- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2013

President Obama wasn’t kidding when he told the Russian president that he expected to have “more flexibility” in his second term. Choosing Susan E. Rice as his national security adviser and Samantha Power as ambassador to the United Nations shows the president with the flexibility of a wet noodle.

It’s actually worse than that. The Power and Rice foreign-policy team is about soft-pedaling the threat of radical Islam to America and the West. It’s the underpinning of Mr. Obama’s celebrated (by the left) “lead from behind” strategy. The president of the United States bows deeply to foreign leaders of Muslim nations, delivers abject-apology speeches in Cairo and enables a flood of dubious immigrants from countries where burning the American flag is the national pastime. Some strategy.

The new appointments are a slap in the face of congressional investigators who are looking into the strategic missteps that led to the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including an American ambassador. Mrs. Rice went on every Sunday morning talk show after the terrorist attack to insist that YouTube, not al Qaeda, was responsible.

It was clear from the first minutes of the attack that it had no connection to a video, however tasteless and offensive to Muslims. The Libyan president, Mohamed al-Magariaf, said so on CBS. The attack on the U.S. Consulate, he said, was “planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”

Moments later on the same “Face the Nation” program, Mrs. Rice sharply contradicted the Libyan president: “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.” Calling a head of state a liar, and on television watched by much of the world, was something new in smart diplomacy. Moreover, the Libyan president was telling the truth. A number of senators found Mrs. Rice’s conduct so outrageous that the idea of her succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, as the president wanted, was quickly shot down. By promoting her anyway, Mr. Obama demonstrates he’s doesn’t really want friends on Capitol Hill.

Nor does it appear that he is interested in mending his strained relations with America’s only true ally in the Middle East. Samantha Power has been so impolitic in her talk about how to resolve tensions in the region that giving her a lead role at the U.N. is an insult to Israel. She told an interviewer at the University of California five years ago, when she was a key adviser to Mr. Obama’s first campaign, that American aid for Israel should be spent on “the new state of Palestine, in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support, I think, what will have to be a mammoth protection force.” In other words, American soldiers to invade and discipline those uppity Jews.

The president doesn’t need anyone’s approval of his personal adviser on national security; he can continue to take Susan Rice’s advice and counsel for what he thinks it’s worth. But the Senate must confirm Samantha Power as America’s voice at the U.N. She will be in her element at the U.N., where a noisy collection of sorehead delegates dream of the death of the Jewish state. America deserves better, even if the U.N. doesn’t. The Senate must look closely at this nomination.

The Washington Times