It’s not enough for the Obama administration to embrace some of the most aggressive national security policies of the Bush Administration – it has, apparently, decided it must embrace neoconservative rhetoric, too.
In her confirmation hearing this week, Samantha Power, the President’s nominee to lead the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, said she would confront “repressive regimes” and contest “the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”
The comments, which were endorsed by the State Department, predictably outraged the democratically elected Venezuelan government and undermined ongoing negotiations aimed at restoring relations.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is terminating the process that was started during the conversation in Guatemala, which was aimed at regularizing our diplomatic relations,” Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement issued yesterday.
And they have every right to be upset at Power, and the State Department for backing her, here. Her comments about Venezuela are extraordinarily dishonest. She didn’t include theocratic U.S. ally Saudi Arabia when rattling off a list of “repressive regimes,” for example. Nor was her endorsement of a Security Council seat for the “repressive regime” occupying and ethnically cleansing Palestine anything but genuine.
Hypocrisy aside, Power’s assessment of Venezuela, too, is completely off base. On July 17th, twenty-eight scholars endorsed an “Open Letter to the Media” addressing this sort of sentiment, blasting broadbrush statements about Edward Snowden’s pursuit of asylum in Venezuela and Ecuador being ironic:
Most consumers of the U.S. media unfortunately don’t know better, since they have not been to these countries and have not been able to see that the majority of media are overwhelmingly anti-government, and that it gets away with more than the U.S. media does here in criticizing the government.
The letter is well worth reading in its entirety if for no other reason than the fact that it could have been republished as “An Open Letter to Samantha Power” just days later.