USAID Administrator Samanta Power is turning a blind eye to genocide, writes Michael Rubin in an article published in Washington Examiner which you can read below.
Samantha Power, famous for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book about how American administrations repeatedly fail in the face of genocide, has betrayed her moral brand once in government.
Winning the confidence of then-Sen. Barack Obama during his campaign, she served in a senior role on his National Security Council before becoming America's ambassador to the United Nations during Obama’s second term. Now, she is the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, a National Security Council post under President Joe Biden. More than almost any other official, her word could matter.
Alas, has ambition interceded. The Atrocities Prevention Board she headed during Obama’s first term became window-dressing as atrocities spun out of hand. She sat idle for five years as the Syrian civil war spun out of control and became the incubator for ethnic and sectarian cleansing on a scale never seen before in the Middle East. After the Islamic State overran Sinjar and northern Iraq, Power sat idle while Obama told his aides to stand down as he would not make the mistakes of his predecessors and resort to military action.
He eventually changed his mind, but the damage was done, not only in terms of the Yezidi genocide but also in the ability of the Iran-backed militias to fill the vacuum unimpeded. Had Power resigned over any of these instances, not only might she have changed the policy conversation in a positive way, but her moral clarity would have helped make the case for her eventually to become secretary of state, a post she clearly craves.
The situation is worse under Biden, who may be the most genocide-friendly president in recent American history. He turns a blind eye to his climate envoy John Kerry’s gleeful subordination of Uyghur genocide in hopes of a transitory climate deal with Beijing. Power herself was ineffective as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pursued a genocidal campaign against the Tigray, and she was silent as Biden rehabilitated him.
While Power’s book examined Rwanda’s anti-Tutsi genocide in detail, Power was (and is), as USAID administrator, silent as Obama changed policy to withhold recognition of the genocide’s anti-Tutsi intent. Even now, she remains silent as the former genocidaires rearm in UN camps just across the Democratic Republic of the Congo border and prefers demands for policy concessions to historical truth.
Perhaps Power’s greatest hypocrisy, however, has been both her silence and cynicism with regard to Azerbaijan’s offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians, the region’s indigenous population. While Biden recognized the Armenian genocide, he balanced that by continuing military assistance to Azerbaijan. Power was silent as Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev broke every pledge he made and agreement he signed. Both the White House and State Department infused their statements with bothsidesism, drawing an equivalence between those ethnically cleansing and those being cleansed.
Power did not care. She declined to testify or allow any USAID official to testify in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last month examining the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. This is why her visit to Armenia, replete with an entourage of photographers, in the wake of Azerbaijan’s conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh was particularly tone-deaf and engendered anger rather than appreciation.
On the day she traveled from Armenia to Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani officials captured Ruben Vardanyan, a former state minister in Nagorno-Karabakh’s now-defunct Republic of Artsakh. I had written about Vardanyan earlier this year to counter the calumny that he was a Kremlin puppet. Azerbaijani authorities will likely torture Vardanyan and seek to humiliate him – no matter that he committed no crime against Azerbaijan other than advocating Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-determination.
Here is where Power’s cynicism comes front and center. After leaving the Obama administration, she joined the prize selection committee for the Aurora Foundation, founded by Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan with former Brown University President Vartan Gregorian to reward people working against genocide. Here is Power praising Vardanyan’s initiative.
The question now, with Vardanyan in chains, is this: Will Power find her voice? Or will her ambition win out?”