Haley casts herself as Trump's leading diplomat


The New York Times writes of the former South Carolina governor, "Once a Trump Critic, Nikki Haley Casts Herself as His Leading Diplomat."

UNITED NATIONS - Before and after he became president, Donald J. Trump made it pretty clear that he didn't see much value in the United Nations. So when he named Nikki R. Haley as his choice for United Nations ambassador, many wondered whether he was simply shunting a tough critic into a trivial post.

In the past week, Ms. Haley made it increasingly clear that she has no intention of being sidelined. To the contrary, as diplomats at the United Nations saw it, she managed to elbow herself into a leading, outspoken role in the Trump administration.

Diplomacy is as much theatrics as it is dialogue. And Ms. Haley, 45, a former governor of South Carolina, has created at least the impression among her fellow ambassadors that she is carving out a space for herself in an administration where it isn't always clear who is guiding contentious policy. The French ambassador, Fran ois Delattre, concluded Thursday evening that she was "clearly very influential in the Trump administration."

Is she actually setting foreign policy? That would be highly unusual for any envoy to the United Nations. But in these unusual days, vital positions in the State Department remain vacant, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is far more distant from the public than his predecessors, and many American embassies are still without an ambassador.

That, say current and former American officials, seems to have given Ms. Haley, a neophyte in foreign affairs who works closely with a small band of trusted political aides, a great deal of visibility and, possibly, latitude.

- - -

Open Russia coordinator Vladimir Kara-Murza in "Answering the Kremlin's Challenge," an essay from an upcoming World Affairs book:

There is a growing appreciation in capitals around the globe ... that nothing will change until Mr. Putin's regime is replaced by a democratic government.

That task, of course, must be undertaken by Russian citizens alone. Yet, while outsiders should not attempt to shape political events inside Russia, neither should they enable Mr. Putin and his kleptocrats by providing safe harbor for their illicit gains. For the many striking parallels between the Soviet system and the current regime in Russia - from political prisoners to media censorship - there is also a crucial difference: while they were persecuting dissenters and engaging in anti-Western propaganda, members of the Soviet Politburo did not store their money in Western banks, send their children to Western schools, or invest in luxurious real estate in Western countries. Those who rule Russia today treat their citizens in ways expected of third-world dictatorships, but choose the freedoms and protections of the West when it comes to their own families and their ill-gotten money.

Notable & Quotable is compiled by Graham Osteen. Contact him at graham@theitem.com.