Washington's incoming United Nations ambassador sign of declining diplomatic clout

Pauline Gross
December 9, 2018

President Donald Trump named State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the ambassador to the United Nations on Friday.

Haley surprised White House officials in October when she said she would resign by the end of year, citing the need for a break after two terms as governor and two years at the UN.

Nauert assumed the new high-profile role after holding just one position in government, that of State Department spokesperson, which she held from late April 2017 until now, but this was apparently more than outweighed by her extensive journalistic experience.

When former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was sacked earlier this year, Nauert was promoted to acting under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

In one of her recent tweets, Nauert reflected a tough stance against Russian Federation saying: "Ten days since Russian Federation attacked Ukrainian ships and detained 24 personnel in the Black Sea".

She would be taking the position amid a roster of thorny global challenges, ranging from North Korea's nuclear program to Yemen's starvation and the growing divide between the U.S. and its closest allies over the Iran nuclear deal, climate change and other issues.

In another senior staff shake-up inside his often turbulent administration, US President Donald Trump said on Friday (local time) he has picked the two people he wants to be the next US attorney general and the next US ambassador to the United Nations.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "very much looks forward to working with Ms Nauert when she assumes her post and continuing the very productive and strong working relationship he enjoyed with Ambassador Haley", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. Since Haley announced her departure, the U.S. has become more aggressive in insisting budgets for United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa be frozen or cut. Still, she stands a good chance of approval because after the new Congress begins in January, Republicans will have a 53-47 vote majority over Democrats in the Senate.

"She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she´s going to be respected by all", Trump told reporters.

Nauert, who also was a network correspondent for ABC News, is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Mount Vernon College in Washington.

"Let's remember in large part what has gotten the Israelis and Palestinians to this point, and that is Hamas", she said at a state department briefing last month. The president, who puts a premium on loyalty, earlier hailed Nauert as "a supporter for a long time - really, excellent".

Nauert had little foreign policy experience before taking the podium as spokeswoman for the State Department. In 2007, she re-joined Fox News and eventually became an anchor on Fox and Friends, a show that Mr. Trump watches, has been a guest on and frequently tweets about. The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are.

"With Pompeo more firmly in control and Bolton focused on his anti-multilateral agenda, there's a sense the USA ambassador will have less clout", Gowan said. Then-Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., and others like Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. - now a close Trump ally - hammered Obama for giving a deputy national security adviser job to Ben Rhodes despite his lack of previous experience in those areas.

Other reports by GizPress

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