The downfall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya is a huge success for Irish-born Samantha Power, a key member of the president's foreign policy inner circle and the leading advocate of the NATO intervention in Libya.
With Hillary Clinton's almost certain retirement after one term,I predict if Obama is re-elected Power will now be in with a real shot at becoming Secretary of State.
She is currently Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council.
With the Gadaffi regime crumbling, Power's insistence five months ago that the president order the American intervention and set up the NATO support for the rebels makes her a big winner in the White House.
The Libyan intervention fell into her insistence that American foreign policy have a major human rights dimension and that dictators can not be allowed free rein.
The New York Times identified Power as the key figure in the White House behind the Libyan intervention.
“She is clearly the foremost voice for human rights within the White House,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times “and she has Obama’s ear.”
She has had that ear since Obama, then a freshman senator sought her out in 2005 after he read her book on genocide and persuaded her to come and work for him.
The relationship had its ups and downs.
After Power made several insulting remarks about Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign Obama was forced to demote her. However, she has not fully regained his trust
Power was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1970 but emigrated to the US with her family in 1979, settling in Georgia. She later became a journalist and covered the Bosnian conflict.
She won a Pulitzer Prize for her 2002 book on genocide, entitled “A Problem from Hell,” which examined the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide.
The book argues that the Armenia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia and Rwanda genocides occurred because of government authorities averted their eyes and individuals made the choice not to intervene.
“The most common response,” Ms. Power wrote, “is, ‘We didn’t know.’ This is not true.”
In the case of Libya, the foreign policy realists in the Obama administration saw little strategic value in intervening there.
Power persuaded Hillary Clinton, who she now enjoys a warm relationship with, to insist on American intervention.
The quick payoff of the policy has now arrived, creating a clear perception that Power got it right and other foreign policy strategists got it wrong.
Now she my well be on the way to a top job if there is a second Obama administration.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”