Our Next Ambassador to the UN Endorsed an Invasion of Israel in 2002

The Institute of International Studies at UC Berkley, which has a long-running program called Conversations with History hosted by its executive director, Harry Kreisler, had a familiar face as a guest in 2002.  That guest was Samantha Power.  It was here that Power, who will be nominated to be our next ambassador to the UN, endorsed an invasion of Israel to prevent future genocide.


HARRY KREISLER: “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?”

SAMANTHA POWER: “What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; 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. Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. 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 our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] 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 do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention, which very much like the Rwanda scenario — that thought experiment — if we had intervene early, any intervention will come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.  


At the time, the Second Intifada was raging, which is what I’m guessing Kreisler was alluding to with this question, although it could’ve been within a more general context given the history in the region.  Nevertheless, this policy prescription isn’t within the realm of reality, let alone possibility.  Is there any politician that would endorse an American invasion of Israel? No,  although it seems that her nomination may be a smooth one.  The Hill reported on June 5 that Sen. John McCain, the face of the Republican Party on national security, supports her nomination.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday [June 5, 2013] said he supported President Obama’s nomination of Samantha Power to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

“I believe she is well-qualified for this important position and hope the Senate will move forward on her nomination as soon as possible,” said McCain in a statement.

McCain backs a person that supports an invasion of Israel, yet labeled conservatives as “wacko birds” for questioning Obama’s drone policy.  Someone needs to primary McCain in ’16, and he’s further tarnished his reputation as a spokesman for American foreign policy. Mr. McCain, I respect your service to our country, but you’re flat out wrong about this nomination.

For the 70% of American Jews that voted for Obama in 2012, I hope you’re happy.



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