Samantha Power just can't help herself when she starts talking. An odd malady for one who seeks a high position among the nation's diplomats.
Harvard's Professor Samantha Power was once a very close foreign policy advisor to the man who promises, hope, change and redemption for the nation. Power was the advisor who was said to have the candidate's ear and whose opinions were closest to the candidate's. According to her interview in the New Statesman, "Certainly people assume that what she says is what Obama believes." The New York Times speculated that "she [Power] could very well end up in [Obama's] cabinet." With the White House in reach, Power might have been planning the new revolutionary décor of her own executive office.
Then she opened her mouth, and what came forth not only lacked diplomacy but also showed disastrous judgment.
In early interviews, she proposed invading Pakistan without the authorization of its government, thereby assuring the transformation of a cool friend into a hot enemy.
Her position on Israel also engaged American troops. She advised
"sacrificing-billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine,"
and deploying American troops "a mammoth protection force" to impose a settlement on Israelis and the Palestinians... rather than to defer to leaders who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people."
In an interview with the New Statesman (March 6, 2008), Power was asked if there was anyone Obama wouldn't talk to:
"Not among elected heads of state. He won't talk to Hamas, but he would talk to Abbas."
When the interviewer noted that Hamas was duly elected and Fatah, Abbas' party lost the popular vote, she went on a ramble about America's past undermining of unpopular elections.
"You know, there is a long tradition in the US of, um, promoting elections up to the point that you get an outcome you don't like...We played a role in assassinating an elected leader."
Was she advocating that the U.S. negate the Palestinian election and assassinate the Hamas leader? Later in the interview, Power let slip why she may not have been forthright about Obama's plans to meet with Hamas.
"So much of it is about: 'Is he going to be good for the Jews?'"
Power does not seem to grasp that if Hamas controls more of the Middle East, it will not just be a "Jewish problem".
How would the next president face the terrorist threat? According to Power, the rehabilitation should begin by omitting the words 'Islamic terrorism' from our public discourse. With that verbal surgery, "Obama's going to do wonders for closing those chasms."
By eliminating the words, we eliminate the problem. Will that also work for cancer?
Then she went on a book tour to promote her new book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World.
On March 3, Power appeared on BBC radio and said that Obama might be interested in doing some population relocation in Iraq. She said that such a course of action would be regrettable, but might be necessary, admitting that
"moving potentially people from mixed neighborhoods to homogenous neighborhoods [is] tragic. . . . It's the equivalent of facilitating ethnic cleansing, which is terrible."
In an interview with the New Statesman, she lauded Obama's "willingness to talk to dictators" and admitted,
"In his relationship with evil, he almost got a little seduced."
A few days later, Power appeared on the BBC TV show Hardtalk and undermined Obama's pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq in 16 months as really just a "best-case scenario" (her words). The host asked,
"So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out in 16 months isn't a commitment?"
There was no stopping her mouth at that point, and she took shots at Condoleezza Rice ("I'm nothing like her. I don't have any conventional political ambition") and insulted the British prime minister, telling the Telegraph, "I am confused by what's happened to Gordon Brown. I thought he was impressive."
Then the Scotsman published an interview with Power in which she called Hillary Clinton "a monster."
Obama's campaign could barely clean up after Power's path of destruction. The "Monster" comment finally allowed Obama to cut his ties with her.
Or did he? On March 26, 2008, Power addressed the Columbia University School of law and "used this stage to prime herself for a future role in an Obama cabinet, or as a National Security Advisor." Just as the candidate's relationship with Pastor Wright and other unsavory associates has been put on hold during the campaign, Power looks forward to a return once the U.S. election is over.
"Because of the kind of campaign that Senator Obama has run ... it seemed appropriate for someone of my Irish temper to step aside, at least for a while."
Power gives away the sham here. This is a diplomatic expert? A National Security Advisor?
Who will protect us from her mouth?