|28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
August 5, 2013
|Preceded by||Rosemary DiCarlo (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Nikki Haley (designate)|
|Born||Samantha Jane Power
September 21, 1970
|Spouse(s)||Cass Sunstein (m. 2008)|
|Alma mater||Yale University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
When confronting most crises, whether historic or contemporary, aid agencies generally muddle along on a case-by-case basis. They weigh insufficient information, extrapolate somewhat blindly about long-term pros and cons, and reluctantly arrive at decisions meant to do the most good and the least harm.
I think Obama is right when he talks about the rule of law as a cornerstone of what the United States should stand for.
When dictators feel their support slipping among adults, it is not unusual for them to alter school textbooks in the hope of enlisting impressionable youths in their cause.
No more than a surgeon can operate while tweeting can you reach your potential with one ear in, one ear out. You actually have to reacquaint yourself with concentration. We all do.
I got into journalism not to be a journalist but to try to change American foreign policy. I'm a corny person. I was a dreamer predating my journalistic life, so I got into journalism as a means to try to change the world.
Virtually all of Darfur's six million residents are Muslim, and, because of decades of intermarriage, almost everyone has dark skin and African features.
The story of U.S. policy during the genocide in Rwanda is not a story of willful complicity with evil. U.S. officials did not sit around and conspire to allow genocide to happen.
In the '90s, there was scant presidential leadership and insufficient domestic political mobilization for foreign policy grounded in human rights.
Engaging Iran won't guarantee improved U.S.-Iranian relations or a more stable Gulf region. But not engaging means more of the same.
History is laden with belligerent leaders using humanitarian rhetoric to mask geopolitical aims. History also shows how often ill-informed moralism has led to foreign entanglements that do more harm than good.
In many college classes, laptops depict split screens – notes from a class, and then a range of parallel stimulants: NBA playoff statistics on ESPN.com, a flight home on Expedia, a new flirtation on Facebook.
In the 2000 election, George W. Bush, who had shirked military service, succeeded in presenting himself as more reliable on national security than Al Gore.
The U.S. government engages with many countries around the world in official dialogues on human rights.
There are something like 300 anti-genocide chapters on college campuses around the country. It's bigger than the anti-apartheid movement. There are something like 500 high school chapters devoted to stopping the genocide in Darfur. Evangelicals have joined it. Jewish groups have joined it.
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 belief – that we are acting in the interests of the global commons and in accordance with the rule of law – is what the military would call a 'force multiplier.'
I think I would like the sort of job where you can work away in obscurity to try and improve things, without being caught up in the political maelstrom.
Re-examining our reasoning is not something that has come naturally to American statesmen.
I worry about Zimbabweans. They bend, they bend, they bend, they bend – where do the people break? How long can they go on scrounging for food in garbage dumps and using the moisture from sewage drains to plant vegetables?
I think Obama is right when he talks about the rule of law as a cornerstone of what the United States should stand for. That can encompass our elected officials' adherence to law and our country's return to the Geneva Conventions.
India is at the vanguard of figuring out how to exploit technology and innovation on behalf of democratic accountability.
You know, there is a long tradition in the U.S. of, um, promoting elections up to the point that you get an outcome you don't like. Look at Latin America in the Cold War.
As even a democracy like the United States has shown, waging war can benefit a leader in several ways: it can rally citizens around the flag, it can distract them from bleak economic times, and it can enrich a country's elites.
I like to think that as I get older I'm getting better at spending time with people who have qualities that make them worth spending time with.
America needs a sensible, sustainable Iran policy that can meet U.S. security and economic interests, command international support and withstand the shifting Middle Eastern sands.
The key to U.N. reform is giving Americans a clearer picture of what the U.N. is and what it isn't, what it can be and what it can't be.
On the rare occasions when U.N. blue helmets have made the news in the past, it has unfortunately too often been in the context of situations where peacekeepers have failed to shield civilians, or even when the peacekeepers themselves have been involved in abuse.
In the absence of full-fledged Congressional investigations, American policymakers rarely look back. They are bound by continuity and fealty across administrations and generations.
My basic feeling about military intervention is that it should be a last resort, undertaken only to stave off large-scale bloodshed.
Some anti-Americanism derives simply from our being a colossus that bestrides the earth. But much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others.
If you represent everyone, in some ways you represent no one. You're un-owned.
Zimbabweans are severely malnourished, and deaths from starvation occur even in the cities. The country has not yet suffered nationwide famine only because international donors have stepped in.
American decision-makers must understand how damaging a foreign policy that privileges order and profit over justice really is in the long term.
Brokenness is the operative issue of our time – broken souls, broken hearts, broken places.
We know that often holding those who have carried out mass atrocities accountable is at times our best tool to prevent future atrocities.
What is most needed in Darfur is an international peacekeeping and protection presence, and this is what the Sudanese government most wants to avoid.
Over the years, Western governments have been criticized for working with foreign police who have proved abusive or corrupt.
When I became director of CIA, it was just clear to me intuitively, without a whole lot of science behind it, that we had expanded rapidly and inefficiently. So I arbitrarily picked a number, 10 percent, and I said over the next 12 months, we are going to reduce our reliance on contractors by 10 percent.
All we talk about is 'Islamic terrorism.' If the two words are associated for long enough it's obviously going to have an effect on how people think about Muslims.
Democracies are expense-averse and they think in terms of short-term, political interests rather than a long-term interest in stability.
Historical hypocrites have themselves carried out the very human rights abuses that they suddenly decide warrant intervention elsewhere.
Throughout history, when societies face tough economic times, we have seen democratic reforms deferred, decreased trust in government, persecution of minority groups, and a general shrinking of the democratic space.
Being an occupier is not good for anybody's global standing. It is a catalyst for terrorist recruitment.
Americans have long trusted the views of Democrats on the environment, the economy, education, and health care, but national security is the one matter about which Republicans have maintained what political scientists call 'issue ownership.'
One of the things that a president needs in the face of genocide is resolve.
International institutions are composed of governments. Governments control their own military forces and police.
President Obama, like every other leader on Earth, is still going to be looking out for national and economic interests. States don't cease to be states overnight just because they get a great visionary as their new president.
Since 9/11, there has been a huge leap in people wanting to get personally involved in public service and international affairs.
The performance of international institutions will be symptomatic of the domestic political priorities of influential member states. International institutions don't really have a life and a mind of their own.
President Reagan, of course, did more than any other person to entrench the Republican reputation for toughness on national security.
The economic dynamic in Zimbabwe is perversely robust: while ordinary people suffer, black-market dealers and people with foreign bank accounts prosper, making them powerful stakeholders in the perpetuation of devastating economic policies.
When it came to the Vietnam War, Mr. McNamara was an early advocate of escalation but came to realize the flaws in the American approach earlier than many of his colleagues. Yet in public, he continued to defend the war.