Samantha Power: The Quintessential 'Blame America First'-er

The United Nations has long been a cesspool of hostility towards the United States, Israel, and freedom more generally. It is dominated by those who promote and protect our enemies’ interests, while undermining ours. Worse yet, we pay much of the UN’s budget.

Past presidents have responded to this travesty by sending ambassadors to the UN who unapologetically challenged that agenda. In particular, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and John Bolton were proud of our country and tirelessly championed its values.

It is, therefore, a particularly repugnant irony that President Obama wants to entrust Dr. Kirkpatrick’s former post to Samantha Power, a woman who epitomizes the left-wing partisans President Reagan’s ambassador famously characterized as the “Blame America First crowd.”

The contrast between Mr. Obama’s choice and these three former U.S. representatives could hardly be more stark. Prior to joining the Obama administration in 2003, Power compiled a record as a Harvard professor journalist, author, activist, and commentator that reads like a parody of an ivory tower leftist’s reflexive anti-Americanism, Israel-hatred, and infatuation with transnational progressivism.

Examples abound in her writings, speeches, and media appearances. Among the most instructive are the following (emphases added):

  • Power sees America as an enemy of freedom, rather than its indispensable defender: “Some anti-Americanism derives simply from our being a colossus that bestrides the earth. But much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others.”  (New Republic, March 3, 2003)

  • Power exemplifies the absurd yet “politically correct” notion that there is only a connection between some Muslims on the one hand and terrorism on the other if we say there is. This contention ignores reality; those who adhere to the Islamist doctrine of shariah must engage in jihad. Yet Power insists: “All we talk about is ‘Islamic terrorism.’ If the two words are associated for long enough it's obviously going to have an effect on how people think about Muslims.”  (New Statesman, March 6, 2008)

  • Power confirms that her activist agenda of remaking the world, rather than a commitment to objective reporting, prompted her to join the Fourth Estate: “I got into journalism not to be a journalist but to try to change American foreign policy. I'm a corny person. I was a dreamer predating my journalistic life, so I got into journalism as a means to try to change the world.” (Salon, February 18, 2008)

  • Power insists on subordinating the United States to the dictates of the “international community”: “Influence is best measured not only by military hardware and GDP, but also by other people's perceptions that we, the United States, are using our power legitimately. That belief – that we are acting in the interests of the global commons and in accordance with the rule of law – is what the military would call a 'force multiplier.' It enhances the U.S. ability to get what it wants from other countries and other players." (New Statesman, March 6, 2008)

  • Ditto: “The United States must cease its reliance on gratuitous unilateralism. We make rules and create international institutions precisely in order to bind states when their short-term interests would otherwise lead them toward defection…" (New Republic, March 3, 2003)

  • Power’s commitment to transnationalism prompts her to trivialize the infringement on U.S. sovereignty entailed in submitting to the “interests of the global commons” and the authority of “international institutions”: “Only U.S. resources and leadership can turn such institutions [as the International Criminal Court] into forces for the international stability that is indispensable to U.S. security. Besides, giving up a pinch of sovereignty will not deprive the United States of the tremendous military and economic leverage it has at its disposal as a last resort. (New Republic, March 3, 2003

  • Although Power has subsequently made a point of apologizing for and professing bewilderment about a particularly egregious example of her anti-Israel sentiments and her attachment to the “responsibility to protect” – in this case Palestinians from Israeli oppressors, the following statement was both clear and seemingly menacingly heartfelt at the time: “…It may more crucially mean sacrificing – or investing, I think, more than sacrificing – billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but 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 were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line." (Video interview with Harry Kreisler)

  • Samantha Power’s alarming transnationalism is also expressed in her enthusiasm for the U.S. to redistribute its wealth to less developed nations, as envisioned in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Power’s reflexive willingness to run down her country as a cheapskate when it comes to foreign assistance ignores our generous underwriting of the United Nations and the unmatched magnanimousness of the American people through private charity. Particularly illuminating is her insistence that we must aid – and although unsaid here, for that matter, intervene militarily on behalf of – countries as long as we have no interest in them: “I think the United States must change its relationship to the Millennium Development Goals. It would make an enormous difference practically and in terms of public diplomacy if we were not second-to-last among rich countries in giving aid away; if we were giving money away, investing in societies that actually don’t have anything to do with our national security. The instances where we make sacrifices strictly in order to benefit other people are so few and far between. Even our democracy rhetoric is so rooted in a story about security and how non-democracies become threats and so on." (Interview with the one-worlder organization Citizens for Global Solutions)

  • Republicans on the committee that will shortly consider her nomination may wish to reflect on her contempt for that panel when the GOP ran it: “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee seems largely toothless. It is not your father’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not your mother’s. No hearings on sensitive issues and that means no meaningful oversight.” (Citizens for Global Solutions interview, cont'd)

The single most troubling quote, however, comes from Power’s 2003 New Republic article. In a carefully crafted essay – not a slip of the tongue, not an ill-considered, off-hand remark on television – she accuses her country of criminal conduct justifying the sort of abasement that  post-World War II Germany’s chancellor engaged in to atone for the sins of the Nazis:

U.S. foreign policy has to be rethought. It needs not tweaking but overhauling. We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States... 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. When Willie Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany… (New Republic, March 3, 2003) [emphases added]

The American people do not need to populate the United Nations with any more anti- or post-Americans, especially as their “representative” to that organization. Someone who equates the United States with Adolf Hitler’s Germany, someone who has for years derided the U.S. contribution to freedom and a better planet, someone who yearns for a new world order in which our nation is not only unexceptional but subject to the dictates of others, is not someone we want anywhere near Turtle Bay.

What we need now, more than ever, is an American patriot at the UN. The Senate must reject Samantha Power, who will share – and help promote – the United Nation’s rabid enmity towards and relentless undermining of this country and the cause of freedom.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He is President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times, and host of the nationally syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.


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