UN Nominee Disavows Past Comments on ‘Crimes’ Committed by U.S.

By Alissa Tabirian | July 17, 2013 | 4:52 PM EDT

UN Ambassador nominee Samantha Power (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Under questioning by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Samantha Power, President Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, disavowed her own published comments in which she advocated U.S. intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflict and referred to “crimes” committed by the United States, comparing them to Nazi atrocities.

During a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Power said that although the U.S. has a “national security interest and a moral responsibility to respond to cases of mass atrocity...that does not mean the United States should intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world.”

Instead, she advocated the use of other “tools in the toolbox,” including “diplomatic, economic, arms embargos, radio jamming,” and other alternatives to military intervention. Intervention considerations are guided by the Obama administration’s policy to “Verify, then trust. Deeds, not words,” she added.

But when Rubio asked President Obama’s former foreign policy advisor about interviews and articles she had written that urge U.S. intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflict, she disavowed her own previous comments.

“I have disassociated myself from those comments many times. I gave a long, rambling, and very remarkably incoherent response to a hypothetical question that I should never have answered,” Power responded. “A negotiated settlement is the only course.”

Regarding Power’s comments on “crimes” committed by the U.S., Rubio asked: “Which crimes were you referring to and which decisions taken by the current administration would you recommend for such a reckoning?”

“I would never apologize for America. America is the light to the world. We have freedoms and opportunities here that people dream about abroad,” Power responded.

“Which ones did the United States commit or sponsor that you were referring to?” Rubio persisted.

Sen. Marco Rubio (AP photo)

“Again, sir, I think this is the greatest country on earth. We have nothing to apologize for,” Power replied.

“So you don’t have any in mind now that we’ve committed or sponsored?” Rubio asked.

“I will not apologize for America. I will stand very proudly if confirmed behind the U.S. placard,” Power repeated.

“No, I understand,” Rubio pressed on, “but do you believe the United States has committed or sponsored crimes?”

“I believe the United States is the greatest country on earth. I really do,” Power replied, later admitting that given the opportunity to restate her past commentary, “I would absolutely state it differently.”

Power is no stranger to controversy. She resigned from Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 following the release of her undiplomatic comments about Hillary Clinton. Her public statements questioning America’s behavior toward the rest of the world have led many conservatives to question her influence on U.S. foreign policy and pronounce her unfit to represent the nation in the UN.

CNSNews previously reported on a letter sent to all 50 senators from the Center for Security Policy highlighting “strong concerns about previous statements made by Ms. Power, including those comparing what she viewed as the ‘criminal’ behavior of the United States to that of Nazi Germany, asserting that American power must be subordinated to the dictates of the ‘international community,’ and lumping Israel’s ‘sins’ in the war on terror with those of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.”

During the hearing, Power criticized the UN Security Council’s inaction toward the violence in Syria, calling it “a disgrace that history will judge harshly.” She also criticized “the unacceptable bias and attacks against the State of Israel.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) warned Power about the “unintended consequences” of interventionist policies. “Even though noble intentions I think are yours, be very wary of what intervention means when we intervene. And it’s one thing to send bread, but it’s another thing to send guns,” Paul said.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va), calling Power “blunt and outspoken” and the UN “vague and amorphous,” called for an explanation of the “psychology of the body that makes Israel the perennial punching bag at the United Nations.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) asked Power about her views on gun registry as detailed by Article 12 of the UN Arms Trade Treaty under “record keeping.”

Power vowed she “would never do anything that would infringe on U.S .sovereignty or that would interfere in any way with American law. Second Amendment rights are paramount, American law is paramount, the Constitution is paramount.”

When asked if she believes America is an empire, Power said she believes the U.S. is “a great and strong and powerful country,” restating her position to “defend U.S. sovereignty” if confirmed and to carefully consider other options before intervention. “We are not the world’s policeman,” she said.