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The Power of Power

To continue our discussion of different kinds of power, I am thrilled Obama has brought Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from Team Obama during the campaign for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster," back on board as part of … Read More

By / December 1, 2008

To continue our discussion of different kinds of power, I am thrilled Obama has brought Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from Team Obama during the campaign for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster," back on board as part of the transition team–for the office of the Secretary of State.

If you don’t know about Samantha Power, here is an excerpt from Esquire:

Power, a journalist and now a professor at Harvard, who won a Pulitzer prize for her 2003 book on America’s response to genocide, A Problem from Hell, and who helped kick-start the Save Darfur movement, has a vision that will help shape 21st-century American foreign policy. What Norman Podhoretz is to the neocon movement Power is to this as-yet-unnamed force. (Neo-internationalism? Moral interventionism? Machiavellian idealism?) She espouses talks–firm talks–with rogue states, a respect for international law, and a moral and pragmatic duty to intervene–with troops if necessary–in cases of genocide.

I’m happy she’s back for a number of reasons: she’s passionate about human dignity and has a complex and pragmatic view of how to secure it. In other words, she’s tough and smart. Heart and head. Has a plan. A view. And her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, is endlessly relevant, and gives her unique insight into seemingly intractable hostilities, like the one between Israel and Palestine.

Though she’s been lambasted by Zionist groups who say she wants to do everything from fund Islamic terrorists to invade Israel, her official position is that the US should engage in an immediate and intensified involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In her view, the situation "has to be resolved first of all for the benefit of the parties involved, but also to prevent ‘cynical Arab leaders’ from exploiting the conflict as a tool for justifying their policies."

This seems to be a rational approach.

But mostly I feel good about Power’s return because Obama’s ability to bring her back in a leadership role in HRC’s realm says he feels free as POTUS to make controversial decisions and continue to mix up ideological perspectives in the hopes of reaching different conclusions. He appears to be using the power vested in him to follow his agenda of change, rather than kowtow to personal gripes, party lines, or general consensus.

Obama appears to believe the two women, though different in their approach, are stronger together than apart.

Do you agree?

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