A reader writes:
I agree that it’s disappointing that Samantha Power censored herself in her nomination hearing and adopted the Washington line on some controversial subjects. But in criticizing the system that forces candidates to do so, you came down too hard on Power herself. Yes, it would be great if she took a stand and spoke her mind, but who would it serve if she jumped on her own sword? She might have put a dent in the system, but she might have just become a footnote in history, like Bork – used to caution future presidential appointees from speaking too candidly. Probably the latter.
You can’t look at Power’s career, or read Problem From Hell, and not come away thinking that she has a goal to use American power to serve humanitarian ends. Now that she is on the cusp of having a real, direct impact of US decision-making, should she speak the truth and likely claim only a moral victory, or hunker down, make some compromises and work to effect change from within? I sure can’t blame her for choosing the second option.
Another also sticks up for Power:
I would normally agree with you that watching confirmation hearings turn into Israel Day Parades is unsettling, and only confirms the worst stereotypes about Jewish control over Washington, etc. Hagel’s dance was particularly ridiculous, as Saturday Night Live (almost) pointed out.
However, it must be acknowledged that Power is up for UN Ambassador. While criticism of Israel is healthy and deserved, the UN takes this to new heights; no other country has been as lambasted and pilloried as Israel has. It is routinely called to task by a UN Human Rights Commission comprised of Cuba, Syria, Iran, etc. It is ridiculous and unfair, and only entrenches the Israeli right’s attitude of “they are all against us, screw em” that is a large part of the problem over there.
Whereas I didn’t care much for hearing Hagel swear allegiance to the Likud, it was nice to hear Power at least commit herself to defending Israel from the hypocrisy swamp that is the UN on this issue.