Nikki Haley’s dead end

Within minutes of the news that President Trump had accepted U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s resignation, her perennial boosters from within the anti-Trump neoconservative ranks were salivating at what the resignation might portend.

Re-upping from a few months ago.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 9, 2018

Macron resigned from Cabinet in 2016. Elected president a year later. Will be two years for Nikki.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 9, 2018

But while the timing of her announcement was peculiar, there is no evidence to support the notion that her departure was in any sense a pointed rebuke of her boss. Instead, between Haley’s resignation and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)’s transformation into a pro-Kavanaugh attack dog, we should finally be able to lay such fantasies to rest once and for all.

When Haley joined the Trump administration, it was widely understood as an olive branch extended to the #NeverTrump faction of the party. After all, she had clearly if indirectly criticized Trump in her 2016 response to President Obama’s State of the Union, had endorsed Marco Rubio, and was firmly understood to be a George W. Bush-style conservative: pro-immigration, pro-free-trade, and pro-aggressive democracy promotion — all things Trump ran foursquare against.

But while she subtly touted herself as someone capable of nudging Trump away from his worst impulses, this was mostly sensible positioning for herself, both as a diplomat and as a mover and shaker within the Republican Party. In practice, her tenure at the United Nations was marked by a high degree of comity between her goals and Trump’s: They both favored taking a tougher line on Iran, a more accommodating line on Israel, and a critical line toward the U.N. itself on both financial and political matters.

That partly reflects the fact that there’s more continuity between Trump’s nationalism and Bush’s unilateralism than is widely acknowledged by Trump’s neoconservative critics. Both, after all, favored a distinctly undiplomatic approach to diplomacy and a skepticism of the very idea of international law. But it also reflects the simple fact that Cabinet officials serve the president who appointed them, and are chosen because their boss is convinced they will do what he asks.

So Haley’s presence in the Trump Cabinet was less disruptive than her admirers fantasized it might be. And her departure is probably not a sign of either a break with the administration or a radical change to come. …read more

Source:: Politics – The Week

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