Numerous news agencies report that the White House confirmed early Wednesday that longtime Obama adviser Samantha Power will be nominated as UN Ambassador, replacing Susan Rice, who will be National Security Advisor, replacing current NSA Advisor Tom Donilon. The move is certain to rankle pro-Israel groups.
Power is widely known as a critic of Israel, having proposed in the past that the United States impose a peace settlement on Israelis and Palestinian through the use of U.S. troops. She is seen as an authority on genocide and served the administration as head of the new Atrocities Prevention Board, but has been quiet on Syria.
In 2011, Power was seen as the architect of the Obama administration’s Libya policy through her so-called “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine, which implied a need for U.S. intervention to stop potential mass killing. U.S. involvement in the Libya conflict was approved by the UN and NATO but never by Congress.
Politically, Power has caused controversy in the past. On the campaign trail in 2008, she referred to Hillary Clinton as a “monster,” and was forced to withdraw temporarily from a public role in the Obama effort. She has also kept a low profile in the White House. She is married to former Obama regulation czar Cass Sunstein.
Conservatives will put Power’s views to the test in Senate confirmation hearings. The questions of Libya and Syria are among the many that will be raised. and pro-Israel groups will likely see Power’s nomination as a problem, particularly when considered alongside the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.