Nikki Haley’s First Hurrah

Four months ago, when South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was nominated by the president-elect as US ambassador to the United Nations, I wrote that there was reason to hope she would live up to the legacies of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton as “shining beacons in the Midtown Manhattan snake pit.”

Though at the time, I could not judge whether she was the right person for the job, it appeared that she possessed the kind of moral clarity – and tough skin — required in an arena filled with people whose key purpose is to cloud the distinction between good and evil. Indeed, it takes a special kind of envoy to maneuver the Orwellian universe in which the international body operates, where Western values are on a lower hierarchical rung than third world culture. And where a mockery is made of the concept of human rights, the championing and upholding of which the organization was originally established to safeguard.

One indicator that Haley seemed to fit the bill was that she, the daughter of Indian immigrants who went through legal channels to become Americans, signed a law to crack down on illegal immigration. Another was her introducing legislation to outlaw boycotts, divestment and sanctions “based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin of the targeted person or entity.” Since Israel has been the focus of BDS campaigns everywhere, it was clear what she had in mind. No wonder her appointment caused Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour to flinch.

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Mansour was right to be worried, just as I now believe my high hopes were well-founded, when Haley was confirmed.

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