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(55,745 posts)
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 08:42 AM Sep 2015

License to Kill - It's a Darwinian Universe (Samantha Power, wife of Cass Sunstein)

“The weak die out and the strong will survive, and will live on forever” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

License to Kill - It's a Darwinian Universe


Let’s face it: the United States feels entitled to a license to kill.

On 23 September, Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that the Russian veto power in the Security Council was endangering its legitimacy. Russia had vetoed four Security Council resolutions on Syria. Understandably, the US rabid dogs of war are straining at the chain to which international law constrains them. How dare Russia oppose US plans for regime change in Syria and impede a further blood bath to achieve it?

An indefatigable humanitarian warmonger, Power resents Russia’s opposition to a resolution to bomb the hell out of “atrocities” in Syria, without specifying that the main “atrocity” in her government’s eyes is President Assad.

No, no—it’s her humanitarian concern over the 250,000 Syrian already dead (she means to add more by bombing in their names); it’s the refugees’ flight she means to stem (by blocking their path with bombs).

Russia is preventing all this humanitarianism: “It’s a Darwinian universe here,” she tells The Guardian. “If a particular body reveals itself to be dysfunctional, then people are going to go elsewhere, and if that happened for more than Syria and Ukraine and you started to see across the board paralysis … it would certainly jeopardise the security council’s status and credibility and its function as a go-to international security arbiter. It would definitely jeopardise that over time.”



“Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.” ― Audre Lorde

Russian vetoes are putting UN security council's legitimacy at risk, says US

Exclusive: Warning over body’s failure to act on Syria and Ukraine comes on top of wider criticism of its structure and the permanent members’ veto rights

by Julian Borger and Bastien Inzaurralde
The Guardian, Sept. 23, 2015

The United States has warned that Russia’s continued blanket use of its UN veto will jeopardise the security council’s long-term legitimacy and could lead the US and like-minded countries to bypass it as a decision-making body.

The warning comes as the UN reaches its 70th anniversary and the security council faces a crisis caused by its paralysis over Syria. It has failed to agree concerted action to try to stem the bloodshed, even after more than 220,000 Syrians have died and more than 11 million have been forced from their homes.

Russia has used its veto powers four times to block resolutions on Syria that Moscow sees as damaging to its ally, the regime of Bashar al-Assad. It has also forestalled common action on Ukraine where it is a party to the conflict, having annexed Crimea and pursued a covert military campaign in support of eastern separatists.

Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the UN, said that the US and other countries had increasingly been going elsewhere to have atrocities investigated, and that a “forum-shopping” trend was likely to continue.

“It’s a Darwinian universe here. If a particular body reveals itself to be dysfunctional, then people are going to go elsewhere,” Power told the Guardian. “And if that happened for more than Syria and Ukraine and you started to see across the board paralysis ... it would certainly jeopardise the security council’s status and credibility and its function as a go-to international security arbiter. It would definitely jeopardise that over time.”



“Nature's stern discipline enjoins mutual help at least as often as warfare. The fittest may also be the gentlest.” ― Theodosius Dobzhansky, Mankind Evolving: The Evolution of the Human Species


(8,321 posts)
1. Bump
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 09:18 AM
Sep 2015

The "power couple" Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein should so proud of themselves.

barf. These people are monsters.


(36,418 posts)
7. No. They are just second-rate intellects acting like monsters, without much real awareness of the
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 03:23 PM
Sep 2015

fact. Real monsters are a lot smarter and find more original rationales for their destruction. These two are just country Vicars in Queen Victoria's court -- revivalists of pretend do-goodery hiding behind Dreadnoughts and Maxim guns.


(55,745 posts)
8. Happy Warriors, all right.
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 03:35 PM
Sep 2015
(On Henri Rousseau and "naïve art&quot : One has to wonder if the same description - childlike simplicity, might attach to American foreign policy in Ukraine and the Middle East? Does the subject look like Nuland? Samantha Power?

SOURCE: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/07/victoria-nuland-samantha-power-by-walrus.html

[font size="1"]War by Henri Rousseau[/font size]

Samantha Power: Liberal War Hawk

Exclusive: Liberal interventionist Samantha Power – along with neocon allies – appears to have prevailed in the struggle over how President Obama will conduct his foreign policy in his last months in office, promoting aggressive strategies that will lead to more death and destruction, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews, June 15, 2015

Propaganda and genocide almost always go hand in hand, with the would-be aggressor stirring up resentment often by assuming the pose of a victim simply acting in self-defense and then righteously inflicting violence on the targeted group.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power understands this dynamic having written about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda where talk radio played a key role in getting Hutus to kill Tutsis. Yet, Power is now leading propaganda campaigns laying the groundwork for two potential ethnic slaughters: against the Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other minorities in Syria and against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.

Though Power is a big promoter of the “responsibility to protect” – or “R2P” – she operates with glaring selectivity in deciding who deserves protection as she advances a neocon/liberal interventionist agenda. She is turning “human rights” into an excuse not to resolve conflicts but rather to make them bloodier.

Thus, in Power’s view, the overthrow and punishment of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad takes precedence over shielding Alawites and other minorities from the likely consequence of Sunni-extremist vengeance. And she has sided with the ethnic Ukrainians in their slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

In both cases, Power spurns pragmatic negotiations that could avert worsening violence as she asserts a black-and-white depiction of these crises. More significantly, her strident positions appear to have won the day with President Barack Obama, who has relied on Power as a foreign policy adviser since his 2008 campaign.

Power’s self-righteous approach to human rights – deciding that her side wears white hats and the other side wears black hats – is a bracing example of how “human rights activists” have become purveyors of death and destruction or what some critics have deemed “the weaponization of human rights.”



Money trumps peace is pure buy-partisanship.


(8,321 posts)
9. Samantha and Victoria (and Cass) in Wonderland taking tea with the Mad Hatter.
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 03:44 PM
Sep 2015

Children at play in the fields of the Lord knowing naught what they do.

As always thanks for the thoughts and links.


(55,745 posts)
10. 21st Century Soft Power Couple: She provides the Fig Leaf, He provides the Hemlock
Fri Sep 25, 2015, 08:05 AM
Sep 2015

Dr. Power wrote about modern day genocide and the UN/US responsibility to use force to prevent it.

The fact it makes certain companies, banks, and individuals very, very wealthy; and the capitalistic governments who protect their wealth very, very powerful is a coincidence.

Dr. Sunstein writes that people who point out the above are dangers to society, because they engage in conspiracy theories.


(36,418 posts)
2. Power: Any humanitarian crisis, ethnic cleansing, or genocide can serve a national purpose.
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 09:36 AM
Sep 2015

Last edited Fri Sep 25, 2015, 08:49 AM - Edit history (1)

I don't know how many here are familiar with Samantha Power, her book, or her activities within the Administration as one of the strongest advocates for military "humanitarian intervention." It is largely her thinking that has guided Hillary Clinton and provides the intellectual justification for the catastrophe of regime change policy in the Mideast.

To Power, (humanitarian) crisis = opportunity (for humanitarian intervention). Her advice: don't delay action just because the outcome might be made far, far worse for those the US intends to "save" from their own "unsatisfactory" regimes. The atrocities and human suffering that justifies military intervention is, at it's core, always someone else's fault, or a case can always be made to blame others. To delay therefore is only to make matters worse. Intervention and the extension of American power is always more effective, that is "just", the earlier and more intensively it is applied.

From Foreign Affairs: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2014-02-03/samantha-power-practice

The shadow of Iraq still taints any U.S. action in the Middle East. In A Problem From Hell¸ Power was skeptical of policymakers who pointed to the risks of “futility,” “perversity,” and “jeopardy,” suggesting that these apparent impediments were mere excuses for a failure to summon political will. Now, in places such as Syria, Power is confronted with the practical shortcomings of her earlier argument. Outcomes on the ground -- rather than just good intentions -- are the marker of success for any policymaker, and Power is no exception. She is now obliged to make hardheaded assessments of the likelihood of doing more harm than good.

No one could accuse Power of feeling unmoved by the suffering of Syrians. She frequently speaks out on their behalf, and, as she was at pains to point out recently, “We meet on it every day, the president’s getting briefed on it every day.” Yet as long as Russia, at a minimum, does not change its position, multiple peace processes will grind forward only slowly as the (now unmonitored) death toll rises.


(23,730 posts)
5. sounds like The Family's vision of power, doesn't it? the stronger the dictator the bigger
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 02:54 PM
Sep 2015

the thing God's using 'em for


(36,418 posts)
6. Sounds a lot like the GHW Bush branch of the CIA's vision as well.
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 03:13 PM
Sep 2015

It was ex-CIA henchmen who got the treatment during Bush, Sr. Presidency. Noriega and Saddam Hussein, to name two.


(55,745 posts)
14. The Dulles Brothers School of Empire for the Well-to-Do.
Fri Sep 25, 2015, 09:33 AM
Sep 2015

Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in Africa

“In assessing the central character ...
Gibbon’s description of the Byzantine general
Belisarius may suggest a comparison:
‘His imperfections flowed from the contagion of the times;
his virtues were his own.’”
— Richard Mahoney on President Kennedy

By Jim DiEugenio
CTKA, From the January-February 1999 issue (Vol. 6 No. 2)


The Self-Education of John F. Kennedy

During Kennedy’s six years in the House, 1947-1952, he concentrated on domestic affairs, bread and butter issues that helped his middle class Massachusetts constituents. As Henry Gonzalez noted in his blurb for Donald Gibson’s Battling Wall Street, he met Kennedy at a housing conference in 1951 and got the impression that young Kennedy was genuinely interested in the role that government could play in helping most Americans. But when Kennedy, his father, and his advisers decided to run for the upper house in 1952, they knew that young Jack would have to educate himself in the field of foreign affairs and gain a higher cosmopolitan profile. After all, he was running against that effete, urbane, Boston Brahmin Henry Cabot Lodge. So Kennedy decided to take two seven-week-long trips. The first was to Europe. The second was a little unusual in that his itinerary consisted of places like the Middle East, India, and Indochina. (While in India, he made the acquaintance of Prime Minister Nehru who would end up being a lifelong friend and adviser.)

Another unusual thing about the second trip was his schedule after he got to his stops. In Saigon, he ditched his French military guides and sought out the names of the best reporters and State Department officials so he would not get the standard boilerplate on the French colonial predicament in Indochina. After finding these sources, he would show up at their homes and apartments unannounced. His hosts were often surprised that such a youthful looking young man could be a congressman. Kennedy would then pick their minds at length as to the true political conditions in that country.

If there is a real turning point in Kennedy’s political career it is this trip. There is little doubt that what he saw and learned deeply affected and altered his world view and he expressed his developing new ideas in a speech he made upon his return on November 14, 1951. Speaking of French Indochina he said: "This is an area of human conflict between civilizations striving to be born and those desperately trying to retain what they have held for so long." He later added that "the fires of nationalism so long dormant have been kindled and are now ablaze....Here colonialism is not a topic for tea-talk discussion; it is the daily fare of millions of men." He then criticized the U. S. State Department for its laid back and lackadaisical approach to this problem:

One finds too many of our representatives toadying to the shorter aims of other Western nations with no eagerness to understand the real hopes and desires of the people to which they are accredited.

The basic idea that Kennedy brought back from this trip was that, in the Third World, the colonial or imperial powers were bound to lose in the long run since the force of nationalism in those nascent countries was so powerful, so volcanic, that no extended empire could contain it indefinitely. This did not mean that Kennedy would back any revolutionary force fighting an imperial power. Although he understood the appeal of communism to the revolutionaries, he was against it. He wanted to establish relations and cooperate with leaders of the developing world who wished to find a "third way," one that was neither Marxist nor necessarily pro-Western. He was trying to evolve a policy that considered the particular history and circumstances of the nations now trying to break the shackles of poverty and ignorance inflicted upon them by the attachments of empire. Kennedy understood and sympathized with the temperaments of those leaders of the Third World who wished to be nonaligned with either the Russians or the Americans and this explains his relationships with men like Nehru and Sukarno of Indonesia. So, for Kennedy, Nixon’s opposition toward Ho Chi Minh’s upcoming victory over the French in Vietnam was not so much a matter of Cold War ideology, but one of cool and measured pragmatism. As he stated in 1953, the year before the French fell:

The war would never be successful ... unless large numbers of the people of Vietnam were won over from their sullen neutrality and open hostility. This could never be done ... unless they were assured beyond doubt that complete independence would be theirs at the conclusion of the war.

To say the least, this is not what the Dulles brothers John Foster and Allen had in mind. Once the French empire fell, they tried to urge upon Eisenhower an overt American intervention in the area. When Eisenhower said no, Allen Dulles sent in a massive CIA covert operation headed by Air Force officer Edward Lansdale. In other words, the French form of foreign domination was replaced by the American version.



Of course, things changed after Nov. 22, 1963. No longer were the nations and peoples of Africa considered equals in the democratic sense. Just like in colonial days, they were subjects of empire, worthy only to be exploited.


(55,745 posts)
11. She argue for military intervention to avoid genocide in 'A Problem from Hell'...
Fri Sep 25, 2015, 08:22 AM
Sep 2015

Who am I to argue with a warrior with a heart of gold? It just so happens her suggestions represent most lucrative propositions from and to the connected deal-makers. Brilliant.

Samantha Power Goes to War

With the Arab world's pro-democracy uprisings comes a resurgence for the "humanitarian hawks."

By Tom Hayden
The Nation, March 30, 2011


 The new Obama doctrine, which could have been scripted from Power’s writings, begins with his refusal “to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action,” and while acknowledging that “It’s true that America cannot use its military wherever repression occurs, that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.” After expanding the definition of national interest to include preventing a slaughter in Benghazi, however, Obama adheres to the other themes of his emerging doctrine: the politics of multilateralism (the US coalition would “splinter” if the mission was expanded) and the recognition of limits (primarily the costs of another quagmire like Iraq). Human rights thus becomes a triggering criteria in the application of military force, but not an exclusive one. Obama says he won’t bomb or invade Tripoli to take out Qaddafi militarily, disappointing the hawkish audience while relieving his liberal base.

If the US gets lucky this time, Power will be vindicated. It’s possible that US airpower can protect opposition ground forces on the road to Tripoli until Qaddafi’s regime collapses from within. Even then, the United States will have to take part in an unpredictable occupation of Libya until a new set of governing institutions are created, a process that might take months or years. The cost will climb into the billions in deficit spending while the budget crisis worsens at home. Any triumphant new US allies, like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, will prove to be unsavory. That’s the best-case scenario for the administration.

In the worst case, the human rights rationale will have served as the initial argument for another long, bloody and expensive quagmire in a Muslim country. In a growing stalemate, the United States will feel impelled to escalate militarily in pursuit of its policy of regime change. That could “splinter” the US coalition and violate the UN mandate, as Obama himself has indicated. It could lead to a bloodbath in Tripoli while preventing one in Benghazi. It could devolve into civil war and an indefinite power vacuum. And speaking of morality in foreign policy, what will Power advise and Obama decide when asked to prevent massacres in Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan or elsewhere (anyone for intervention in China or Russia)?


 Perhaps the greatest problem in Power’s worldview is an elitism that scorns domestic policy and politics, the very domain where she believes the crusade to stop genocide is so often “lost.” Anyone primarily concerned with domestic priorities, in her view, must be an isolationist and thus an obstacle to the global struggle for human rights. One can’t imagine Power worrying very much about, say, rent subsidies or pension funds.

The realities are quite the opposite. In a democracy, war requires the consent of the governed, expressed at the very least with the consent of the Congress and subject to the authorization of the federal judiciary. As Garry Wills points out in Bomb Power, the public and Congress have shriveled before the power of the unitary executive state. It is telling that Obama spent far more time seeking the approval of the United Nations and the Arab League than the US Congress, and has no plans to seek an authorizing vote unless Congress itself insists—an unlikely prospect for now.

[font color="green"]The national security establishment is disconnected from the everyday concerns of the American people. As Andrew Bacevich writes in The Long War, “to the extent that members of the national security apparatus have taken public opinion into consideration, they have viewed it as something to manipulate.” And as David Rothkopf writes in his aptly titled history of the National Security Council, Running the World, all thirteen Democratic and Republican national security advisers since the 1970s—from Brent Scowcroft to Stephen Hadley—are a “natural aristocracy” who either worked for Henry Kissinger or one of Kissinger’s top associates.[/font color]



Thank you for putting it into words, leveymg. Until yesterday I see that I had only a very vague idea of where she was coming from.


(25,273 posts)
3. Samantha doesn't recognize the real dysfunction.
Thu Sep 24, 2015, 12:06 PM
Sep 2015
“It can’t be fair that the entire African continent is not represented in the security council. If you look at the discussions in the security council today, the discussions are about Africa really - 80, 85, 90% of the discussions,” said Kingsley Mamabolo, the South African permanent representative at the UN. “How can we have a situation in which other people are discussing what is happening on our continent without our participation?” From the Guardian link.


(55,745 posts)
12. Africa’s Problem from Hell: Samantha Power
Fri Sep 25, 2015, 08:57 AM
Sep 2015
Barack Obama will likely be remembered by history as the president that honed “humanitarian” intervention into a favored weapon of regime change. Samantha Power is the trigger. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN has set her sites on Burundian President Nkurunziza, five of whose high party members have already been assassinated.

Submitted by Ann Garrison
Black Agenda Report on Tue, 08/11/2015

“Powers has her sights set on the tiny, impoverished East African nation of Burundi.”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is on a mission to save Africans from African savagery. She wants you to call 1-800-GENOCIDE so she can pressure the president to send in the Marines or US Special Forces, Her entire career is based on a historically inaccurate, decontextualized, and grossly over simplified account of the 1994 Rwandan massacres, during which the U.S. "stood by." From now on, she moralizes, US citizens must be "upstanders," not bystanders. "Never again" can we fail in our moral duty to stop the world's dark-skinned, backward peoples from massacring one another over ethnic difference. She wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book calling this The Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, which was based on her 2001 Atlantic Monthly essay “Bystanders to Genocide."

Power fails to note that the US "stood by" intentionally, not indifferently, in Rwanda, until Pentagon protegé General Paul Kagame won a war of aggression begun four years earlier. She blames U.S. officials who successfully pushed for reducing the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda to a skeletal staff as Rwanda descended into hell, but says, in “Bystanders to Genocide,” that this was "not a story of willful complicity with evil."

”All but a few African nations now have soldiers serving under AFRICOM, the US Africa Command.”

She fails to mention that General Paul Kagame threatened to fire on UN troops if they came between his troops and those of the Rwandan army, as Reuters reported on May 18, 1994.

Now, having successfully advocated for US-led NATO wars in Libya and Syria "to stop the next Rwanda," Powers has her sights set on the tiny, impoverished East African nation of Burundi. Burundi shares the Hutu/Tutsi/Twa ethnic divisions with neighboring Rwanda and a highly geostrategic border with the resource rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.

US troops typically appear only as "advisors" south of the Sahara Desert, although the Pentagon/Harvard collaboration Mass Atrocity Response Operations; A Military Planning Handbook, which Power helped to produce, describes the swift, surgical deployment of U.S. Special Forces as a blueprint at the ready. For now there are plenty of African troops serving under U.S. military command and grateful to receive the salaries that boost their class status in Africa, though they'd be considered poverty wages in the U.S. All but a few African nations now have soldiers serving under AFRICOM, the US Africa Command, and Burundi's belligerent neighbor Rwanda is one of the greatest troop contributors. One complication of the Burundian situation is that Burundian troops serve alongside Ugandans in AMISON, the Pentagon-led UN Mission to Somalia.



Gee. Peace sure sounds complicated. With all the factions that have to be satisfied, it's easy to see how the people get killed in the process.

Thank you for the pointing it out, GeorgeGist. For some reason, the continent of Africa is not represented by any of its nations holding a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.


(55,745 posts)
13. And if you call them out on it, you're labeled a ''Conspiracy Theorist.''
Fri Sep 25, 2015, 09:14 AM
Sep 2015


The Normal Life of Crazy Conspiracy Theories

Author Cass Sunstein looks at why conspiracy theories persist.

By Michael Morella
US News & World Report, April 21, 2014

From the CIA being accused of arranging for President John F. Kennedy’s assassination to claims the U.S. government is concealing evidence of alien life, “crazy thoughts are often held by people who are not crazy at all,” writes Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein in “Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas.” In the book, Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012, collects and updates several previously published essays on the public’s fascination with conspiracy theories as well as hot-button topics like climate change, same-sex marriage and animal rights. He recently spoke with U.S. News about what makes people inclined to believe far-fetched theories and ways that Congress might find compromise on contentious issues.

How do people come to believe conspiracy theories?

Under conditions of fear or anger, as for example following a bad event, people want to find a cause, and they also want to resolve their own uncertainty. So if you’ve seen an assassination or a terrible economic downturn or a missing plane, there may be an inclination to posit an agent who’s behind it. Another thing is, if you have social networks where people are communicating with each other, especially with like-minded others, then you can see conspiracy theories going viral. Some of us have a disposition to believe in conspiracy theories. That’s just a tendency some people have. Finding a conspiracy behind something sometimes has some of the attraction of solving a puzzle.



So when someone points out the Emperor is naked, or that secret "agent" doesn't have to tell you who profits from the illegal, immoral, unnecessary and disastrous war of choice, that's a head case for the shrinks.

Catch-22 Perfection.
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