Grading Samantha Power’s Record

What type of influence does Samantha Power in shaping Obama and US foreign policy? In her nomination we had the youngest US Ambassador to the UN, an idealist, and a fresh take on the perils of avoiding hard choices and messy conflicts. Where is she now?

This is where Power started in public life–as a noted academic speaker on human rights, making assertions such as this:

On the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, she appeared on “Charlie Rose” and said that the history of inaction held lessons for the U.N. and other organizations. “They can’t live by the maxim that they do in Washington, which is that if you make a moral argument you’re not going to get invited to the next meeting. Make the moral argument and see. Leak the fax that warns of the extermination of a thousand. Leak it, and see whether the member states actually can be shamed into acting. Don’t check the weather. Don’t live in the land of the possible. Push.”

via The Samantha Power Doctrine.

Now, she “exhibits a kind of post-gaffe stress disorder” keeping her “fiery and profane” comments to close quarters with public pronouncements bordering on the “mind-numbingly dull” according to Evan Osnos’s New Yorker recent profile.

He ends with a piece that Power wrote about the notable Brazilian diplomat, Sergio Vieira de Mello–alluding to perhaps her own journey, a leadership ellipse–calling him a “Machiavellian idealist” in contrast to those who can be ‘bureaucratic samurais” … the types that are “especially persuasive in their diplomacy internationally, spend[ing] ore time on those relationships.” Is that what she has become? Is her proximity to Obama proof of the long-term viability of her views, or will her tactical relationship with Hillary Clinton mean that her influence will be ending in the “4th quarter”?


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