“You’re going to see a change in the way we do business,” Nikki R. Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said in her maiden address to media personnel after assuming g charge as the US ambassador to the United Nations. “Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our back as well.”
The first ever Indian American to be appointed to a Cabinet post in the US history, ambassador Nikki R. Haley, issued a stark warning last week to allies and rivals abroad, saying in her first remarks at the headquarters of the world body that the Trump administration would hold to account those who do not back the United States. “For those who don’t have our back,” she added, “we’re taking names; we will make points to respond to that accordingly.”
Haley, 45, a former Republican governor of South Carolina and one of Trump’s most outspoken critics during the campaign, had tried to distance herself from some of what Trump has said about international diplomacy. She has said she favors continuing sanctions against Russia, for instance, but also cooperation with the Kremlin on counterterrorism. She has said she is concerned about security threats posed by refugees, and while she said climate change was “on the table,” she said she did not favor policies that imperiled business.
In her brief remarks to reporters, Haley offered no further details in brief remarks to reporters, nor did she take questions, before presenting her diplomatic credentials to the secretary general, António Guterres. A former socialist politician from Portugal who took over the United Nations at the start of the year, Guterres is under pressure to persuade the Trump administration to not gouge the organization and to uphold America’s international obligations, including on climate change.
The United States is the United Nations’ largest single donor, providing 22 percent of its regular budget, according to the terms of an international agreement that sets a country’s contribution based on its wealth. That assessed contribution pays for operating expenses like the electricity bills at its headquarters and human rights investigations in places like Syria and South Sudan. The United States also contributes voluntarily to other United Nations programs, including those that provide food and blankets to refugees fleeing war zones and that immunize children against preventable diseases.
President Trump had dismissed the United Nations as a social club and suggested the United States could cut its funding of the organization’s efforts. His “America first” pledges have raised concerns among diplomats at the United Nations about his commitment to international cooperation. The administration’s antipathy toward the United Nations has been sharpened since a Security Council resolution last month condemning Israeli settlements. Trump and Haley have criticized the Obama administration’s decision not to veto the resolution. And several
Republican senators have supported legislation threatening to defund the United Nations unless the Security Council reverses the terms of the resolution, which Council diplomats say would be politically unworkable.
“This is a time of strength, this is a time of action, this is a time of getting things done,” Ms. Haley said, adding that she was prepared to re-evaluate the United Nations’ efforts.
“Everything that’s working we’re going to make it better. Everything that’s not working we’re going to try and fix. And anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary we’re going to do away with,” she said.