Nikki Haley and the U.N.
Richard Gowan comments on Gov. Nikki Haley’s nomination to be ambassador to the U.N.:
Haley, who is by all accounts ambitious and will want to be seen as more than just a Trump proxy, will hopefully try to score some real foreign policy successes at the U.N. rather than simply play to American chauvinist instincts by trashing the place.
Haley’s nomination last week struck me as odd for a couple reasons. The first is that she was a vocal critic of Trump during the primaries, which makes it a bit strange that he would reward her with any position at all, much less one of the first jobs to be announced. The second and more important reason is that she has no foreign policy experience to speak of. Of course, when the president-elect and many of the likely candidates for Secretary of State also have none, that may not be so surprising. Even so, it is worth noting that Haley is unlike most of her predecessors in having virtually no experience with or public record on any of the issues she’ll be asked to address as ambassador.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Haley won’t do a good job, but it does mean that it will be a steeper learning curve for her than it was for many previous ambassadors. Even when the ambassador to the U.N. does have a background of working on these issues, he or she is still hostage to the priorities of the White House and those of the other major powers on the Security Council. Since the job is already a mostly thankless one, the lack of prior experience will just make it harder to have any success.
There is no particular reason to think that Haley is closely aligned with Trump’s views, and her past support for Rubio would suggest just the opposite. That raises the possibility that she would have little influence with the president, but would still be stuck defending administration policies that she doesn’t really support. Regardless, Haley will be linking her fortunes to those of Trump’s foreign policy, and she seems unlikely to benefit politically at home from the association. If she has ambitions for other offices, this may prove to be a rather fruitless detour for the next few years.