraq. And Turkey has become increasingly Islamacized in the years since, despite blankets of flattery and cajoling heaped on its leader by Obama.

Turkey will throw a fit if Obama says Armenia suffered a genocide. But Turkey will get over it. And Turkey doesn’t give us much help, and can do us little harm.

Unfortunately for the Armenians, they lack the kind of strong political muscle that could balance the scales for a politician like Obama and get him to do what is morally right.

So he’ll have to just come to the conclusion himself.

The White House has put out word that there will be no use of the word genocide Friday when Obama marks the anniversary. Obama can still change his mind and say what must be said. I think he is capable of doing it.

Below is a video of UN Ambassador Samantha Power in 2008, seeking votes for Obama from Armenians by assuring then that with respect to the genocide, she is certain of Obama’s “willingness as president to commemorate it, and certainly to call a spade and spade and speak truth about it.” She added, “I know him very well and he’s a person of incredible integrity . . . he’s a person who can actually be trusted.”

Power Offers Capitulation to the Palestinians

Leave it to the Obama administration to raise the white flag even before the battle is joined.

UN Ambassador Samantha Power Wednesday testified to Congress that should the Palestinian Authority be accepted as a nation-member of UN agencies – it hasn’t applied but it might – the United States should break its commitment to defund any UN outfit that recognizes Palestine as a state.

Because, because, because  . . . we’re just hurting ourselves, you see, because we’ll be thrown out of the agencies for not paying up. This is exactly what happened when the Palestinians joined UNESCO a few years ago.

Oh, and the world kept turning.

She wants Congress to waive the law.

In the event that the Palestinians seek and obtain membership in a U.N. agency, the last thing that we want to do is to give them a double win. And it would be a double win for them to secure a win in an agency on the one hand, and then the exclusion of the United States from that very agency, leaving the agency at the mercy of leadership from Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela – the countries that tend to fill the space when we depart . . .

The American people and the United States are so much better off when the United States is in good standing within these organizations, defending our interests, fighting for our friends, and not surrendering the playing field to those that would like nothing more than for the United States not to be in these organizations.

What people like Samantha Power don’t understand – a group of people that includes the president of the United States who appointed her – is that spinelessness has its own dynamic.

When the jackals who roam the earth – many such jackals run very powerful countries, BTW – see weakness, they begin to salivate. They decide it’s okay to turn the world order upside down, to ignore the United States, Paper Tiger that it’s becoming, and pursue their own reckless, vicious course of action.

That’s why Iran will soon have a nuclear weapon. That’s why China is threatening our Asian allies. That’s why Syria has become a training ground for a new generation of terrorists, why Iraq is incurring unprecedented violence and the revival of al Qaeda in Iraq, why the Taliban awaits its opportunity, and why there is fear in Europe.

Because everyone knows Samantha Power and her boss will stand down when challenged, because they see them standing down all the time.

Ms. Power doesn’t get that small capitulations on principle to gain a short-term “practical” advantage are signals sent out that will eventually come back and bite her in the ass.

People know that when you have no principles, you have no backbone. Our enemies have principles. They’re bad principles, but they are principles. And they’re willing to die even to make a small point.

H/T CNS News.

Samantha Power’s Moral Equivalency

UN Ambassador Samantha Power was widely misinterpreted when she took to Twitter after delivering the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA Sunday. She tweeted:

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 5.00.32 PMShe was accused of implying that Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was captured and then murdered by al Qaeda operatives, was one of those requiring “individual accountability.”

But a look at the lecture she gave makes clear she felt Pearl was a hero and the victim of a brutal crime. She extolled journalists like him and touted the need for freedom of the press to hold leaders to account around the world.

She might have mentioned her own administration’s bullying of the press – including attempts by the president himself to intimidate Fox News – and the recently uncovered plan to have the FCC to install its goons in newsrooms to “research” how they do their work.

But I digress.

Power’s real crime here is not that she is holding Pearl responsible for anything. It’s that she’s holding us responsible.

From her speech:

I think (Daniel Pearl) would be very proud that the Foundation established in his memory is dedicated to inter-cultural understanding. Given the circumstances of Daniel Pearl’s death, we should recognize how remarkable that is. Much of the world’s sorrow can be traced to cycles of retribution, where one group seeks revenge for real or imagined wrongs done by another.

Individuals become symbols, faiths become enemies, and hate becomes a currency of identity — all that we have in common — as fellow parents, fellow students, fellow believers — all that we have in common becomes reduced to a catastrophic alchemy of Us versus Them.

That was the ugly mindset of the men who murdered Daniel Pearl because he was a reporter, an American and, most of all, because he was a Jew.

In that infamous video, the killers advertised their ruthlessness, betrayed their faith, and sought further to inflame passions that divide the world. Not long thereafter, the Daniel Pearl Foundation took its brave stand on the opposite shore, guiding us toward a more profound response to hate: urging dialogue, shared learning, reconciliation, and a recognition that individual — not collective — accountability is required to break cycles of violence.

Notice the presuppositions here. The assertion that we are involved in a “cycle of violence” suggests both sides are instigating atrocities like the murder of Daniel Pearl by reacting in hateful ways that lash out at entire societies rather than at a few bad apples within them.

It’s a cycle, she says. Both sides do it. We succumb to hatred, and so do they. And so we are breeding the monsters who killed Daniel Pearl.

Well, that’s not how it happens.

The United States, which is a force for good in the world, reluctantly reacts when it is attacked and does its best to focus its response on the individuals who kill Americans. When a government is protecting those individuals, then the government and its military may be attacked as well. But it’s a legitimate response. Self defense against very bad people. Not a mindless cycle.

Samantha's a little off kilter.
Samantha's a little off kilter.

The same goes for the Israelis, whom the moral equivalence crowd -of which Power is a charter member – find the most sumptuous of targets.

We are not the same as our enemies, and our responsibilities are different.

It stretches political correctness to inane lengths to believe that there is nothing ailing about societies that produce rampant anti-Americanism, moribund economies, a disturbingly healthy population of extremists, routine antisemitism of the most virulent sort, and frequent repression of women, minority populations, and gays.

Sure, there’s room for dialogue, shared learning, and reconciliation. But that’s not what’s going to mitigate the violence and dry up the recruits to kill people like Daniel Pearl.

While we wait for these societies for figure it out, and help them do so to the extent we can, the answer to the aggression that emanates from them is a strong response of the right scale that will let individuals, and if necessary governments, know that crimes against us will be dealt with harshly.

Peace through strength works. It’s not pretty, it’s not unfailingly successful, but it in general, it works. Sensitivity encounters with people who want to kill you and destroy your way of life doesn’t.

Samantha Power and her boss, President Obama, believe unreasonable people think like we do. And when bad actors know they can put one over on the United States, the world becomes the increasingly dangerous place it is today.

UN Ambassador Samantha Power Starstruck by Jane Fonda

In case you were wondering what type of individuals are running the country . . .

UN Ambassador Samantha Power this week gushed over meeting leftist activist actress Jane Fonda, known as “Hanoi Jane” for trekking to North Vietnam to cavort with the enemy during the Vietnam War. While there, Fonda posed with Viet Cong soldiers at a missile battery used to, you know, kill Americans.

Power exulted in both the coolness of the moment and Fonda’s political activism, according to Fox News.

“Hi everybody,” Power said, according to a transcript. “You know life has changed when you’re hanging out with Jane Fonda backstage. There is no greater embodiment of being outspoken on behalf of what you believe in — and being ‘all in’ in every way — than Jane Fonda. And it’s a huge honor just to even briefly have shared the stage with her.

I don’t know. I liked Fonda in Klute. But really, we have the UN ambassador beside herself over a woman who betrayed our troops?

This is the mindset of the administration. It’s the left wing professors you had in college. It’s the movie stars spouting dreamy nonsense about peace, love and understanding. It’s the enraged activist ranting like a deranged pachyderm against the rich. That’s who’s in charge.

Scary? I’ll give you something scarier.

They were elected by American voters, fair and square. Twice.

What You Will Hear From Samantha Power; And What You Won’t

There are many things you will be hearing from Samantha Power should she become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Samantha PowerShe thinks and speaks sharply, and with her impassioned style and frankly, her tall frame and long flowing red hair, she will no doubt attract a lot of attention at the United Nations and be a high-profile advocate for President Obama.

Problem is, she has a history of making statements that indicate hostility toward Israel and its backers and suggest she sees a moral equivalence between our Israeli allies and the Palestinians.

In a 2007 interview she gave while a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, since scrubbed from the school’s website, she seemed to lay some blame for the Iraq War on the Israelis and their advocates in the United States:

Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the “national interest” as a whole is defined and pursued . . . America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.

So greater regard for international institutions along with less automatic deference to special interests–especially when it comes to matters of life and death and war and peace–seem to be two take-aways from the war in Iraq.

As I’ve noted, in 2002 she suggested inserting a “mammoth” contingent of armed forces into Israel to separate them from the Palestinians during the Intifada, indicating both sides had behaved irresponsibly enough to lose their right to autonomy.

Ms. Power’s empathy for those leftists deem the “oppressed” of the world may be bad news for Israel, generally regarded on the left as the modern practitioner of Apartheid.

So while you will hear a lot from Power, you won’t hear anything like this:

Obama Genocide Panel Chair Backed Invading Israeli Territory

The chair of President Obama’s new Atrocities Prevention Board once called for the United States to force troops into Israeli-controlled territory in order to end abuses she said were being committed by  both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Samantha Power, who chaired the first meeting of the board Monday following an appearance by President Obama at the Holocaust Museum, said in a 2002 interview that “external intervention” in the form of a “mammoth protection force” was necessary to separate the Israelis and the Palestinians. She acknowledged that forcing our way in was undemocratic but insisted it was necessary.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. I mean, It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic.

The new leader of Obama’s anti-genocide effort failed to refute a suggestion by the interviewer in 2002 that the Israelis themselves might commit genocide. The interviewer asked,

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 in response to current events would you advise to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, lest if one party or another be looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

Instead of getting up and walking out on this “thought experiment,” Power responded by appearing to imply a moral equivalence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, who were than waging an Intifada against the Jewish state.

She spoke of “major human rights abuses” occurring in the conflict and quoted New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman’s use of the term “Sharafat” two describe then-leaders Yassir Arafat and Ariel Sharon, both of whom she said had been “dreadfully irresponsible” and were “destined to destroy the lives of their own people.”

Here is a segment of the interview.

Power, you’ll notice, spoke sarcastically of the influence of U.S. Jews, saying with a chuckle her proposal to force troops upon Israel “might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.”

She also suggested the United States was wasting its money supporting the Israeli Defense Forces, which safeguards Israel against another genocide, sneering at the “billions of dollars” we spend “servicing Israel’s military.”

Power backs the goals of the “Responsibility to Protect” movement, or “RtoP,” which advocates international military intervention in countries where the most egregious human rights abuses are occurring. She was reportedly a key force behind President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya.

H/T to Weasel Zippers and The Lid

Obama Adviser Suggested an Invasion of Israel

The lengths to which Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power will go to enforce her “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine are further than you might imagine.

Power is the National Security Council aide who, as you’ve probably read, played a key role in getting President Obama to attack Qaddafi to prevent a potential bloodbath in Libya. A longtime adviser, she is in many ways the architect of Obama’s foreign policy thinking, informing his thought on key matters like the need for multilateralism and UN cooperation in U.S. military activities and the eagerness to engage in dialogue with dictators like  Iran’s Ahmadinejad.

Power backs the goals of the “Responsibility to Protect” movement, or “RtoP,” which advocates international military intervention in countries where the most egregious human rights abuses are occurring.

In a 2002 interview, Power said higher “principles” held by the United States give it the right and even the obligation to intervene militarily when civilians are in endangered by their own leaders’ actions.

In Israel at the time, the second Intifada was raging as Palestinian terrorists killed innocent Israeli civilians in a years-long campaign that many believe was launched by Palestinian bosses as a tool to gain concessions from Israel. Power says the United States should forcibly intervene to stop the violence, arguing that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were “dreadfully irresponsible” and that their people were paying the price.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. I mean, It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, 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 Freidman has called “Sharafat.” I mean, I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention . . .

You’ll notice, she’s not just advocating intervention to stop an obviously malevolent tyrant like Muammar Qaddafi. She’s saying the U.S. should move in when it merely finds other leaders incompetent to do the right thing for their people.

Here’s the video of her full remarks on Israel. It’s an excerpt from an interview she did at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley as part of its “Conversations with History” series. As far as I can tell, the interview has been scrubbed from the website, though another she did in 2008 remains. The three minute bit you’ll see was preserved on YouTube.

This is alarming on several levels. First, why does she not take issue with the outrageous suggestion by the interviewer that the Israelis might engage in genocide? Here’s what Harry Kreisler, director of the institute, asked her:

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 in response to current events would you advise to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, lest if one party or another be looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

Instead of getting up and walking out on this “thought experiment,” she responds by comparing the situation to that which existed in Srebrenica or Rwanda.

Such bland acceptance of Israel’s evil nature must be de rigeur in The Academy, as these two discuss a potential genocide committed by Jews as if it were an obvious possibility. Unfortunately, this attitude has graduated from The University to the White House, where she now works.

Listen to Power sneer at the “billions of dollars” we spend “servicing Israel’s military.” I for one think much of the U.S. aid to Israel may hurt our ally more than help it, but Power’s phrasing makes here distaste for the Israel Defense Forces clear.

She seems to imply as well that Jewish influence and money are weakening the will of politicians to conduct proper foreign policy.

Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.

She wants to introduce a “mammoth” U.S. military presence over Sharon’s objections. This strikes me, for someone who now is in a position of incredible power, as worse than anti-Israeli. It’s just really bizarre.

This video is nine years old. We all change in nine years, and perhaps Samantha Power has too. But a 2007 interview published on the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government suggests maybe not. In it, she indicates that Israel had an important role in getting us into the Iraq War.

It is tempting to see Iraq as the source of all our woes now, whereas I see Iraq as the symptom, in some measure, of a number of longstanding trends and defects in American foreign policy.

[One] longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the “national interest” as a whole is defined and pursued. Look at the degree to which Halliburton and several of the private security and contracting firms invested in the 2004 political campaigns and received very lucrative contracts in the aftermath of the U.S. takeover of Iraq. Also, America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.

This is pretty incredible stuff and suggests someone who views Israel as a malevolent influence on U.S. policy that needs to be put in its place.

Power seems very much within the current international vogue of viewing the Palestinians as helplessly oppressed and Israel as a quasi-Apartheid state. It should be a great concern to Jewish voters – who supported Obama overwhelmingly in 2008 and probably will again in 2012 –  as well as to other Israel supporters that such a person has so much influence over the president.

A hat tip to Pundit Press, where I found this video.