16 Jul 2013

The United Nations is one of the most hostile places on earth for American values, interests and security. Virtually daily, one or more of the tyrants, despots, kleptocrats, Islamists or multinational organizations in their service use its various committees, councils and functions to advance a virulently anti-America agenda.

Allowed to go unchallenged, the cumulative effect of such conduct would be to diminish our sovereignty, infringe upon our freedoms and undermine our allies – especially Israel. First-hand experience like Admiral Lyons’ with the UN makes clear that fighting such efforts requires a firm grasp of what is at stake. That should start with an unwavering commitment to the attributes that have made this country exceptional and great, and an equally clear rejection of what the various transnationalists and other U.S. foes seek to do to her.

Unfortunately, President Obama has nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations someone whose record indicates she is unsuited for the job in both regards. In fact, Samantha Power has for decades found fault with America and its historical role in the world. For example, in 2003, she wrote in the New Republic:

We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States….Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When Willie Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany…

In the same essay, Power declared that: “Much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others.” It is one thing to hear this sort of anti-American propaganda from foreigners who choose to ignore our country’s unsurpassed history of expending vast quantities of lives and national treasure to help secure others’ freedoms. It would be totally unacceptable in our representative at the UN.

Power also seems to dismiss blithely the huge contribution made by the United States in response to many international tragedies, at which the first ones on the scene are often our military personnel, providing assistance and asking nothing in return. Such sentiments should be considered absolute disqualifiers for the position of one of our nation’s most visible diplomats.
Power has also been an advocate for various initiatives aimed at restricting U.S. freedom of action. This includes notably subordinating the use of its military and foreign assistance to UN mandates and circumstances in which we have no national interest. For instance, as recently as 2008, she opined:

“Influence is best measured not only by military hardware and GDP, but also by other people's perceptions that we, the United States, are using our power legitimately…that we are acting in the interests of the global commons and in accordance with the rule of law….”

This is, of course, a formula for allowing the United Nations or “other people’s perceptions” to define the legitimacy of U.S. actions. And when there may be a conflict between the “interests of the global commons” (UN-speak for the international community and the parts of the globe over which it asserts authority, e.g., the oceans, the air and even near-earth space), clearly in her view, America must defer and submit. As she has put it:

The United States must cease its reliance on gratuitous unilateralism. We make rules and create international institutions precisely in order to bind states when their short-term interests would otherwise lead them toward defection…

It is no exaggeration to observe that Samantha Power would make a perfect representative of the United Nations to the United States, but not the other way around.

Entrusting the job of standing up for America at the UN to someone so ill-, or at ill-equipped, or at least so ill-disposed for that task will be tantamount to unilaterally disarming in not just the war of ideas. It will embolden our adversaries to redouble their efforts to use the United Nations as a vehicle for hamstringing this country, like the fictional Lilliputians did with Gulliver.

The last thing we can afford at a moment when the world needs strong and effective leadership from the United States, both in the UN and elsewhere, is to entrust the duty of providing it at Turtle Bay to someone who has spent her professional career deriding this country, defaming it and seeking to circumscribe its power wherever possible.

We urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to explore Samantha Power’s problematic record with care during its hearing on her nomination on July 17th and, having done so, to ensure that such a person is not confirmed as our representative to the United Nations.

Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, U.S. Navy (Ret.) was Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and U.S. Military Representative to the United Nations. Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He is President of the Center for Security Policy (, whose Military Committee Adm. Lyons chairs.