I have had thirty some odd years of following foreign policy, first as a kid that was fascinated with politics, the nightly newscasts and travel then as a teenager partaking in Model UN competitions than as a well-traveled political animal in adulthood. In all that time I have observed American foreign policy leaders both good and bad, conservative and liberal.
Through the years we have had some foreign policy standouts and those that have been well over their head in this realm, with both parties producing good and bad. But today, in US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power we have perhaps the most intellectually honest, well-studied and yet forcefully effective foreign policy leader in a generation.
Born in Ireland, educated at Yale and Harvard, with a background as a foreign correspondent, a Pulitzer Prize to her name and a scholar on human rights, few Americans had Power’s background when she joined Then Senator Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2007.
As one of candidate Obama’s chief foreign affairs advisers she helped create a comprehensive and logical set of ideas for positive global engagement and a reversal of some of the excessive policies of the Bush administration. But then after her well-publicized comments about Hillary Clinton she was booted from the campaign and Obama’s foreign policy rhetoric became more uneven and perhaps even wobbly for lack of a better term.
But once Obama was President, Power returned to the inner circle and helped navigate the administration through first term challenges including the Arab Spring. Now as UN Ambassador she is taking a stronger line on Russian aggression than any previous US post-cold war envoy to the United Nations while helping to guide the US towards building consensus in the General Assembly on other topics.
Power’s talent as the US’ representative complex understanding of foreign policy with a layman’s ability to explain disputes. Simply put she is effective, assured and brilliant. For an administration that has had trouble at times finding its voice, Power the right person to be at UN, on the Sunday morning shows and representing the American point of view in debates.