As the Trump administration’s foreign policy agenda remains unclear, all eyes have been focused on Nikki Haley, America’s new envoy to the United Nations. While Haley took a tough stance on Iran, North Korea and Russia, it remains to be seen how this will be translated into policy and how extensively she will deviate from the Obama administration’s position on world crises, from Yemen to Syria. Haley on Thursday in New York provided a glimpse into the Trump administration’s foreign policy agenda, telling reporters that the U.S. is no longer focused on overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and that it may seek to work more closely with Russia and Turkey to address the crisis in Syria, Agence-France Presse reported. “You pick and choose your battles,” Haley said.
Haley the former governor of South Carolina, will take on the presidency of the 15-member council in April and will face immediate challenges both from the Trump administration, which intends to cut U.S. financial support to the world body, and from Russia and China, which are likely to oppose her plans to hold a council meeting on human rights. “It will be very telling if any country tries to block this debate,” Haley told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday.
In contrast to Trump, who pledged to form closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he first took office, Haley has followed her predecessor, Samantha Power, in condemning Russia for its invasion of Crimea and for shielding the Syrian government from council action. Emphasizing the firm stance she intends to take in the new role, Hayley told a conference of the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobbying group on Monday, “For anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”
Her counterparts on the Security Council will be watching closely to see how she follows up this rhetoric, particularly in light of how unclear the Trump administration’s foreign policy stance remains. Speaking with The Huffington Post on condition of anonymity, one senior council diplomat said, “There’s only two subjects where there is some kind of determined policy: the Middle East and also [U.N.] budget cuts, especially peacekeeping’”
Some remain skeptical of Haley’s capacity to deliver on her tough-talking debut. Speaking to The Huffington Post another Security Diplomat said, “There is a gap between her tough public posturing, designed for domestic consumption, and her positions within the U.N. … She will have to close this visible gap.”
Next week Nikki Haley will appear onstage at the 8th annual Women in the World New York Summit where she will discuss her new role as one of President Trump’s top diplomats. If you can’t be in New York to see the Summit, you can watch every minute of the three-day event on our homepage.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.