Samantha Power at Senate Confirmation Hearing

On July 17, 2013, Samantha Power appeared before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing to become the next United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Ms. Power won her committee vote 16-2, clearing the way for a vote on her nomination in the full Senate. 

In her opening remarks, Ms. Power stated: "If I am given the privilege of sitting behind America's placard, you will be able to count on me. I will tirelessly promote and defend U.S. interests. I will be a blunt, outspoken champion of American values and of human rights." She further voiced her determination to pursue reforms at the United Nations and to stand up for American freedoms and values. Ms. Power registered caution about the limits of the United States' power to respond to the world's most tragic crises: "I believe that America cannot – indeed, I know that America should not – police every crisis or shelter every refugee. While our goodwill knows no bounds, our resources are, of course, finite – strained by pressing needs at home. And we are not the world's policemen. We must make choices based on the best interests of the American people, and other countries must share the costs and burdens of addressing global problems."

A former foreign policy adviser to President Obama, Ms. Power is a vocal human rights advocate who won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide." When asked by Senator Shaheen (D-NH) to discuss how the Dayton structure has made long-term resolution difficult in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which is currently plagued with inaction and a lack of political will in the leadership, Ms. Power stressed how important it is to remember that the country is now at peace and that American leaders should be proud of stopping the war in 1995. She explained that, "The war in Bosnia did not end because the UN acted; it ended because President Clinton, backed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, including Senator McCain, took robust action." As a former journalist who covered the wars in former Yugoslavia, Ms. Power said that she saw a different side of the United Nations in the Balkans. After stating that the United States has "a moral responsibility to respond to mass atrocities," such as genocide, Ms. Power vowed to give meaning to the phrase "never again."

There is no doubt that, if confirmed, Ms. Power will inherit a very active and difficult agenda at the United Nations. ACBH commends Ms. Power for her impressive credentials, qualifications, and service, and hopes that she will continue to excel as a vocal advocate for human rights around the world.