Samantha Power speaks at the UN General Assembly Hall in January 2014.
Courtesy Reuters

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is the rare political figure whose fame does not depend on the office she holds. A Problem From Hell, her 600-page indictment of the U.S. government as an essentially amoral bureaucracy that “functioned” to assure genocide went unchallenged, won her the Pulitzer Prize and a place as one of the country’s most recognizable foreign-policy intellectuals. 

Fame proved a useful means for Power to spread her message -- that when it came to upholding the “never again” ideal, the United States was impeded by a lack of will, not a lack of knowledge or influence. But as she's moved into politics -- first as a White House adviser, from 2009 to 2013, and then as UN ambassador -- notoriety has become a complication. Many of Power’s ardent fans judge the Obama administration harshly by what they understand as her own standards. By the time

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