Soft Power, Part Three

No one has done a better job than Ed Lasky of exposing the extent to which some of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers are anti-Israel, not to mention dangerously misguided about the Middle East. Here, Lasky and Richard Baehr discuss various attempts to explain away aspects of this problem. Readers will agree, I think, that these efforts are exceedingly lame.
One Obama adviser who’s especially difficult to explain away is Samantha Power, about whom I’ve written here, here, and here. Power, whose views are virulently anti-Israel and none too warm towards American Jews, is no fringe or passive member of the Obama team. Power left a position at Harvard to work for Obama for a year after his election to the U.S. Senate and is now identified as a “senior foreign policy advisor.” She is actively involved in the Obama campaign. And, tellingly, Lasky and Baehr say it was Obama who sought out Power, not the other way around.
Perhaps Obama can explain which of Powers’ views (as documented by Lasky and Baehr) make her so attractive to him. Is it her view that the Jewish lobby pushed us into war with Iraq (a view that even Walt and Mearsheimer are no longer willing to defend)? Is it her view of Israelis as war criminals whose tactics the U.S. mimics to its detriment in Iraq? Is it her outrage at the way Israel treated the U.N.’s faux peacekeepers in South Lebanon, the ones who stood by while Hezbollah gained a dominant position and used it to commit aggression against Israel? Perhaps it’s simply her willingness to embrace virtually every slander of Israel that can be dredged from the fever swamp, and the hatred of that State this willingness reflects.
Ali Abunimah, a well-known Chicago-based activist for Palestinian causes, says that Obama has apologized to him for not being more up-front in his support for these causes, and has expressed the hope that this will change once the constraints of running for office are out of the way. With key advisers like Power in the wings, Obama looks like a good bet to deliver on his audacious hope should Americans be foolish enough to elect him president.
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