Samantha Power once wrote a very good book. And the world has not stopped suffering because of it.

About 30 years ago Power published A Problem From Hell, a book on genocide and Western intervention (or lack thereof). It supercharged her career as a public intellectual, and she entered politics as an adviser to Barack Obama’s Senate campaign and then joined his administration. Today, she is the administrator of USAID, and she has just declared the beginning of the long-predicted Gaza “famine,” a story in which Israel is of course the villain.

The point of declaring the famine is, as CNN explains, to make it harder for the U.S. to continue supporting Israel: “The Foreign Assistance Act bars assistance to any country that ‘prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.’” Power’s giddy excitement at seeing a famine—whether or not one is there—is an attempt to force a boycott of our ally currently locked in a war with a sociopathic and genocidal enemy.

Speaking of genocide: Secretary of State Antony Blinken had some nice words for the Muslim world coming out of Ramadan: “As we near the end of the holy month of Ramadan, I wish Muslim communities everywhere Eid Mubarak and join in hopes for a safer and more peaceful world. As families and communities come together, we know they do so at a time when many Muslim communities worldwide are suffering. Our thoughts turn to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, civilians in Syria, women suffering under the Taliban in Afghanistan, Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China, Rohingya in Burma and Bangladesh, and far too many others.”

Grouping Israel in with oppressor states is bad enough, but as you can see, Blinken specifically linked Palestinians with Muslim victims of genocide in Burma and China. This, too was intentional.

And here is where the Power and Blinken statements meld into one sugary blend of hypocritical, sanctimonious asininity.

You see, Power knows a great deal about the Muslim suffering mentioned in Blinken’s statement. She watched it happen from up close, and in some cases enabled it.

“I knew I was tired of being a professional foreign-policy critic, opining and judging without ever knowing whether I would pass the moral and political tests to which I was subjecting others,” Power wrote in her memoir of the moment she accepted Obama’s invitation to join the National Security Council. “I wanted to be on the inside, to try to influence this new administration’s actions.”

In 2012, she had a perfect chance to do so. The Burmese junta had eased some of its dictatorial policies and President Obama wanted to give the junta’s thuggish leaders a presidential visit so he could claim credit for influencing them. Power met on Obama’s behalf with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize-winning dissident. Suu Kyi told Power a presidential visit with the junta was a terrible idea. Power pushed her to support it anyway. Suu Kyi proved correct: By the time Obama visited, a campaign of regime-backed ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority was looming, and not even Suu Kyi seemed bothered by it. The situation continued to deteriorate after that visit until the sporadic violence turned into a full-fledged genocide.

Power had spent her early professional years in journalism constantly trumpeting the courage of U.S. officials who resigned in protest over various administrations’ blasé response to ethnic cleansing and said she’d wished she could have been there to resign along with them. But when Obama refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, Power simply accepted it. She stuck around after the Rohingya debacle too. And she did the same after she and others pleaded with Obama to strike Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons and Obama demurred, choosing instead to placate Assad’s Iranian sponsors with a nuclear deal while half a million died in Syria’s brutal civil war.

In 2021, as USAID administrator, Power went to Ethiopia amid that country’s ethnic cleansing campaign against its Tigrayan citizens. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed refused to meet with her. The following year, President Biden invited Abiy to a leaders’ summit in Washington, humiliating Power.

Nevertheless, she persists. Blinken, meanwhile, should be ashamed of himself for lumping Israel in with a genocidal Burmese junta and an authoritarian China and Syria. He, too, has allowed Abiy to get away with his crimes against the Ethiopian people. Yet genocide to these diplomats is a soapbox, and famine is a political football. They pat themselves on the back for pulling the fire alarm only when there is no fire. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds, as they are once again reminding us all.

+ A A -
You may also like
Share via
Copy link