Reprinted from Consortium News
President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013.
(Image by (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)) Permission Details DMCA
Propaganda and genocide almost always go hand in hand, with the would-be aggressor stirring up resentment often by assuming the pose of a victim simply acting in self-defense and then righteously inflicting violence on the targeted group.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power understands this dynamic, having written about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda where talk radio played a key role in getting Hutus to kill Tutsis. Yet, Power is now leading propaganda campaigns laying the groundwork for two potential ethnic slaughters: against the Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other minorities in Syria and against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.
Thus, in Power's view, the overthrow and punishment of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad takes precedence over shielding Alawites and other minorities from the likely consequence of Sunni-extremist vengeance. And she has sided with the ethnic Ukrainians in their slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
In both cases, Power spurns pragmatic negotiations that could avert worsening violence as she asserts a black-and-white depiction of these crises. More significantly, her strident positions appear to have won the day with President Barack Obama, who has relied on Power as a foreign policy adviser since his 2008 campaign.
Power's self-righteous approach to human rights -- deciding that her side wears white hats and the other side wears black hats -- is a bracing example of how "human rights activists" have become purveyors of death and destruction or what some critics have deemed "the weaponization of human rights."
We saw this pattern in Iraq in 2002-03 when many "liberal humanitarians" jumped on the pro-war bandwagon in favoring an invasion to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein. Power herself didn't support the invasion although she was rather mealy-mouthed in her skepticism and sought to hedge her career bets amid the rush to war.
For instance, in a March 10, 2003 debate on MSNBC's "Hardball" show -- just nine days before the invasion -- Power said, "An American intervention likely will improve the lives of the Iraqis. Their lives could not get worse, I think it's quite safe to say."
However, the lives of Iraqis actually did get worse. Indeed, hundreds of thousands stopped living altogether and a sectarian war continues to tear the country apart to this day.
Power in Power
Similarly, regarding Libya, Power was one of the instigators of the U.S.-supported military intervention in 2011 which was disguised as an "R2P" mission to protect civilians in eastern Libya where dictator Muammar Gaddafi had identified the infiltration of terrorist groups.
Urged on by then-National Security Council aide Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama agreed to support a military mission that quickly morphed into a "regime change" operation. Gaddafi's troops were bombed from the air and Gaddafi was eventually hunted down, tortured and murdered.
The result, however, was not a bright new day of peace and freedom for Libyans but the disintegration of Libya into a failed state with violent extremists, including elements of the Islamic State, seizing control of swaths of territory and murdering civilians. It turns out that Gaddafi was not wrong about some of his enemies.
Today, Power is a leading force opposing meaningful negotiations over Syria and Ukraine, again staking out "moralistic" positions -- rejecting possible power-sharing with Assad in Syria and blaming the Ukraine crisis entirely on the Russians. She doesn't seem all that concerned about impending genocides against Assad's supporters in Syria or ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
In 2012, at a meeting hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, former U.S. Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith predicted "the next genocide in the world ... will likely be against the Alawites in Syria" -- a key constituency behind Assad's secular regime. But Power has continued to insist that the top priority is Assad's removal.
Similarly, Power has shown little sympathy for members of Ukraine's ethnic Russian minority who saw their elected President Viktor Yanukovych overthrown in a Feb. 22, 2014 coup spearheaded by neo-Nazis and other right-wing nationalists who had gained effective control of the Maidan protests. Many of these extremists want an ethnically pure Ukrainian state.