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In DC, Power Is Confirmed Without Apology, Goldman Sachers to Geneva

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- The day after the US Presidency of the UN Security Council ended, the US Senate confirmed Samantha Power to replace Susan Rice as Permanent Representative to the UN.

  After breathless narratives of widespread opposition to Power, after her confirmation hearing performance at the committee level, she sailed through 87-10.

  In a memorable moment at her hearing, she said not only that America is the greatest country on earth but that it never has anything to apologize for.

  At the UN covering the Security Council, Inner City Press was watching the hearing on C-SPAN, and something sounded wrong. Didn't Bill Clinton apologize, for example, for the US' votes at the UN to shrink the UN Peacekeeping force during the genocide in Rwanda?

  Wasn't that what Samantha Power's book "A Problem from Hell" was all about? There was grumbling from within the delegation of Rwanda, members of the Security Council for the next year and a half.

  It will certainly liven things up. Some predict that Susan Rice's commitment on issues relating to Sudan and South Sudan will wane -- that may be an over-personalization of the US Mission's work -- and others predict that the whole Problem from Hell approach will focus only on Syria.

  But probably one should judge or predict a person on a body of work rather than this hearing performance, or what Sri Lankan Tamil activists saw as Power's strange silence during what they call their genocide, in May 2009. This finger-pointing at silence extended to Obama himself.

  And Obama the same day nominated as a US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva a former classmate who worked at Goldman Sachs, Pamela K. Hamamoto.

  Another campaign bundler, Dwight L. Bush, Sr., was nominated as ambassador to Morocco. (While this Bush is not one of those Bushes, the pervasiveness of this process is why some call this a one party system.)

  Coming so quickly after Susan Rice's gambit to include a human rights monitoring component in Herve Ladsous' mission in Western Sahara -- such a component exists at his mission in the Congo but is mostly used on an ideological basis -- the financialization of the Morocco post seems telling. On the Security Council, Rwanda has a year and a half, while Morocco has only half a year left.

  And while we'd previously reported Georgia -- not Georgia on my mind, but Tblisi -- as a candidate for the Eastern European seat on the Council, Inner City Press spend part of an American night on July 29 hearing how ECOSOC would be enough for now for the Georgians, and Lithuania edged out by Vuk Jeremic for President for the General Assembly would now get the Council seat. Watch this site.

Footnote: rather than look to the past, even the recent past of Power's confirmation hearing, why not look forward, and not only at the "big picture" items on the Security Council's agenda? As Inner City Press exclusively reported yesterday, the US had thought France would draft a resolution on Central African Republic in August. Due to vacations, they plan not to. Might that change? Shouldn't it?


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