The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA -- Suzanne Nossel -- is a recent U.S. government insider. So it's a safe bet that AI's decision to seize upon a topic that dovetailed with American foreign policy interests, "women's rights in Afghanistan," at the NATO Conference last month in Chicago came directly from her.
Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multi-lateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women's issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.
She also played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council (where her views about the original Goldstone Report on behalf of Palestinian women did not quite rise to the same level of concerns for the women in countries that U.S.-NATO has attacked militarily).
Nossel would have worked for and with Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, and undoubtedly helped them successfully implement their "Right to Protect (R2P)" -- otherwise known as "humanitarian intervention" -- as well as the newly created "Atrocity Prevention Board."
This cornerstone of President Barack Obama's foreign policy (which has served mainly to rationalize the launching of war on Libya) is now being hauled out to call for U.S.-NATO military intervention in Syria.
"Smart Power" = Smart Wars?
In fact, Nossel is herself credited as having coined the term "Smart Power," which embraces the United States' use of military power as well as other forms of "soft power," an approach which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at her confirmation as the new basis of State Department policy.
An excerpt from Nossel's 2004 paper on "Smart Power" published in the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine sounds a lot like Samantha Power's (and also traces back to Madeleine Albright's) theories:
"To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war.
"Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership -- diplomatic, economic, and not least, military [our emphasis] -- to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."
Perhaps the AI's hiring of a State Department shill as executive director of its U.S. affiliate was merely coincidental to how/why its "NATO Shadow Summit " so closely mimicked the CIA's latest propaganda assault, but...
The "CIA Red Cell," a group of analysts assigned to think "outside the box" to anticipate emerging challenges, was right to worry in March 2010 when the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) found that 80 percent of French and German citizens were opposed to continued deployment of their countries' militaries in the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan.
Even though public apathy had, up to that point, enabled French and German politicians to "ignore their voters" and steadily increase their governments' troop contributions to Afghanistan, the CIA's newly-created think tank was concerned that a forecasted increase in NATO casualties in the upcoming "bloody summer ... could become a tipping point in converting passive opposition into active calls for immediate withdrawal."
In a "confidential" memo, the "Red Cell" wrote:
"The Afghanistan mission's low public salience has allowed French and German leaders to disregard popular opposition and steadily increase their troop contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Berlin and Paris currently maintain the third and fourth highest ISAF troop levels, despite the opposition of 80 percent of German and French respondents to increased ISAF deployments, according to INR polling in fall 2009.
"Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters
"Only a fraction (0.1-1.3 percent) of French and German respondents identified "Afghanistan' as the most urgent issue facing their nation in an open-ended question, according to the same polling. These publics ranked "stabilizing Afghanistan' as among the lowest priorities for US and European leaders, according to polls by the German Marshall Fund (GMF) over the past two years.
"According to INR polling in the fall of 2009, the view that the Afghanistan mission is a waste of resources and "not our problem' was cited as the most common reason for opposing ISAF by German respondents and was the second most common reason by French respondents. But the "not our problem' sentiment also suggests that, so for, sending troops to Afghanistan is not yet on most voters' radar.