A Farewell to Ambassador Nikki Haley

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Will Ambassador Haley be missed? Writing in The Intercept, Mehdi Hasan says she was no moderate. Zak Cheney-Rice calls her the “GOP’s Doomed Flirtation with Racial Inclusiveness” and an olive branch to build support among non-white groups. And former UN ambassador  Bill Richardson believes Haley’s statement that she needed a break to be with family–but added “its probably the best job in the administration.”

At the same time, the NYT Editorial Board lays out a balanced case but overall says yes, she managed to hold her own with Rex Tillerson as well as Larry Kudlow, who apologized for his mistake.

While Mr. Trump’s America First policy is a harsh rejection of multilateralism, many United Nations diplomats valued Ms. Haley as a pragmatic envoy who could explain the president to a world confused by the chaos in Washington. She also developed a good relationship with António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, and helped avoid what could have been a breakdown between the United States and the United Nations.

She protected some of the American investment in the United Nations against the most drastic budget cuts sought by the White House, while also working to reform the United Nations bureaucracy, a longtime American bipartisan goal and also a priority for Mr. Guterres. She also managed the effort to pass tough new sanctions on North Korea.

via Opinion | Nikki Haley Will Be Missed – The New York Times

Called “one of the most visible fades of the Trump administration’s foreign policy” Haley lobbied, advocated, communicated, and raised her profile, without a doubt. Now she has resigned.

The French Ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre was quoted in the WSJ as noting her “exceptional political instincts and skills” in bureaucracy-busting moves where she “put the finger right away on the two key questions that nobody wanted to address.”

One part of her legacy may be her “authoritarian approach” playing hardball in working to reform the Human Rights Council. Colum Lynch explains how the US failed to make any progress in Geneva and alienated major NGO groups in an effort to block what many consider to be the groups major weakness in electing countries with poor track records.

Meanwhile, names are being floated as successors: Dina Powell, Richard Grenell, Jon Huntsman, Heather Nauert, Sen. Joe Lieberman but Robbie Gramer reports that her successor will have a hard time measuring up to her impact due to the power vacuum that has been filled by Sec State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The Security Council Intifada | Foreign Policy

How Palestine is making its diplomatic moves using the most powerful UN body:

The flurry of Council diplomacy is part of a broader push by Palestinian diplomats and their supporters to capitalize on international frustration with Israel and to use multilateral institutions as means of pressuring Israel into a policy shift. In recent months, the Palestinian Authority has moved to join a clutch of international organizations and treaties, from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Those moves are starting to pay diplomatic dividends: A meeting of the states that belong to the Geneva Conventions, another treaty Palestine has joined, rebuked Israel’s settlement policies this week. Palestinian officials have also dangled the prospect of joining the International Criminal Court, a step that Israel fears and that Washington has warned against.

This week’s Security Council move is one piece of this broader strategy, but it also marks a new chapter in the Council’s long and tortured relationship with the Middle East.This week’s Security Council move is one piece of this broader strategy, but it also marks a new chapter in the Council’s long and tortured relationship with the Middle East. For almost 70 years, the body charged with maintaining international peace and security has failed utterly to resolve the longstanding conflict. For all the hubbub in New York, there’s little reason to believe this encounter will be any more fruitful.

via The Security Council Intifada | Foreign Policy.

Rejected Seat on U.N. Panel Is Considered by Jordan – NYTimes.com

An update on the open Security Council seat where Saudi Arabia took a pass:

It was the first time that any country had rejected one of the 10 nonpermanent Council seats. The five permanent seats are held by Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The Saudi decision, which could only have been ordered by King Abdullah, reflected his unhappiness over American policy in the Middle East, most notably the embrace of diplomacy in the Syrian conflict and the move toward rapprochement with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s rival.

King Abdullah also was said to be upset over American criticism of the Egyptian military takeover in July that toppled Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist who was that country’s first freely elected president; and with faltering American efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

via Rejected Seat on U.N. Panel Is Considered by Jordan – NYTimes.com.

Why the U.N. Must Vote

An argument for the rule of law, UN reform, and the benefits and limits of collective security–the dominant theory behind the United Nations Security Council:

In the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 and in the United Nations Charter of 1945, the world rejected this system. States were forbidden to enforce the law on their own and had to work through a system of collective security.

For all its obvious failings, the United Nations system has made for a more peaceful world than the one that preceded it. No leader may claim the right to collect debts or gain thrones by going to war. States may fracture into smaller pieces, but they don’t get conquered. Gunboat diplomacy is also out of the question.

The desire to respond to the atrocities in Syria with force is natural. The slaughter of civilians is impossible to watch without feeling morally impelled to act. The dysfunctional Security Council’s refusal to act leaves us feeling helpless in the face of evil.

But the choice between military force or nothing is a false one. Most of international law relies not on force for its enforcement, but on the collective power of nations to deprive states of the benefits of membership in a system of states. Mr. Obama can cut off any remaining government contracts with foreign companies that do business with Mr. Assad’s regime. He can work with Congress to do much more for Syrian rebels and refugees — including providing antidotes to nerve agents, which are in short supply. He can use his rhetorical power to shame and pressure Russia and China.

via On Syria, a U.N. Vote Isn’t Optional – NYTimes.com.

Some Thoughts on the United Nations | Power Games | Big Think

The UN needs updating as much as reform. An outstanding short blog, Power Games, offers this useful précis:

Much has been made of the UN being obsolete and increasingly irrelevant. Is this an assessment that you would agree with, or is it too simplistic and harsh?

There are many reasons why the UN’s credibility suffers: the corruption of high-profile efforts such as the Oil-for-Food Program, the dubious membership of the Human Rights Council, and the failure to do more to stop humanitarian crimes, for example. Given the sheer number of agencies and initiatives that fall under the UN’s auspices, however, it would be misguided to declare the entire organization obsolete. Consider the work of its peacekeeping forces, which, according to Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations, “are deployed in roughly fifteen conflicts around the world to preserve regional security”; or that of the UN Children’s Fund, the UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The UN plays other important roles: the Millennium Development Goals that it articulated in 2000, for example, are widely embraced benchmarks for gauging the modernization of developing countries; documents such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea provide a basis for adjudicating disputes; and UN data and reports shape our understanding of numerous issues, ranging from refugee flows to nuclear safety to climate change. It is also revealing that while countries that seek to use force to achieve their objectives are unlikely to be dissuaded if the UN denies them “permission,” they nonetheless try to secure its imprimatur.

via Some Thoughts on the United Nations | Power Games | Big Think.

Albright on Who Broke the U.N.? | FP.com

On the constant din and hum of reform–and how the UN fits in a US policymakers tool belt from the former U.S. Sec State and Ambassador to the UN:

Americans tend to dislike the word “multilateralism” — it has too many syllables and ends in an “ism.” The reality, however, is that the U.N. is the worlds most visible multilateral organization and has the most members. No one country, even the United States, can tackle the bundle of issues the world faces — from terrorism to nuclear proliferation, economic inequality to environmental degradation.

I often tell my students that American decision-makers only have a handful of tools in the toolbox to achieve the kind of foreign policy they want: bilateral diplomacy and multilateral diplomacy; economic tools; threat of the use of force and use of force; law enforcement; and intelligence. Thats it. I dont believe in multilateralism as an end in itself. But I believe in it as an important instrument of policy. If we start thinking that the United Nations doesnt work, that we dont have to pay our bills, or that everything in diplomacy will turn out exactly the way we want it, we are leaving out an indispensable tool.

via Who Broke the U.N.? – By Madeleine K. Albright | Foreign Policy.

Did the U.N. Security Council just grant amnesty to Yemen’s Saleh? – By Colum Lynch | Turtle Bay

What just happened at the SC?

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to condemn Yemen’s bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters, and endorsed a regional political initiative aimed at securing President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s commitment to leave office.

The passage of the resolution marks the first time the 15-nation council has weighed in on the political crisis, which has played out over more than 9 bloody months.

It placed the U.N. squarely behind a 6 and a half month-old proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that would grant immunity to Saleh and his inner circle if they agree to step aside

via Did the U.N. Security Council just grant amnesty to Yemen’s Saleh? – By Colum Lynch | Turtle Bay.