Is Nikki Haley looking to move up?

Despite her lack of prior foreign policy experience, people who know Haley say they are not surprised by how she has performed.


2017/09/24 Issue: 124 Page: 2


The Arab Weekly
Mark Habeeb



While the world’s atten­tion focused on US Presi­dent Donald Trump’s high-level meetings and his first address at the UN General Assembly, observers in Washington were also closely watching Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

Haley, the 45-year-old former governor of South Carolina, had no foreign policy experience be­fore assuming her diplomatic post in January. Since then, however, she has proven to be politically adept and forceful in defence of the Trump administration’s agenda. Many people say Haley is the most likely candidate to replace US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who officially is her boss, should Tillerson resign or be squeezed out.

Many also say that she aims to one day run for the White House.

Haley, who was born Nimrata Randhawa, is the daughter of Indi­an Sikh immigrants from Punjab. She is the first Indian-American to hold a cabinet-level position in the US government and only the second to be elected governor of a US state.

Among her successes at the United Nations were twice per­suading the UN Security Council — including China and Russia — to tighten sanctions against North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s missile tests. Her efforts were praised by both Republicans and Democrats in Washington, as well as by top US allies.

Despite her lack of prior for­eign policy experience, people who know Haley say they are not surprised by how she has per­formed. Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group consultancy, said: “Nikki is a politician and has worked as a politician her whole life. She’s more flexible and will­ing to be charismatic. The lack of experience has not hurt her.”

Haley has strongly supported Trump’s hard-line position towards Iran — in contrast to Till­erson’s more measured approach — and is believed to support US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran. She has argued that, under the deal, the world will be facing “another North Korea” within a decade.

She also is outspoken in her support for Israel. In her first ad­dress to the United Nations as US ambassador, she said: “Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.”

While he was in New York, Trump was accompanied by Haley nearly as often as he was by Tillerson, even though Tillerson is by far a more senior official. Moreover, prior to the president’s New York meetings, it was Haley and national security adviser H.R. McMaster who briefed the media.

Haley has consistently denied that she would like to be secretary of state and she was reportedly of­fered and refused the position by Trump before he took office. That was before her UN experience, however, and before she had de­veloped a taste for diplomacy. Her strong showing in New York may lead her to reconsider if Trump were to make the offer again.

“She would be a more capable spokeswoman for the Trump ad­ministration’s foreign policy [than Tillerson],” said Bremmer.


Mark Habeeb is East-West editor of The Arab Weekly and adjunct professor of Global Politics and Security at Georgetown University in Washington.


As Printed
MENA Now
Editors' Picks

The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

Managing Editor: Iman Zayat

Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor: Mamoon Alabbasi

Senior Editor: John Hendel

Chief Copy Editor: Richard Pretorius

Copy Editor: Stephen Quillen

Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

Syria and Lebanon Sections Editor: Simon Speakman Cordall

Contributing Editor: Rashmee Roshan Lall

Senior Correspondents: Mahmud el-Shafey (London) & Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

Regular Columnists

Claude Salhani

Yavuz Baydar

Correspondents

Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

Dunia El-Zobaidi (London)

Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

Thomas Seibert (Washington)

Chief Designer: Marwen Hmedi

Designers

Ibrahim Ben Bechir

Hanen Jebali

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Contact editor at:editor@thearabweekly.com

Subscription & Advertising: Ads@alarab.co.uk

Tel 020 3667 7249

Mohamed Al Mufti

Marketing & Advertising Manager

Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

www.alarab.co.uk

Al Arab Publishing House

Kensington Centre

177-179 Hammersmith Road

London W6 8BS , UK

Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

Follow Us
© The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved