Deborah Porter, Foreign Policy Contributor
Against the flurry of executive orders and press statements that have underscored the Trump presidency, Americans seem to have forgotten our allies’ and enemies’ concerns about the United States’ ideas of diplomacy. Although some people like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been publicly working with nations like China, it is incredible that all our allies’ concerns about diplomatic relations have been answered. What possibly could Trump’s administration have done to reassure our allies? The answer is that Trump picked one of the best people to fulfill the role of permanent UN ambassador. That person is Nikki Haley.
Nikki Haley was governor of South Carolina, and supported Marco Rubio during the presidential primary. Having said that Trump was “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president,” she still voted for him in the presidential election. Still, she was surprisingly one of the first individuals interviewed by Trump for one of the Cabinet positions, with people at the time suggesting she might be a good Secretary of State. However, on November 23rd, she was nominated as the UN ambassador, a job which critics said she could flounder in due to her lack of experience in foreign policy. However, I believe Haley has successfully quashed all those doubts, and also kept her strength, determination, and propriety in her new job.
Some people had their doubts that Nikki Haley could work under Trump, especially since she blatantly criticized him during the presidential primary. However, even Trump has said that Haley is doing an “awfully good job” in the UN. She has the unique ability of assuring our allies that we are on their side and will defend them, as well as interpreting Trump’s confusing statements on foreign policy. While she cannot enact policies in the UN, she clearly defends the United States’ opinions to the press, and has become a beacon of hope for the normally useless UN. Arguably, she is revolutionizing the way the UN operates by forcing them to think outside of the box and function as a large think tank of international diplomats that could jointly come up with innovative solutions. That approach alone has the potential to change how the UN works, which in turn may make the US less inclined to pull funding, as I once argued they should. However, if Nikki Haley is successful in revolutionizing the UN, then paying our part would be quite worth it.
Concerning Israel especially, Nikki Haley has done an excellent job of determining the problem and developing a solution. Specifically, she’s following what engineers call the engineering design process, which consists of clearly defining the problem, brainstorming a solution, implementing that solution, and then revising as necessary. This is exactly what Haley has done for the conflict in the Middle East. Repeatedly in her statements to the press, she provides problems that the UN has not addressed in the region, proving that the UN isn’t fully addressing the problem there. One problem she has condemned the UN for, in the case of Israel and Palestine, is the international organization’s anti-Israel bias. Her solution is that the United States will be there to provide a platform for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and that the UN should move onto problems they can actually solve. This seems logical, but the UN has not functioned this way for years. Haley has challenged the status quo, an action that is starting to be well received by many nations.
Furthermore, Haley has taken steps to challenge Russia in what they do wrong. The media likes to paint the Trump administration as having too many connections to Russia, and Haley will have none of that in her voting and her statements. In the UN ambassador’s house, logic and truth rule, and if Russia votes to ignore the use of chemical weapons, then she’ll call them out on it. Logic and truth are excellent persuasion tactics, and Haley is dedicated to using them in Security Council.
Nikki Haley will do well in the UN, despite no background, no experience, and no one initially on her side, because she has long since found that the most observant, logical, truthful, and dedicated country will gain the strongest allies. It’s a concept foreign to the Security Council, but necessary for ideal functionality. Haley’s UN will be the standard of procedure for those who want to get things done in the years to come.
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