Does Samantha Wield the Power to Set Obama on the Right Course?

Samantha Power

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

Who can forget the gripping video plea President Obama’s National Security team member Samantha Power issued during the 2008 election calling on Armenian-Americans to vote for Obama, because, if elected president, he will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

We all know how that shaped up!

Fast forward two and a half years, and Power, who has been behind the curtains since the inauguration, has emerged as the Administration’s conscience on advancing human rights issues. In a recent profile in the New York Times, Power emerged as the architect of Obama’s nationally televised policy speech on the US/NATO involvement in Libya.

The New York Times piece by Sheryl Gay Stolberg painted her as the foremost authority on human rights in the Obama Administration. Rightfully so, since her book “A Problem from Hell,” which won her a Pulitzer Prize, focused on the consequences of world powers turning a blind eye—or a deaf ear—to atrocities around the world, including the Armenian Genocide.

Stolberg quoted Human Rights Watch executive director, Kenneth Roth as saying: “She is clearly the foremost voice for human rights within the White House, and she has Obama’s ear.”

For Powers to make the argument that if America did not intervene in Libya it would be a “stain on our collective conscience,” demonstrates her and President Obama’s willingness to avert a situation, which might become another full-blown Genocide.

We can all recall Power’s poignant role in Carla Garapedian’s searing documentary “Screamers,” in which Power sets the tone for the message that everyone should become a “screamer” for human justice.

So, where has that advocacy gone on the Armenian Genocide issue? Is it collecting dust along with her Pulitzer Prize that put her on the map?

As an observer—and a participant—in the 2008 Obama campaign, I was taken by his uncanny conviction for doing the right thing. After all, no other candidate in recent history had reiterated his commitment to Armenian Genocide recognition as late in the process as the Friday before the 2008 election.

What we’ve seen in the last two years is back-peddling by the president. All of a sudden, the campaign pledge that “As President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide,” became Obama’s “personal belief,” and Secretary Clinton’s visit to Dzidzernagapert became a “personal visit” for the most high-ranking US official to visit Armenia since its independence in 1991.

What was most disappointing for the Armenian-American electorate was that not only did Obama renege on his campaign pledge he also enthusiastically championed the dangerous and now doomed Turkey-Armenia protocols, giving Turkey another lever by which it can delay the recognition of the Genocide.

This is the same president who stood in the Turkish Parliament, and alongside his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, and called on the Turks to come to terms with their past, as the Americans have done with their atrocious human rights record.

“Now, from her perch on the National Security Council, she is in a position to make that case to the commander in chief — and to watch him translate her ideas into action,” wrote Stolberg in her New York Times piece.

Indeed, Power is—and has been—in a position to make that case to the president, not only on Libya, but also on his failure not just to honor a campaign pledge but to advocate justice and human rights by properly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

The question remains: does Samantha wield the power to set Obama on the right course?

In announcing his reelection bid last week, Obama posed the simple question “Are you in?” Well, Mr. President, the Armenian-American electorate is not “in” yet, but hopes you will honor your campaign pledge and do the right thing.

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15 Comments

  1. Danoog said:

    I can’t believe there are so many gullible Armenian-Americans. It’s embarassing. Why would you vote for Obama because he said he would recognize the Armenian Genocide? What made you think he is anything but just another politician pandering for votes? If anything he is a bigger liar than the Bushes and Clintons and now Samantha Power will renege on her promises too, if she hopes to climb the ladder of power within the Obama regime. All politicians are alike. Stop being chumps and wasting your vote on the Armenian Genocide issue. Be Americans first and vote issues that truly affect your lives.

  2. Zareh Sahakian said:

    I think the old-adage “the office makes the man” sadly applies to this president, as well as the ones before him. The Turkish leadership is well aware of this reality and they always can rely on this “golden” principal they hope will always dictate the conduct of the US presidents in office. So far President Obama’s stance on the genocide has proven them to be right.

    However, there’s also another sad reality Washington is infested with; the all-powerful military-industrial lobbying groups. These powerful bodies include the who’s who of the most powerful political/military mostly retired personnel that direct the political thought on the Hill. By nature the raison dêtre of their existence does not necessarily serve the national interests of the country but serves the lining of their pockets. These people, from ex-national security advisor Brent Scowcroft to ambassador Richard Armitage, Dick Gebhardt to Dennis Hastert and so on…are up for the highest national or international bidders.

    Just take a look at the composition of the board of directors of the ATC (American Turkish Council) to get an idea of how and by whom Washington is influenced. From Boing to Chevron, Raytheon to Sikorsky Helicopters, they’re all there.

    The ATC, which essentially directs the ATCA, (the American Turkish Coalition of America), has Bruce Fine as their legal councillor, now involved in defending Rep. Jean Schmidt against David Krikorian, to “clear” her name of taking “blood money”, an accusation that befits her conduct.

    Against all these groups, well financed by Ankara, relying solely on the humanitarian ideology of “doing the right thing” towards the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a mistake and stands a little chance in succeeding. We have to come up with new thinking, the current way MO, which basically relies on the ballot box is not working, we simply do not have the numbers to make an effective difference, nationally.

    Samantha, so far, has proven to be Power-less, just like his boss and that is unlikely to change. The onus is upon our shoulders to come up with a strategy to take on these challenges and succeed.

  3. Alex said:

    NO she doesn’t no matter what they say we should act and believe that we can’t trust them because their tools in imperialist way of life, of the new world order(s). So we must do what we must to push our own world order and not follow anyone elses. Hye 4 life and beyond.

  4. Levon Lokmanian said:

    I will never vote for a democrat ever.ARMENIANS SHOULD VOTE FOR the TEA PARTY.

  5. Ara Nazarian said:

    We fall in the trap of wishful thinking yet gain if we are to bleieve that Ms Powers is going to reverse the course of recognition in the US. We have been bitten by this bug before. It’l serve us well to learn and not pin unrealistic hopes on the likes of Ms Powers.
    The recignition issue is not person centric, nor is it dependent upon the wishes and whom of any individual. It is resultant from direct policy that we keep wishing would not be so.

  6. Varouj Asdourian said:

    America’s atrocious human rights record? You have got to be kidding me! Yes this country is not perfect
    but to compare the record of this country with others is ridiculous. America
    is one of the most generous countries ever known and the Armenians have
    thrived here. As for Obama not recognizing fact, did you really expect
    anything else? I told my fellow Armenians that he is a liar but they ridiculed me.
    Who has the last laugh now?

  7. Rational Armenian said:

    “So, where has that advocacy gone on the Armenian Genocide issue? Is it collecting dust along with her Pulitzer Prize that put her on the map?”

    Please, enough, listen to yourself and how ridiculous you sound. It doesn’t matter what Samantha truly believes and wants to do, or what Barack believes and truly wants to do. They are both in positions that place extensive limits on them. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that it is the system that is the problem, not Barack Obama or Samantha Power. All these Armenians lobbying in Washington who supposedly have PhD’s cannot use their common sense to figure this out. You know what, I think Armenians should run for public office and be appointed to these positions, and then let them see what it is once you get in. Then we can all call them traitors and attack them for not advacing the Armenian cause! Wake up people!

  8. Ara Nazarian said:

    The meaningless recognition of the AG by POTUS is not dependent upon the president or any adviser. It is part of a decision making process that is operator independent. The sooner we recognize this, the better off we’ll be and will stop wasting time and effort on this goose chase.

  9. HebardHigh said:

    Obama and other Democrat leaders lied to us when they needed our vote. I am sure all Armenian politicians, leaders, and Armenians with some common sense knew Obama was lying, but somehow they wanted to be lied. I felt sorry for people like my 87 year old father, who always believed the Armenian papers and he repeatedly told me, “Deghas khoskes lese, ice uncome bidi ella. Amen hay tertere icbes ge kren a. Chor klookh me ellar, Obama-in vote ere.” I was praying to be wrong, because my old father always believed to Armenian papers, especially Asbarez and hayrenik.
    Our papers in 2012 will support Obama again. Armenians like African Americans will always support the Democrat party no matter how many times they would get disappointed of Dems.

    I am not saying the Republicans are better than Democrats. Both parties need Turkey, and they will kiss Turks a@#.

  10. george mooradian said:

    The con man liveth. Don’t ever believe a word that he utters. ENOUGH SAID.

  11. Fred said:

    Who cares if American’s recognise it or not. We should be working in China and getting China to recognise it. They have the guts to say black is black and white is white. Unlike the slaves of the Jewish masters, who only jump when they are told how high by the pathetic Jews.

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