By Jamie Crawford
The United Nations response to the ongoing carnage in Syria has been a "disgrace," Samantha Power, President Barack Obama's nominee as U.N. ambassador, said on Wednesday.
"We see the failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria – a disgrace that history will judge harshly," the former National Security Council staffer said at her confirmation hearing.
The Security Council, of which the United States is a member, has been stymied by Russian and Chinese vetoes for more robust action in Syria.
A former academic on the issue of genocide, Power said it was incumbent on the United States to continue working with the Russians to try to stop one of the "worst cases of mass brutality" she has seen.
Pressed by Republican Sen. John McCain, she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that a resolution by the Security Council to authorize military action in Syria was unlikely in the near term.
Power, who has been criticized for past comments on Israel, told the committee she would continue strong U.S. support for Israel in the global body in the face of resolutions condemning the Jewish state.
"Israel's legitimacy should be beyond dispute, and it's security must be beyond doubt," she said. "I will stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it."
The former journalist and human rights advocate also told the committee that tightening national budgets mandate an examination of programs across the U.N. system and the closure of those deemed wasteful or inefficient.
"As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest contributor, the United States has the right and duty to insist on reform," Power said. "I will aggressively pursue this cause."
Power's nomination is expected to receive Senate approval in the coming days.