The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power recently wrote a piece for Politico arguing the Congress not reject the nuclear deal with Iran.
In short she argued that rejecting the deal would leave the United States, not Iran isolated and the ability of the United States would be greatly compromised in its ability to influence outcomes globally. Towards the end she summed up her argument:
The Iran nuclear deal has been championed by the president of the United States, every one of America’s European friends and countless other countries around the world. If Congress rejects the deal, we will project globally an America that is internally divided, unreliable and dismissive of the views of those with whom we built Iran’s sanctions architecture in the first place. Although it is hard to measure the precise impact of these perceptions, I and other American diplomats around the world draw every day on our nation’s soft power, which greatly enhances our ability to mobilize other countries to our side. While that soft power is built in many ways, two of its most important sources are the belief among other countries’ leaders and publics that we share similar values, and that America delivers on its commitments. Of course, there is no substitute for the essential deterrent and coercive effects rooted in the hard power of America’s unmatched military arsenal. But we should not underestimate the political capital we will lose—political capital that we draw upon for influence—if we walk away from this deal.
What makes Power’s plea so inexplicable is her record. As Claudia Rosett explained back in July:
Thirteen years ago, Samantha Power made a name for herself with her Pulitzer prize-winning book, “‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide.” In this book, she explored the history of America’s reluctance to intervene to stop or prevent genocides. Prescribing American intervention as justified on grounds both “moral” and in service of “enlightened self-interest,” Power asked how something so clear in retrospect as the need to stop genocide could “become so muddled at the time by rationalization, institutional constraints, and a lack of imagination.”
In her argument for making the nuclear deal with Iran, one word from Power was missing, “Syria.”
Power, following her area of expertise, has been very vocal about the terrible carnage inflicted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his country. In August she blasted the regime for its use of barrel bombs and threatened to hold Assad and members of his government responsible for the use of chemical weapons.
But given the way the United States has acted in reaction to Assad’s crossing of a “red line” two years ago with a chemical weapons attack, these words are empty. After suggesting that he would use military force in response to the atrocity, President Barack Obama suddenly chose not too.
Instead a diplomatic solution was offered that would allow international inspectors to go into Syria and remove all of its chemical weapons. Of course trusting a bad actor to come clean about his illicit activities is never a good gamble and it wasn’t a good one in the case of Syria and its chemical weapons.
What makes Power’s support for the nuclear deal with Iran so inexplicable is that Iran is the main power behind Syria. (Though Russia’s support of Syria has lately been stepped up.) As Ben Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote over the weekend.
European politicians have remained silent on Iran’s role in forcing Syrians to flee for their lives. Iran’s rulers have provided Assad with an economic lifeline to wage war. Hezbollah — Iran’s wholly owned terrorist subsidiary — has thousands of combatants fighting to retain Assad’s regime.
Making matters worse, Europe and the U.S. are slated to release $150 billion in sanctions relief money to Iran as part of the deal to curb Tehran’s illicit nuclear weapons program. Assad will soon get a fresh economic shot in the arm.
In fact, Assad declared the nuclear a “great victory,” probably in appreciation of the $1 billion line of credit Iran announced it had extended to him a week before the nuclear deal was agreed to.
Power has stayed with the administration despite its fecklessness in dealing with the Assad regime. Now the administration has done even worse and offered a boost to Assad’s primary backer.
Worst of all, it was Power who cast the vote for the United States for the deal in the United Nations. And now this champion of the oppressed is urging Congress to support a deal that strengthens an oppressor lest it make the United States look bad.
[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube ]DONATE
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