President Barack Obama has selected as his nominee for US ambassador to the United Nations a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and academic who at one point in her career has advocated a US invasion of Israel.
Samantha Power, a former White House aide and Harvard professor, asserted in a 2002 interview in Berkley University that the US might in the future be forced to deploy a large military force in Israel in order to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish a Palestinian state.
Asked how she would advise the president to address the situation, she replied, “What we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. It may mean investing billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars in what will have to be a mammoth protection force.”
Alluding to the Jewish lobby, she said such an undertaking would “mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.”
While she admitted her proposal was “undemocratic,” Power added that “It seems to me that you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.”
She further described Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon as “dreadfully irresponsible” and politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people.”
However, four years after the interview Power rejected claims that Israel is an apartheid state at a Harvard University forum.
In a March 2003 New Republic magazine essay, Power wrote that American foreign policy needs a “historical reckoning” which would entail “opening the files” and “acknowledging the force of a mantra we have spent the last decade promoting in Guatemala, South Africa, and Yugoslavia.”
She continued: “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 (German Chancellor Willy) 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. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?”
Power caused a stir during the tense contest between Obama and Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She was serving as an adviser to Obama at the time.
“She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” Power was quoted as telling The Scotsman, a British newspaper, referring to Clinton.
“But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive,” Power was quoted as saying.
The remarks prompted her resignation from Obama’s campaign team. Obama edged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, won election that November and named Clinton as his top diplomat, a post she held until earlier this year.
Republicans in the Senate, which must approve her nomination, are likely to give her a rough confirmation hearing.
If confirmed, Power’s return to government service would be a comeback after having left the White House earlier this year as senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the national security staff.
While that job was relatively low profile, Power was widely reported to have argued for the US decision to intervene militarily in 2011 to support the rebels who eventually toppled long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.