So, how do large chunks of Obama’s foreign policy fall into the hands of dangerous Leftists like Samantha Power? Stanley Kurtz explains the Obama-Power history well:
It seems reasonable to conclude from his long-term relationship with Power that Obama shares her interest in making humanitarian military interventions more common. Yet the president has said little about this, and the obvious policy implications of his ties with Power are rarely drawn. In his biography of Obama, David Remnick describes the beginnings of the Power-Obama relationship thus: “Obama did not strike Power as a liberal interventionist or a Kissingerian realist or any other kind of ideological ‘ist’ except maybe a ‘consequentialist.’ In foreign policy, Obama said, he was for what worked.”
Here we have the classic protective presentation of Obama. The future president reads a book by a passionately ideological humanitarian interventionist and quickly hires her as his key foreign policy advisor. Yet the obvious ideological implications of this are left entirely unexplored. Instead we are quickly reassured that Obama is nothing but a pragmatist.
There is a germ of truth to the pragmatism claim. Obama doesn’t seem to have a single overarching strategic perspective. Instead he “pragmatically” juggles competing sensibilities on foreign policy, ranging from multiculturalist non-interventionism, to postcolonial exhortation, to humanitarian interventionism, to a political desire to keep foreign-policy problems sufficiently in check to allow a focus on domestic transformation.
That’s right, Barack Obama is willing to sub-contract his foreign policy to fellow leftists like Power in order to concentrate on his stealth socialist domestic agenda. In his brilliant book, Radical-In-Chief (Why haven’t you read it yet?), Kurtz illuminates the way Obama’s foreign policy takes a back seat to a transformational, radical domestic agenda:
Obama’s stance toward foreign policy and cultural issues combines quick and easy progressive changes with a still stronger desire to hold political conflict at bay. The point is to keep side issues stable enough to permit Obama to focus on structural changes to the economy.
For Obama, slow-motion economic transformation (in a socialist direction) is the key to every other change.
Rather than disproving the claim that Obama is a socialist, these [issues] reveal a president clever enough to preserve his political capital for the structural changes that matter most.
The long and the short of it is that Obama saw Samantha Power as enough of a fellow traveler, as it were, to give her a plum position on his foreign policy team. Then he allowed her to shape a major piece of urgent foreign policy while he focuses more intensely on domestic economic transformation.
Major foreign policy decisions in the hands of people like Samantha Power not only make for strange actions like those surrounding Libya, but they could also create hazardous situations involving other nations — namely Israel.