Tag Archives: United Nations

No, Mr. POTUS, ‘everyone’ not behind Ivanka for UN post

Dear Mr. President … You’re at it again. You’re putting words in the mouths of millions of Americans.

You’re tweeting goofy messages about whether you’re considering your daughter Ivanka to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

That Twitter message that declares “everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations ambassador.” You add that she would be “incredible” but that you’re already hearing “chants of “Nepotism!”

Well, duh! Do ya think?

First of all, you haven’t called me. Nor have you asked any one of my friends, acquaintances, social media contacts — probably not even those of whom support you and your presidency — about this idiotic notion.

Thus, you purport to speak for Americans about whom you know nothing.

I feel the need to remind you, Mr. President, that more Americans voted against your presidential campaign than supported it. Yes, you were elected with an Electoral College majority and I accept the result.

But, c’mon, will ya? Stop this baloney about “everyone” wanting Ivanka to join the corps of international diplomats. She isn’t qualified.

I mean, haven’t you said that thousands — maybe millions — of Americans are lining up to work in your administration? Doesn’t that imply, Mr. President, that you have the pick of a large field of potential applicants?

If that’s the case — and I find it a dubious assertion at best — then you wouldn’t need to keep floating Ivanka’s name as a possible U.N. ambassador.

Nikki Haley’s resignation as U.N. envoy surprised a lot of us, Mr. President. I actually applaud the manner in which you were able to keep that a secret.

I want to applaud your choice of a successor to the tough-talking former South Carolina governor. Nominating your unqualified daughter to do this difficult job — made even more difficult because of your foreign policy pronouncements — won’t produce any applause from me.

And for the umpteenth time, I implore you to stop putting words in my mouth.

Ivanka won’t seek UN job. Fine, but who would want it?

Ivanka Trump says she won’t be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

She wrote this on Twitter: It is an honor to serve in the White House alongside so many great colleagues and I know that the President will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley. That replacement will not be me.

That’s good to hear. Why? Well, for starters, Ivanka Trump is nowhere close to being qualified for the job that Nikki Haley is leaving at the end of the year. Her only credential is that she is a product of the president’s loins. Period. End of story.

She wouldn’t acknowledge, of course, that any such appointment would be totally inappropriate and that it would hand this highly critical diplomatic post to someone who has no business serving in any official adviser capacity in the White House.

Yet the president, Daddy Trump, has said she would be terrific. She’s up to the job. She’s the tops … he says.

I now will quote fictional Col. Sherman T. Potter: Buffalo bagels.

The task now for the president is to find someone who can work within an administration that suffers from maximum chaos and confusion. What’s more, the president is now being served by a national security adviser, John Bolton, who once said of the UN that you could “lose the top 10 floors” of the UN building and not lose a thing. Oh, and that quip came from a guy, Bolton, who served as ambassador to the United Nations.

The next UN ambassador will have to work with Bolton. And with a president who still has to exhibit any understanding at any level of the nuances of international diplomacy.

Who will Trump nominate for this job? That remains the latest parlor game to occupy idle minds in Washington, D.C. He’ll boast about being able to select from an enormous pool of applicants. Of course, we have no way to know about the size of that pool.

Trump will tell us his applicant pool is h-u-u-u-uge and many Americans will believe him. I won’t.

As for Ivanka’s decision to take herself out of running, man, I hope she can tell her father privately in no uncertain terms that she really and truly means it.

She won’t replace Nikki Haley.

Haley exits in non-Trumpian style

I have to hand it to United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Her resignation, which she announced today in the Oval Office sitting next to the president of the United States, was done without the usual rhetorical public flogging that has accompanied so many of previous Cabinet officials’ departures.

Donald Trump, for instance, notified former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of his firing via Twitter. That came after several days of public speculation about what his future held.

Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt endured weeks of publicity regarding his use of public money; former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price endured much the same kind of (mis)treatment; Veterans Secretary David Shulkin was hung out to dry before he got shown the door.

And, of course, we have staff-level jobs that changed hands in messy, turbulent manners. Chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisers Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster, communications director Anthony Scaramucci, press secretary Sean Spicer … all left amid chaos and confusion.

Haley’s departure was vastly different. It came as a legitimate surprise to the media and to many Trump administration officials.

It goes to show, I suppose, that it actually is possible for the president to keep a secret, given that he knew of her plans to depart several days in advance. It also is possible for him to announce a key administration departure with a semblance of class.

Will it continue? Do not bet the farm on it.

Haley is out as UN envoy; let’s wait for the rush to replace her

Nikki Haley’s resignation as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations opens up a whole new round of speculation about who should succeed her.

I want to stipulate that I am unhappy to see Haley leave this critical post. She is a pro and she comported herself well as the nation’s top UN diplomat. I like the way she stood up to White House chief of staff John Kelly after he said she had gotten “confused” in announcing White House sanctions against Russia; her response: “I don’t get confused.”

Nikki Haley is a grownup in an administration populated by too many sycophants.

But here’s what I am waiting to hear. I am waiting to hear the president tell us of the dozens, maybe hundreds, of qualified applicants pounding on his door wanting to succeed Haley as the UN envoy. You see, he has this maddening habit of embellishing the reputation he and his administration have among career government employees.

The search begins

I have no doubt that Donald Trump will seek to oversell his administration’s standing as he seeks to find someone to replace Haley, who will leave her post at the end of the year.

I am chuckling at the chatter that his son-in-law Jared Kushner is among those who might succeed Haley. Even more ridiculous is that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, might get the nod.

If the president’s need to beat back the horde of applicants is true, then he should be able to find a top-tier, high-quality nominee to succeed Haley at the UN. If he settles on yet another sycophant — say, someone like Kushner or — God forbid — Ivanka, then we’ll know he is lying about that as well.

I’ll lament the pending departure of Nikki Haley in the meantime and wish her well as she takes “time off” and considers her next calling. A former two-term South Carolina governor who stood up to the Confederate flag proponents in her state and performed well on the international stage likely has a bright future.

Do we stay engaged or do we withdraw?

The United States has pulled out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

Donald J. Trump doesn’t like the council’s bias against Israel, nor does he like the human rights records of many of the nations that are members of the council.

The president’s response? He decided to withdraw. He’ll let the Human Rights Council do whatever it does without direct U.S. involvement.

That’s no way to lead, Mr. President. Hey, it’s a form of “leading from behind,” which is what Trump so often accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of doing.

My own preference would be for the United States to stay engaged in the Human Rights Council, exerting pressure on the U.N. body to cease its bias against Israel and to remind many of its members that they have little moral standing to talk about human rights abuses.

I refer to nations such as Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Venezuela, and Cuba as members of the HRC. I get that those nations all have hideous human rights records.

Why does the president want to withdraw from yet another world body? He’s backed out of the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He recently refused to sign the joint communique of the G-7 economic powers that met in Quebec. What’s more, Trump has threatened to launch a worldwide trade war with our most reliable trading partners and allies.

This is how you “make America great”? This is how you “put America first”?

Nope. It’s a prescription for isolating the world’s most indispensable nation from the world community. The Human Rights Council needs improvement, to be sure.

The more constructive posture would be to have our voices heard — at the table.

That’s the spirit … of a closed mind

Oh, this is such a great country. It enables anyone to speak for what passes as their “mind,” no matter how moronic, idiotic or hateful his message might be.

This sign has gone viral throughout the vast social media network. It sits along Interstate 40 near Vega, Texas, a nice town just west of Amarillo. I used to live in Amarillo. This sign has given me my first pangs of relief that I no longer live in a community where this kind of closed-minded thinking is so damn pervasive.

Randy Burkett owns the sign. He runs an outdoor advertising company. He served for two years on the Amarillo City Council. Then, in 2017, he decided against running for a second term. I am one voter who is glad he took a hike and removed himself from elected public office; my hope is that he never returns to the elected public arena — ever again!

There once was a time when this country represented inclusiveness. It welcomed all sorts of thoughts, beliefs, points of view. Sadly, the message displayed on this billboard offers a grim reminder of a thought that used to be expressed openly throughout the Texas Panhandle.

Do you recall the John Birch Society, one of the forebears of what’s been referred to these days as the “alt-right”? Birchers were — and still are — supreme isolationists. They want the United States to pull out of the United Nations. They were the godfathers (and godmothers) of the “America First” movement now espoused by the likes of Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr. They wanted no part of any internationalism in our country. They used to plant signs in Amarillo that demanded that we “Get U.S. out of the United Nations.”

Now we see this kind of message springing up?

It is shameful in the extreme to telegraph this kind of closed-mindedness to the thousands of travelers who blow through the Texas Panhandle daily along I-40.

Yes, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants individuals such as Randy Burkett the right to spew this message. It also gives folks such as me the same right to call it what it is.

Trash.

Earth to Beijing: Taiwan is a nation, not a ‘province’

The People’s Republic of China is engaging in what the White House calls “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is angry at private commercial air carriers because they refer to Taiwan as a “country.”

Oh, brother.

It’s complicated.

Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 after a bloody civil war. The communists kicked the Nationalist Party out of power. The Nationalists moved to Taiwan and set up a separate government. The PRC runs the mainland; Taiwan has taken on a new identity, although it is not recognized throughout most of the world as a sovereign state. China calls Taiwan a “renegade province” and has vowed to take it back — by force if necessary.

Believe me. It is. I’ve been to Taiwan five times since 1989. It is a country.

Thus, the White House’s criticism of the PRC is on point. As The Hill reported: “This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders also vowed that “China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.” 

“The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content,” she said.

Sanders is correct to condemn China for seeking to dictate to private firms how it should refer to countries — and governments — with which they do business.

Taiwan operates in a sort of parallel universe with the rest of the world. The United States withdrew its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan — officially known as the Republic of China — in 1978. The United Nations expelled Taiwan at that time so that the PRC could join the body.

Yet, Taiwan continues to function as a de facto independent nation, although it has never officially declared its independence from the PRC. Taiwan has flourished and has become a vibrant state that functions with many of the trappings of sovereignty without the actual designation.

As for the People’s Republic of China, it need not impose its political will on private firms.

Stand firm, Mme. U.N. Ambassador

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has laid down an important marker to Donald J. Trump.

Do not diss me in public; do not subject me to public humiliation; I will not take it quietly.

Haley, one of the few grownups in the Trump administration’s inner circle, spoke out recently in which she suggested the United States would impose additional sanctions on Russia as punishment for its complicity in the gassing of Syrian civilians.

Then she got her humiliation handed to her by Lawrence Kudlow, the president’s newly appointed national economics adviser. Kudlow suggested that Haley got “ahead of the curve” and might have suffered from some “confusion” over a policy that had been changed without her knowledge.

That is not tolerable to Haley. Nor should it be.

She has referred to Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election an “act of warfare.” She has clashed with other senior Trump Cabinet officials. She has stood her ground.

But now she has drawn her own “red line,” letting the president know that she won’t stand for being called out in the manner she was by Kudlow.

I happen to be in Haley’s corner on this matter.

As this nation’s ambassador to the United Nations, she needs to be kept in the loop at all times on all policies being pondered by the Policy Maker in Chief … the president. Then again, the president needs to show at the very least a sliver of discipline as he blunders through this and/or that crisis, or makes this and/or that policy pronouncement.

Whenever he tweets a policy statement, only to take some or all of it back, the president puts the precious few grownups he has brought on board in a serious diplomatic pickle. Heaven knows that the president has brought damn few competent individuals on board.

One of them, Nikki Haley, deserved far better than she got.

‘I don’t get confused’

Chaos, anyone?

Yep, the Donald John Trump White House is showing its chaotic side once again.

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said out loud that the United States is planning to impose stronger sanctions against Russia as punishment for its complicity in the recent gas attack on Syrian civilians.

Not so fast, said the new national economics adviser, Lawrence Kudlow, who walked Haley’s comments back for her. According to the New York Times: “She got ahead of the curve,” Mr. Kudlow said. “She’s done a great job. She’s a very effective ambassador, but there might have been some momentary confusion about that.”

Told Dana Perino of Fox News, “I don’t get confused.”

There you have it. More chaos within what the president has called a “fine-tuned machine.”

Kudlow apologized to Haley for his remarks. I presume Ambassador Haley accepted his apology. Kudlow then said the policy had changed but no one apparently bothered to tell the U.N. ambassador.

As the Times reported: “As it turns out, she was basically following what she thought was policy,” Mr. Kudlow added. “The policy was changed and she wasn’t told about it, so she was in a box.”

Good grief, man! Nikki Haley has been talking tough about the Russians while the president keeps giving them a pass. Yes, the president ordered those air strikes against the Syrians — and I applaud him for that. He’s also beginning to speak with increasing harshness about Russian policy objectives.

He needs to walk the walk. Economic sanctions against Vladimir Putin and his henchman is one way to demonstrate that the president means what he says.

As for undercutting the nation’s U.N. ambassador, the White House needs to speak with a single voice.

Where is outrage over conventional weapons?

Chris Wallace has posed an perfectly legitimate question to United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

The “Fox News Sunday” host asked Haley this morning why the Trump administration is so willing to use military action against Syria when it uses chemical weapons on its citizens but doesn’t deliver such punishment when the Syrian government kills them with “conventional weapons.”

“That’s an unfair question,” Haley said in her initial response.

Actually, Mme. Ambassador, it’s a perfectly fair question and Wallace was correct to ask it.

For the record, Haley said the United States doesn’t tolerate the use of any weapons, but didn’t respond directly to Wallace’s query about whether the president views chemical weapon use differently than conventional weapon use.

I happen to support the decision to strike at Syria. I believe we responded correctly by aligning ourselves with France and Great Britain and hitting the Syrians in concert with our allies.

My belief now is that we need to reignite some intense diplomatic power to persuade the Syrians it clearly is in their best interests to call a halt to the slaughter in their country.

Oh, and while we’re at it, we also need to ratchet up the pressure on Russia and Iran to cease lending aid to a war criminal — Bashar al Assad — who happens to be the dictator who runs a ham-fisted government in Damascus.

So, here we are. We have pounded the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure. Our forces reportedly delivered crippling damage to it. Ambassador Haley said the strikes have set back Syria’s chemical weapons program by many years.

What about those conventional weapons? When do we draw the “red line” when it involves the hideous use of those weapons on innocent victims?