Suddenly, Nikki Haley is America’s foreign policy grownup


This was in The Washington Post over the weekend:

After President Trump said that deporting undocumented immigrants was “a military operation,” Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, speaking in Mexico, clarified that there would be “no use of military force in immigration operations.”

After Trump, standing next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, upended decades of U.S. policy by saying he was open to a one-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East, U.N. envoy Nikki Haley asserted that the United States “absolutely” supports a two-state solution.

And after Trump alarmed European allies by declaring NATO obsolete, Vice President Pence flew to Munich and Brussels, where he reassured a worried continent that the president remains “fully devoted to our transatlantic union.”

One of the unofficial duties of Trump’s Cabinet, it seems, is cleaning up the statements of the man they serve. Five weeks into Trump’s tenure in office, his deputies have found themselves softening, explaining and sometimes outright contradicting the president….

Or, as Jennifer Rubin wrote last week, “Pay no mind to Trump. He’s just the president.”

Perhaps the only hope we have to cling to in this crisis is the fact that most of the world understands that the president of the United States is, for the first time in history, a complete nincompoop (see how I didn’t call him an “idiot” just then), so there’s the possibility of grownups cleaning up his messes before they blow up completely. No guarantee it will work, of course, but there’s the possibility.

Here’s what we’ve come to: Our own Nikki Haley, who had basically zero qualifications for the job of ambassador to the U.N., is now the grownup who has to step in and set things right when the president of the United States screws up on the global stage.

Scary, isn’t it?

I don’t want to take anything away from Nikki by saying that. It’s not her fault she was unqualified for the position. To my knowledge, she never sought the position, and can be forgiven for not having prepared herself for it before it fell in her lap. I applaud how well she’s doing scrambling to catch up. She’s apparently listening to the right people, and doing her best to learn, and I honor her for it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the guy who picked her for the job would do the same thing? But he won’t. He’s destroyed our hopes of his ever doing that, over and over again.

So everyone around him — or the competent ones, anyway, who are too few — will have to keep cleaning up after him, as well as they can for as long as they can. Which is cold comfort…

4 thoughts on “Suddenly, Nikki Haley is America’s foreign policy grownup

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Here’s another item from over the weekend about the same phenomenon:

    President Trump’s new national security adviser doesn’t find the term “radical Islamic terrorism” helpful, the New York Times reported on Friday, while the president has insisted on using such language.

    Individuals who attended Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster’s first National Security Council meeting on Thursday told the Times that the newly appointed adviser thinks the term is not beneficial because terrorists are “un-Islamic.”

    President Trump repeatedly slammed President Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for avoiding explicitly saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump argued that not identifying enemies hinders the fight against terror, while Democrats argue that such words unfairly link Islam with terrorism….

    As I responded on Twitter:

    … and even when he doesn’t. Maybe I should have said, “This is going to happen pretty much any time he chooses someone with a modicum of common sense…”

    1. Margaret Pridgen (Maggie)

      I don’t think the Democrats argument for avoiding the term “radical Islamic terrorism” has much to do with “fairness.” It’s strategic. As Casey Stengel probably never said, “The secret to being a good manager is to keep the guys that hate me away from the ones who are undecided.”

  2. Mark Stewart

    It’s an amazing thing. Makes a Ted Cruz Presidentcy seem like something that would be good for the country.

    But this? This is an unmitigated disaster.

    Now Trump says, wow! health care is SO complex, much more complex than the tax code. I think most aware people have known that for what, three decades if not longer?

    And foreign policy? So hard; and he’s the best at foreign policy. The best.

    Let’s not even get to the civic disaster he brings within our borders in every other area. I’m glad he’s such a great “businessman”, he’ll do well fleecing the taxpayers while he spirals downward. Maybe that will wake them up…


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