Nikki Haley at the UN: “For those who don’t have our back, we’re taking names”
A Trump-ian rhetorical flourish from a new ambassador who can sound pretty un-Trump-y when discussing foreign policy, especially on topics like NATO and Russia. One unintended effect of Obama’s idiotic parting shot at Israel in the Security Council, though, was to put Trump and the hawks in his party on the same page vis-a-vis the UN. Haley doesn’t mention that resolution specifically here but it’s the obvious context for her tough talk, especially with the House having condemned the UN for it a few weeks ago.
Is U.S. funding for the UN going away? According to the Times, a draft executive order is circulating in the White House right now that would roll back U.S. funding for various UN agencies:
The first of the two draft orders, titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” and obtained by The New York Times, calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria.
Those criteria include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, or support programs that fund abortion or any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran or North Korea. The draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that “is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or is blamed for the persecution of marginalized groups or any other systematic violation of human rights.
The order calls for then enacting “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in remaining United States funding toward international organizations.
“The threats to cut funding come as China has stepped up its role at the United Nations, increasing its support for peacekeeping and development aid,” notes the Times. Will a UN with more Chinese influence and less U.S. influence make the institution more of a stumbling block to American interests — or less, by setting in motion a process in which western nations begin to take the organization less seriously? I know which way nationalists like Steve Bannon are betting.
Incidentally, the conventional wisdom is that Haley took this job notwithstanding her foreign policy differences with Trump because it’ll give her diplomatic cred in preparation for a presidential run down the road. That’s probably right, but the more hostile the U.S./UN relationship turns, the more complicated that becomes for Haley. Normally when you’re touting your diplomatic experience, you point to the relationships you’ve built with foreign leaders and the agreements you’ve been able to forge to influence international policy. Depending on how icy Trump’s view of the UN ends up being, though, Haley could spend a lot of time effectively at war with the institution, defending decisions to yank funding, etc. That’s A-OK for a Republican primary candidate, not as appealing for a general-election candidate. And needless to say, the number of relationships and agreements you get to help build as ambassador depends in great part on how often you’re at odds with your colleagues. It’ll be interesting.