By Edmond Y. Azadian
Anyone who wishes to avoid being ridiculed must refrain from seeking morality among politicians and in politics. One day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are at each other’s throats, the next Mr. Erdogan arrives in Moscow and grovels, and thus, Russian-Turkish relations hit the reset button.
Astonishing flip-flops happened during and after the recent presidential election in the US. One of Donald Trump’s fiercest critics, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, reached out to the president-elect to congratulate him and beg him to be considered for a position in the incoming administration. Similarly, House Speaker Paul Ryan was not far off from Romney in his vitriolic attacks on Trump, only to turn around after his win and announce that Trump had clearly heard a voice that nobody else had with his campaign.
When major statesmen make such spineless U-turns in politics, they pave the way for diplomats in lower echelons to master the art of the flip-flop.
One example of such a supple spine is Samantha Power, the outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations. She is an erudite scholar with degrees from Harvard and Yale. She caught the attention of Barack Obama and the Armenian community when she published her seminal work on the issue of genocide in the modern times, titled A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide. The Armenian Genocide was prominently featured in the book, in its proper parameters, along with the Jewish Holocaust, and the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides. She hit a peak with the work, winning a Pulitzer Prize. In 2004, Time magazine counted her among the 100 most powerful women in the world, while Forbes magazine ranked her as the 41st most influential woman in the world.
Power was the senior advisor to then-Senator Obama until March 2008 during his primary run, when she was forced to resign from his presidential campaign, after the Scotsman published her comments calling primary foe Hillary Clinton a “monster.” Later she apologized, saying that those words “do not reflect my feelings about Senator Clinton, whose leadership and public services I have long admired. … of course, I regret [the statements]. I can’t even believe they came out of my mouth.”