US ambassador to UN skips emergency Syria meeting

posted at 12:51 pm on August 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Samantha Power’s biggest qualification for her new position as US ambassador to the UN is her work on fighting genocide.  She offered particular criticism for US inaction in Rwanda’s genocidal war in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem From Hell.  With the second eruption — allegedly, anyway — of chemical-weapons use in Syria, the newly-confirmed replacement to Susan Rice had the perfect opportunity to act on her principles by forcing the UN to take some kind of action, at least in probing the claims.

Instead, Power sent a lower-ranking diplomat to the ultimately futile meeting:

Samantha Power, America’s new ambassador to the United Nations, skipped a major Security Council meeting Wednesday on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, a move that drew sharp criticism considering her past comments denouncing the council’s inaction on the violence.

The strike early Wednesday could stand as the deadliest such incident since the country’s civil war began, with reports of hundreds dying. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to debate the allegations, but ended up issuing a statement that fell far short of what the U.S. and its allies wanted.

Yet Power herself did not attend the emergency meeting. She was instead represented by career diplomat Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo.

A U.S. mission official told Fox News that Power was on a “pre-arranged trip” and maintained that she was focusing closely on the Syria attack.

Richard Grennell, a former Bush administration adviser on foreign policy and the UN, erupted in outrage yesterday:

But while the White House was pretending to be in urgent mode, the new U.S. Ambassador didn’t think the meeting was worth her time.  Her office reportedly told Reuters that she was on a trip.  But to where?  What was more important?

Samantha Power has been on the job exactly 19 days.  In that time, she’s already traveled from New York to Los Angeles to deliver a speech.  Her absence from the UN on Wednesday sends a terrible message at a time when U.S. credibility in the region is suffering.

While the main stream media continue to describe Power as a “human rights advocate”, the description seems pro forma and disingenuous.  Shouldn’t a human rights advocate have to make human rights a priority?  When President Obama nominated Power for the UN job, he called her a “relentless advocate for American interests…”  I don’t think a relentless advocate would miss an emergency UN meeting on a chemical weapons attack that killed roughly 1,000 people.

Ambassador DiCarlo isn’t exactly a lightweight, but she’s certainly not an expert in this field.  She filled in for Rice for a month before Power got confirmed by the Senate.  Her diplomatic postings have been in Moscow and Oslo, not the Middle East, and her State Department resumé indicates no particular expertise in that region, nor in weapons of mass destruction nor genocide.  Until this summer, DiCarlo’s career focus has been on Europe and Eurasia.

Sending DiCarlo to that meeting instead of Power — or someone with more familiarity with Syria, the region, and/or WMD and genocide issues — sends a pretty clear message of apathy on the point.  After all, Power had blasted the Security Council for its indifference on Syria after being nominated for the post:

During her confirmation hearing, she testified that the failure of the Security Council to act on Syria is a “disgrace that history will judge harshly.”

She tackled Syria again during an online Twitter town hall she hosted last week. She said helping Syrian refugees is a priority. “Need peace so Syrians can lives safe at home,” she tweeted.

She tweeted about the latest allegations on Wednesday, writing: “Yesterday:  Reports devastating: 100s dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons. UN must get there fast & if true, perps must face justice.”

Without Power there to make the case, the UN ended up shrugging:

In her absence, the Security Council stopped short of calling for a probe on the latest alleged chemical attack amid pushback from the Russians and the Chinese, despite the fact a U.N. team is already in the country to investigate prior attacks.

National Journal’s Michael Hirsh argues that the Obama administration has written off the Arab Spring after the debacles in Libya and Egypt anyway:

What it all means is that we may now be at a historic turning point in the Arab Spring—what is effectively the end of it, at least for now. Assad, says Syria expert Joshua Landis, is surely taking on board the lessons of the last few weeks: If the United States wasn’t going to intervene or even protest very loudly over the killing of mildly radical Muslim Brotherhood supporters, it’s certainly not going to take a firmer hand against Assad’s slaughter of even more radical anti-U.S. groups. “With a thousand people dead or close to it, and America still debating whether to cut off aid, and how and when, that’s got to give comfort to Assad,” says Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. “The Egyptians brushed off the United States and said…. Well, we don’t want to end up like Syria. And America blinked. And Israel and the Gulf states were in there telling them to hit the protesters hard.”

What began, in the U.S. interpretation, as an inspiring drive for democracy and freedom from dictators and public corruption has now become, for Washington, a coldly realpolitik calculation. As the Obama administration sees it, the military in Egypt is doing the dirty work of confronting radical political Islam, if harshly. In Syria, the main antagonists are both declared enemies of the United States, with Bashar al-Assad and Iran-supported Hezbollah aligning against al-Qaida-linked Islamist militias. Why shouldn’t Washington’s policy be to allow them to engage each other, thinning the ranks of each?

And by all accounts, the administration and the Pentagon simply don’t want to risk the “blowback” that could occur if the Assad regime collapses and serious weapons fall into the hands of al-Qaida. As one Washington-based military expert points out, Assad is just not enough of a threat to U.S. interests. “Look at how long it took us to decide to back the mujahedeen in the 1980s against the Soviet Union. Syria is not the Soviet Union,” the expert says.

Why bother to show up to fight this battle at the UN under the circumstances? That calculation Hirsh describes may sound harsh, but it’s realistic. Further intervention in Syria against Assad would almost certainly produce the kind of failed state we left in Libya, with AQ and its affiliates allowed free reign to recruit, train, and launch offensive operations.  Maybe Power didn’t want to front for that kind of realpolitik and decided to stay away from the UN as a message of her own.

Update: I suggested in my conclusion that Power may have skipped the meeting as a protest against the flabby response from the White House, and Bill Kristol agrees, noting a tweet Power sent before skipping the meeting:

So why this seemingly pointless tweet? Here’s why. It’s as close as she can safely come to publicly expressing her distance from and disgust with her boss, President Obama. As we recall, and as Power does too, President Obama said a year ago that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons would be a red line. And he said it would be a red line for the United States, not the United Nations.

Samantha Power, I believe, favored intervention against the Assad regime. She is also, I believe, familiar with the work of Leo Strauss. On the surface, her tweet seems the pathetic statement of an unserious official in a feckless administration. But all the world knows Samantha Power is serious. The careful reader must therefore assume that Power was well aware of–that she fully intended–the subversive implications of her tweet. Her tweet is not a serious call for the United Nations to act. Samantha Power knows the United Nations will not act. Her tweet is an indictment, for the record and for the history books, of President Obama.

This would make more sense than “gee, I was on a trip and couldn’t get to the UN to serve my greatest passion.”  It suggests that the Obama administration didn’t want Power to make those kinds of demands at Turtle Bay, which would be … rather remarkable, really.


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Bmore

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Sophie, did you mean for the Syria photo essay to be diff.? It’s the same as Egypt’s.

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Powers’ actions are telling. If she is REALLY upset over the Boy King’s inability to lead and REALLY wanted to send a message, she should have resigned. THAT would have sent a message with the largest impact.

Instead she skipped the meeting and used Twitter.

Let that sink in.

Twitter.

GadsdenRattlers on August 22, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Tweet if you care!

Shy Guy on August 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Samantha Power looks, and acts, like Chelsea Manning.

M240H on August 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM

On the surface, her tweet seems the pathetic statement of an unserious official in a feckless administration. But all the world knows Samantha Power is serious. The careful reader must therefore assume that Power was well aware of–that she fully intended–the subversive implications

I love how all these republicans always just knee jerk assume the dems are “serious” “smart” “competent” even while they fail horrifically and prove their inexperience and incompetence almost daily. Obama was a junior senator with no real world experience that put in lead positions a bunch of intellectuals with not real world experience that seem “serious” “smart” “competent” at the faculty lounge. But the real world is not nice and smart like the debate room.

The O and his whole squad are the junior squad with unrealistic idiotic perceptions trying to play with the big boys in a game of keeps with life or death consequences. They are WAY over their heads and learning on the job in nation state politics has horrific consequences we are seeing daily.

C-Low on August 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Find out where she was instead that was so much more important. It’s all about the optics, and I bet she decided to keep goofing off on vacation rather than cut it short. That’s fine if you’re still at Harvard’s KSG, but you’re the US Ambassador to the UN, not just some journo or activist anymore.

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Great, moved to left column. You know what this means , right? That’s right we have to look at this picture longer now. Way to go guys./

Bmore on August 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

; ) Lolz! See above comment. ^

Bmore on August 22, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I think Samantha Power is a True Believer who just got a very sobering wake-up call from the Hopenchange Express.

I have a close friend who works in a relatively apolitical posting in our diplomatic corps, and my friend, after two months exposure to the new boss at the embassy, chose two years in an unnamed Middle East nation as opposed to two years to the dragon-lady Obama bundler who was named ambassador at their posting. That’s how bad our State Department is being run: a lifelong member of the diplomatic corps who has represented this country all over the world serving under Donkeys and GOPers chose a war zone just to get away from somone POTUS & State thought would be perfect to represent out country in a critical allied nation.

I doubt I would agree with much Samantha Power has to say, but she’s always been a hardliner on this particular issue – I think she was told if that she spoke out of turn, her career would be done.

King B on August 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM

United States Mission to the United Nations

Opinion & Comment line: 212-415-4062

Of course, they couldn’t care less what the American people think, but maybe someone would like to call them up and simply ask where she is on this “pre-arranged trip,” also whether it’s business or pleasure.

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 3:06 PM

I couldn’t make this up as satire. Reality is outrunning imagination.

claudius on August 22, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Please don’t post any more pictures of Samantha Power on this website. She looks like a ginger-ized John Kerry in drag. & with apologies to gingers & John Kerry. Just bloody f-king awful.

Why does every female appointed to any serious position by a Democrat have to be butt ugly? It’s like they go out of their way to find these trolls.

SAMinVA on August 22, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Obama/Powers – a “disgrace that history will judge harshly.”

Midas on August 22, 2013 at 3:18 PM

King B on August 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM

I hope your buddy stay safe, King B.

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Power doesn’t care one bit about her prestigious job at the UN representing the U.S.. That tweet is a disgrace. But at least her behavior is consistent with Zero’s.

The middle east is in turmoil and he takes another vacay out to the Vineyard.

Well, the rest of the world whined and complained about the US leading from the front. They got their wish. The US is just absent.

dogsoldier on August 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

How many rocks does Obama have to look under before he discovers these dolts. Disgusting.

rplat on August 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The feckless person in this drama is Power herself, for having advocated within the administration (and publicly for years) for unleashing the power of the masses is the Arab Spring and being unwilling to face up to the disaster she failed to envision. It’s the Presidents fault for it wanting to see America dragged into a civil war with unpredictable consequences on aides reals border, as an ally of al Qaeda. Am I getting it correctly?

Power is feckless, as I said, but also she is indeed an unserious person. She should be fired. The only halfway intelligent thing she’s ever said is calling Hillary “a monster”.

MTF on August 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

“aides reals border,” should have read “Israel’s border”. Sorry. Apple strikes again.

MTF on August 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

US ambassador to UN skips emergency Syria meeting

Because… golf.

Marcola on August 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

You should go easier on poor Samantha – she had to get her nails done, and after that she had a hair appointment! A girl can only do so much, those pesky UN boys will just have to wait.

Tom Servo on August 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Samantha Power looks, and acts, like Chelsea Manning.

M240H on August 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM

HAHA

Isn’t Samantha Power the one who had te winnie the pooh approach to foreign policy?

Deafdog on August 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Last entries on the USUN web site:

the BRIEFING ROOM

08/19/13 Remarks At a Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict; Deputy Permanent Representative United States Mission to the UN Rosemary A. DiCarlo

08/19/13 Statement on World Humanitarian Day; U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power, U.S. Mission to the United Nations

the BLOG

THU, AUGUST 15
President Obama Calls for an End to Violence in Egypt
The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt’s interim government and security forces

the FEED

@AmbassadorPower 22 hours ago
Reports devastating: 100s dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons. UN must get there fast & if true, perps must face justice.

@AmbassadorPower August 20
Happened to have recently read @blaineharden’s book on Shin’s life, Escape from Camp 14. Most chilling and moving read in a long time.

Looks like she is on family vacation. Probably most of her staff, as well.

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 3:52 PM

It would be hard to find a sh***ier administration than this one. There’s probably only one person who could worse than Obama and the media is already crowning her.

RobertE on August 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM

So, why wasn’t this guy at the meeting, again?

OrbeaRider66 on August 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

She’s busy planning the logistics of her invasion of Israel, she doesn’t have time for Syria.

mudskipper on August 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

OT:

Query to Hot Air — Why is there NO, I repeat, NO mention of the Duncan OK shooting? Is Hot Air not practicing the transparency that they preach?

Inquiring minds would like to know….

Dr. Dog on August 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Dr. Dog on August 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Someone surmized that they don’t want to lose half the commenters…they have as much faith/love in/for their clients as obama has in the middle class.

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Personally, I like it when these little peaches stay home. No Americans get dead. —Regular Right Guy… Full Caf Americano

Mornin Mojo on August 22, 2013 at 4:45 PM

C-Low (2:52) nailed it.

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

West on August 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Wow. Twitter diplomacy.

RushBaby on August 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Europe and Eurasia? Try just Eurasia. Europe ‘s a made-up continent.

DarkCurrent on August 22, 2013 at 1:50 PM

RB<——grinning

RushBaby on August 22, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Query to Hot Air — Why is there NO, I repeat, NO mention of the Duncan OK shooting? Is Hot Air not practicing the transparency that they preach?

Inquiring minds would like to know….

Dr. Dog on August 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

We don’t pay their bills. Why should they listen to a bunch of nobodies like us?

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Powers has a grossly unrealistic approach to foreign policy, founded in the attempt to impose the unrealistic leftist template on a reality it does not fit. Remember, this is the woman who wanted to impose a “solution” to the Palestinian problem by sending in US troops to protect the Palis from the Israelis.She doesn’t understand the realities, and she wants to impose nonsensical “solutions” by force.

If indeed this is a tiny protest against policies she doesn’t agree with, so what? Obama is apparently at least beginning to realize that he can’t control events in the Middle East, perhaps even entertaining the idea that his political analysis of the region, largely shared with Powers, might be flawed. And there is absolutely no reason to intervene in Syria at this point, because there is no way to predict if we can ultimately do any good in the long run. Surely we could, with a massive show of force, end the current fighting. At which point the opposing forces would all attack us.

This bloodletting has been brewing in these barbaric societies for a long time, and the regular lesser bloodlettings apparently could not release sufficient pressure. The slaughter will continue with peaks and valleys for a long time to come. If Obama has finally smashed his face into reality, perhaps his policies will begin to show some coherence.

novaculus on August 22, 2013 at 5:35 PM

As a former Director, anytime there was a serious crisis you never send a subordinate to address it. Never.

I don’t care if this woman had to suck it up and take a stand and make bold statements – even against teh Won… she has lost any shred of credibility she ever had. She should resign in protest to retain any integrity she might have ever had.

I want to know where she was. Where was this pre-planned trip? Purpose? Cost? Attendees? This is our Ambassador, we should demand answers.

Key West Reader on August 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

This is ‘plausible deniability’ for the White House, nothing more.
Look, every human with a brain can ascertain by now, that Obama is going to do exactly jack shit in the Middle East. And you can’t very well stand around and watch it burn, when your own Ambassador is screaming for action on the floor of the UN.

She was told to stay on vacation. period.

a5minmajor on August 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Oh, …I’d also like to inquire about the Silence regarding the “racially tinged” shooting of an Australian citizen on US soil, by gang wanna-be scumbags…and the Galactically hypocritical silence by the Race-baiting filth of our fair Country.

a5minmajor on August 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

She was told to stay on vacation. period.

a5minmajor on August 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Seems likely. Perhaps after an uncomfortable discussion.

novaculus on August 22, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Dedicated to its political correctness and drive for “diversity,” the Obysmal administration has placed women into very sensitive positions, particularly regarding ME matters. The scorn that Muslims exhibit towards women in general demonstrates how foolish is the Obysmal foreign policy.

onlineanalyst on August 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Key West Reader on August 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Here you go: USUN’s Opinion & Comment line: 212-415-4062

Christien on August 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

If it wasn’t America’s fault so she could rub our noses in it and bow to the rest of the earth for it, she won’t attend.

jake49 on August 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

We go from Bolton…to that??

BigWyo on August 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Samantha Power looks, and acts, like Chelsea Manning.
M240H on August 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Yep.

bluegill on August 22, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Query to Hot Air — Why is there NO, I repeat, NO mention of the Duncan OK shooting? Is Hot Air not practicing the transparency that they preach?
Inquiring minds would like to know….
Dr. Dog on August 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I also want to know why they deem the story unworthy. What are they afraid of?

Sigh, Michelle Malkin is solely missed.

bluegill on August 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Samantha Power looks, and acts, like Chelsea Manning.
M240H on August 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Yeah, ain’t that something.

We go from Bolton…to that??

BigWyo on August 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

True, but there again I’m a sucker for redheads so I can’t get too mad at her. ‘-)

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Query to Hot Air — Why is there NO, I repeat, NO mention of the Duncan OK shooting? Is Hot Air not practicing the transparency that they preach?
Inquiring minds would like to know….
Dr. Dog on August 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Maybe because it smacks of being yet another anti-second amendment hoax?

If that’s the case, then I’m glad to see HA isn’t jumping on the bandwagon with these things.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Maybe because it smacks of being yet another anti-second amendment hoax?

If that’s the case, then I’m glad to see HA isn’t jumping on the bandwagon with these things.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Maybe we could talk about Shorty, an 89 year old WWII veteran, beaten to death in a parking lot by two black yuts. Or maybe not…

http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/elderly-man-dies-after-being-attacked-outside-ice-arena/-/101214/21574858/-/9flm7iz/-/index.html

claudius on August 22, 2013 at 8:49 PM

True, but there again I’m a sucker for redheads so I can’t get too mad at her. ‘-)

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM

I’m a ginger, she’s kicked out of the club.

BigWyo on August 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Is anyone really shocked? These people have been wrong on EVERYTHING they have done.

mmcnamer1 on August 22, 2013 at 9:11 PM

But all the world knows Samantha Power is serious. The careful reader must therefore assume that Power was well aware of–that she fully intended–the subversive implications of her tweet. Her tweet is not a serious call for the United Nations to act. Samantha Power knows the United Nations will not act. Her tweet is an indictment, for the record and for the history books, of President Obama.

Oh BS. The bottom line is her actions not her social networking. If she feels that way she should have enough integrity to resign and then agitate.

Vince on August 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

claudius on August 22, 2013 at 8:49 PM

No that sad story I buy. Very sad.

Oklahoma Australian anti-gun dude? Not at this point.

BigWyo on August 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM

LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM

“unserious” is exactly the right term for most of Obama’s appointees. Name-calling from the side-lines is what they do best. When called to duty, they appear confused and conflicted.

Also, agree with others that HA should tone down the too-graphic treatment of Filner, Power and other Democrats whose appearance is a danger to traffic.

virgo on August 22, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Woof!

Decoski on August 23, 2013 at 1:15 AM

These days, it’s difficult to determine……..but is that a picture of a man or woman? Either choice is rather haggard and scraggly-looking.

avagreen on August 23, 2013 at 8:34 AM

The UN is worthless and a Democrat is a hypocrite. Gee, can someone explain what’s unusual about that?

artman1746 on August 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

She worked at this new position, US Ambassador to the UN, for 19 days and that certainly qualified her for a nice vacation. After all, working at the UN is a very arduous task and she was very tired.

That is similar to the work place in America isn’t it? 19 days earns a good vacation?

Pardonme on August 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Here claim to fame? Smoked dope with obama? What?

StevC on August 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM

It may be as simple as this: Obama, Power, Kerry, Jarrett, Rice, et al are all incompetent buffoons.

Colony14 on August 23, 2013 at 7:05 PM

That pic. . .

That’s a man, baby.

RedNewEnglander on August 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

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