Samantha Power, speaking here at the White House in a file photo, was just confirmed as UN Ambassador. (Source: Reuters)
The beleaguered position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations has been one fraught with history. Given its role as being the key diplomatic figure for American foreign policy at the organization, the Ambassador serves as a conduit for shaping world politics, as has been evidenced by the workings of Madeline Albright and Adlai Stevenson. This year, Susan Rice stepped down from her position as UN Ambassador, following her accession as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. Obama nominated journalist and academic Samantha Power on June 5 to take Ms. Rice's place as Ambassador, with Rosemary DiCarlo currently serving as acting Ambassador in the interim.
Today, following her confirmation hearings, Samantha Power was confirmed as UN Ambassador by a vote of 87-10. All ten Nays were made by Republican senators, including possible 2016 Presidential candidate Marco Rubio. She will be installed shortly.
Gaining prominence as a journalist and academic with a specialty in human rights abuses around the world, Irish-born Samantha Power rose in influence after winning a Pulitzer Prize for her book on genocide. Known as having a militaristic mindset, Ms. Power became known for advocating military-based humanitarian interventions, an ideal once pushed by the Clinton administration in support of military efforts in Kosovo. Ms. Power eventually rose to national attention by joining Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. However, several honest remarks about calling opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" and the campaign "f***ing up Ohio" led to Ms. Power resigning from the campaign in June of that year. She eventually repented by serving with Clinton while she was Secretary of State, turning into one of the leading advocates for the country's intervention in the Libyan civil war.
During her confirmation process, Ms. Power received a grilling by Senators, which more or less demonstrated the common policy of Senate confirmation hearings since Robert Bork's failed nomination as Supreme Court Justice in the late 1980s. That is to say, she basically bent over backwards to tell them what they wanted to hear, especially in regards to Israel, which some American politicians seem intent on turning into the 51st state in the union (poor Puerto Rico). This is not to say she will or will not recant on certain positions in regards to American foreign policy. However, it does tell people many things about Senators and their stuck-up importance. If her real inclinations are of any indication, Ms. Power is likely that she will lead efforts on the human rights front, but whether that will include intervention in the ongoing Syrian Civil War remains to be seen. Given the unfortunate disaster that has become, we should hope not.