South Carolina Govenor Nikki Haley.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If confirmed by the United States Senate, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will become the next American ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Samantha Power in that role.
Because the UN has become worse than a bad joke – giving despotic regimes a say and vote on issues the international body was established to tackle – its US representative has the particularly tricky and important job of leading the West in setting the right moral tone. It is thus not a diplomatic position in the conventional sense. On the contrary, the best US ambassadors have those who make repeated and concerted efforts to put their ill-deserving counterparts in their place, not only through votes and vetoes, but rhetorically, from the podium.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton are prime examples of shining beacons in the Midtown Manhattan snake pit. Whether Haley lives up to that standard is anyone’s guess. But there is reason to hope that she might, in spite of what critics are pointing to as her lack of experience in matters of foreign affairs.
It is clear from Haley’s record, and meteoric rise to her position as the youngest serving governor in the US at the moment, that she possesses the kind of clarity on controversial issues that is required in an arena filled with people whose key purpose is to cloud the distinction between good and evil.
She is a fierce opponent of raising taxes, including – get this – on cigarettes.
She supports school choice and monetary incentives for teachers, to foster excellence.
She led the campaign to have the confederate flag removed from the grounds of her state’s capitol.
She is a right-to-life proponent, voting on two separate bills that would require pregnant women to see their ultrasounds and wait 24 hours before being permitted to have abortions.
She opposed a bill in her state senate which would require transgender people to use bathrooms based on their biological, rather than self-identified sex, viewing the whole thing as a non-issue that should be left alone by politicians.
She signed a law to crack down on illegal immigration, and supports legislation that would require voters to produce photo ID at the polls. As the daughter of Indian immigrants who went through legal channels to become American citizens, she is unapologetic about this stance.
She also introduced legislation that would outlaw the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Though the bill did not mention Israel, its definition of “boycott” – “to blacklist, divest from, or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin of the targeted person or entity” – implies that behavior toward the Jewish state provided part of the impetus for it.
This is why Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon hailed Haley’s appointment, while Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN Riyad Mansour snorted at it.
Finally – ironically – one equally good sign is that Haley initially supported Marco Rubio in the Republican primaries and then Ted Cruz. When Donald Trump became her party’s nominee, she announced she would vote for him, despite her reservations about his character and abilities. She then called on him to release his tax returns, a move that elicited one of Trump’s notorious Twitter offensives.
The above bodes well for two reasons. One is that Haley was not angling to be in the inner circle of the incoming administration. The other is that the president- elect was able to let bygones be bygones and select her for a top spot, based on merit.
When he announced that she was his pick for UN ambassador, Trump described Haley as a “deal-maker” – someone with the ability to “cross the aisle.” Though this is the billionaire businessman’s version of high praise, it is actually not the quality most desirable in a post that demands denouncing and even shunning those whose resolutions are shameful and run counter to American values and superiority.
If she is able to translate his words into the kind of action that gives other member states good reason to follow her direction, however, she will do the office proud.The writer is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.