Samantha Power. Anne-Marie Slaughter. There seems to be a certain Dickensian naming principle at work. Power is noted here. Slaughter is in the New York Review, praising Obama for having and eating his Libyan cake. Our values and interests, friends. Think of them not in mutual exclusion, but as the two halves of a binary explosive--individually inert, but together, well, to use the going term of art: KaBOOM!
Alongside these specific strategic interests, as Obama characterized them, was a more fundamental betrayal of “who we are,” a denial of our values that would cost us our integrity as a nation and as a global leader. That is a reason grounded in both our values and our interests. When the gap between what we say and think about ourselves and what we actually do becomes too great, it can cause a crisis of both national identity and international legitimacy. Obama knows this better than most Presidents; it is why he came to power vowing to reject torture and close Guantanamo (though that has proven difficult to accomplish in practice). During his inaugural address, remember the sense of a weight lifting from our collective shoulders and the roar of applause after the line: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”Slaughter's basic form is apologia, and so it's unsurprising that it takes the form of a vaguely Aquinian cycle--America begets Identity; Identity creates Values; Values require Integrity; Integrity implies Interest; Interest relies upon Action; Action needs Actor; Actor is Obama; Obama defines America. The whole thing is an exercise in shame-faced question-begging. "Who we are" is so essential that no action (except perhaps inaction (unless, of course, "difficult to accomplish in practice")) can but reaffirm the values of that collective personality, which is definitionally good.
You may find this sort of argument terrifically sloppy and wonder how anyone with half a brain is ever convinced, but since the key feature of apologetics is that the apologist argues for something she believes to be self-evident, sloppiness is to be expected. The threat of hellfire makes converts more readily than the drone of logical fallacy, and to understand how these people relate to each other, the key is to think of them less as a debating society or a fan club than as a grotesque bukkakae circle jerk, in whose stick center resides Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya or whatever poor drugged underfed twink has been snatched from the highway underpass to be bathed in the values and interests of America on any given week.