New UN Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made it very clear in her maiden speech to the world body that there is a new administration in Washington that will refuse to conduct UN business as usual.
“There is a new U.S.-U.N.,” she said during her first speech at U.N. headquarters. “We talked to the staff yesterday and you are gonna see a change in the way we do business.”
“Our goal, with the [Trump] administration, is to show value at the U.N.,” added Haley, the former GOP governor of South Carolina. “The way we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well.
“For those who don’t have our back, we’re taking names. We will make points to respond to that accordingly.”
Haley added the Trump White House would help improve the U.N. and reevaluate its goals as an institution.
“This administration is prepared and ready to have me go in, look at the U.N. and everything that’s working, we’re going to try and make it better,” she said. “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. This is a time of strength. This is a time of action. This is a time of getting things done.”
Haley was cleared as America’s U.N. ambassador Tuesday, making her the fourth of President Trump’s nominees to be confirmed by the Senate.
The former governor blasted the U.N. Security Council’s December vote condemning Israel’s settlement building in disputed territories during her confirmation hearing last week.
“Nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel,” Haley said during her Jan. 18 opening remarks.
“Any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers … are we getting what we pay for?”
Haley was questioning America’s funding to the U.N., which constitutes about 22 percent of the global organization’s budget.
Trump, who has also denounced the U.N. Security Council’s vote on Israeli settlement building, called the institution “obsolete” earlier this month.
Such direct and powerful criticism of the UN had not been heard since John Bolton served as ambassador. Bolton’s threatened reforms never materialized because the Democratic Senate and moderate Republicans refused to confirm his recess appointment by George Bush.
Now Haley has an opportunity to use U.S. funding of the UN as a club to force needed changes from top to bottom. She can begin her work by a close examination of the UN secretariat—the vast, sprawling bureaucracy that serves the secretary general. Rife with favoritism, duplication, and sheer waste of money, there may be more corruption uncovered in the secretariat than any other agency or department of the UN.
She might also look at useless boards and commissions like the Human Rights Commission, which gives seats to nations where even lip service to human rights is unknown. Certainly, an examination of the commission on refugees and the UN’s peacekeeping operations is in order. And the wild expenditures for galas and parties should be a primary target of Haley’s.
With the backing of President Trump, Haley may get more done than any other U.S. ambassador as far as important reforms that would bring the UN bureaucracy to heel. As for changing the attitude of nations toward the U.S. and Israel, no doubt Haley will be taking a lot of names.