March 13, 2018


Candidate Haley: The portrait that emerges is of a retail politician turning U.N. diplomacy into a ticket to the White House. (COLUM LYNCH, MARCH 9, 2018, Foreign Policy)

Over the winter holidays, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations got around to hanging the official portrait of Ambassador Nikki Haley alongside the images of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in its lobby in New York.

But there was something, or someone, missing. In the spot where the portraits of America's previous top diplomats, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, once hung was an unused picture hanger. The U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had been essentially airbrushed out of this American diplomatic tableau.

The elimination of America's top diplomat from the mission's lobby gallery highlighted the contentious nature of relations at the top of the president's diplomatic team, as well as the unique nature of Haley's tenure as U.S. ambassador.

The first Republican Cabinet-level U.N. ambassador since the end of the Cold War, Haley has rejected the traditional chain of command that grants the secretary of state the primary policymaking role, and she has made it clear she will accept nothing less than to be Tillerson's equal. Her voracious pursuit of the spotlight, meanwhile, has elevated her national profile and strengthened her prospects for higher political office should she decide, as many suspect she will, to pursue the American presidency.

"Overall, the consensus in Republican national security circles is that she has done herself a huge favor by taking this position and going to New York," says Daniel Vajdich, a Republican foreign-policy expert who advised the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz. "She can be a very popular candidate in 2020 or 2024."

Posted by at March 13, 2018 4:39 AM