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Haley’s Petty Threats at the U.N.

Amb. Nikki Haley speaking at AEI Tuesday. (Livestrem/AEI.org)

Nikki Haley offered up her latest reminder that she’s not a good diplomat:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned the international body on Tuesday that the U.S. “will be taking names” when the U.N. General Assembly votes this week on a resolution urging the Trump administration to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more,” Haley wrote on Twitter. “So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

Haley’s petty, threatening remarks compound the embarrassment of the U.S. veto she cast earlier this week. Having lost the Security Council vote 14-1, an effective diplomat would at least be seeking to conciliate and appeal to governments that might be willing to abstain instead of voting against the U.S. position. A smart one would be recommending that the president rethink his position. Instead, Haley directly challenges every member of the U.N. and makes an implicit threat that they will pay a penalty if they don’t vote as the U.S. wants. That will make it very easy for Haley to keep track of the names of all governments that vote against the administration’s position, since it will be almost every single member state.

There is nothing quite so pitiful as having the representative of the world’s lone superpower whining about how mean the other members of the U.N. are being. After Haley risibly defended the veto as a defense of U.S. sovereignty, she can’t expect to be taken seriously when she tries to dictate to the rest of the U.N.’s members how they should vote in the General Assembly. Intimidation tactics usually backfire, and that is especially so when it concerns an issue on which the rest of the world is firmly convinced that the U.S. is in the wrong. Her attitude and her handling of this issue remind us how ill-suited she is for her current position. Haley may be doing what the president wants at the U.N., but for the same reason she is doing a lousy job of representing the United States to the world.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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