In the September 2001 issue of The Atlantic magazine, journalist Samantha Power interviewed Dr. Susan Rice as part of a lengthy review of the Clinton Administration failures that contributed to the 1990s Rwanda genocide. In a brief interview towards the end of the piece, Dr. Rice told Power, "I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required." At the time of the Atlantic interview, Samantha Power was part of the stable of human rights advocates on the payroll of billionaire speculator and self-confessed youthful Nazi collaborator George Soros.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama named Susan Rice as his new National Security Advisor and replaced her as United Nations ambassador by Samantha Power. They are both Obama family insiders. Power was famously "fired" from the 2008 Obama campaign staff for her over-zealous role as attack dog against rival Hilary Clinton. Rice is a longtime favorite of the President, the First Lady and the "East Wing irregulars" led by Valerie Jarrett. When President Obama needed an unquestionably loyal mouthpiece to go out an lie to the American people about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed in a planned, premeditated terrorist attack by known Al Qaeda affiliates, Rice happily made the rounds of the TV talking head shows spouting a fairy tale about spontaneous demonstrations protesting an anti-Islam video that nobody in Libya had ever seen or even heard about.
The fact that President Obama chose to move National Security Advisor Tom Donilon out of his post months before his scheduled departure was explained to me by one Administration insider as a matter of damage control timing. Rice has been so badly damaged by her role in the Benghazi fiasco that the White House political strategists feared that any further revalations would make it impossible for the president to give her the coveted NSC post even though it does not require Senate confirmation. They chose a day when the Senate was in New Jersey for the funeral of Frank Lautenberg, and days before a headline-grabbing summit meeting in California between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. By the time the media spin cycle around the China meeting ends, the logic went, Rice would be old news.
That may or may not prove to be true. The consequences, however, for U.S. national security policy moving forward will be very bad. Whatever constraints were in place at the NSC against the President's own humanitarian interventionist impulses will be removed with Rice running the national security shop. President Obama has notoriously run his Administration through an inner circle of advisors who pass back and forth between the West and East wings of 1600 Pennsylvania. To be at the State Department or the Pentagon is the equivalent of being in Siberia. Rice will be a constant nagging voice pressing for interventionism at the drop of a hat. Syria? Iran? North Korea? Mali? Yemen?
At the height of the drive to oust Qadaffi in August 2011, as I previously have written, President Obama signed a National Security Directive, establishing the Atrocities Prevention Board at the NSC, with the mission of determining when the United States should launch preventive military action to stop future acts of aggression by governments against their own people. It was a declaration of intent to conduct preventive war, which is a crime against humanity according to the United Nations Charter and the Nuremburg precedents. Before her temporary departure from her post as Presidential Special Advisor for International Organizations, Samantha Power was the director of that Executive Branch board, which gave her command over an interagency task force including the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department.
It is not as if President Obama does not already lean in the direction of such humanitarian interventionist wing-dings. The arrival of Rice and Power at critical posts means that the "realist" voices within the Administration risk being drowned out in all of the policy deliberations.
It is a further reminder that the President is a narcissistic personality that he has chosen this moment to annoint Rice and Power as inner circle advisors, at precisely the moment that Rice stands guilty as charged of politically motivated lies to the American people to cover for Obama's own Libya blunders.