Polarizing pick: Obama tabs Rice for top security post; Samantha Power to U.N.

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Ms. Power also endorsed what she called a “mea culpa” approach to foreign policy.

In a 2003 essay in the New Republic, Ms. Power said anti-Americanism in foreign countries is a response to “the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others.” She also called for a total “overhauling” of U.S. foreign policy and a “historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States” that she analogized to post-Nazism West Germany.

“Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When [West German Chancellor Willy] Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto [in 1970], his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?” she wrote.

Ms. Power formerly served on Mr. Obama’s national security council with a focus on human rights. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her book “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”

She also has drawn criticism for appearing to have contemplated a U.S. invasion of Israel to protect the Palestinians from a human-rights situation she said was nearing a genocide. Ms. Power contemplated during a 2002 interview sending a “mammoth protection force” even if it would be an imperfect “imposition of a solution on unwilling parties.” She later repudiated those remarks.

That same New Republic essay also talked lightly of reducing U.S. sovereignty in the name of strengthening international institutions.

“Besides, giving up a pinch of sovereignty will not deprive the United States of the tremendous military and economic leverage it has at its disposal as a last resort,” she wrote.

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