Ha­ley says Trump’s tough line al­ready bear­ing fruit at U.N.

En­voy says pres­i­dent’s un­pre­dictabil­ity an as­set in ne­go­ti­at­ing with U.N.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALEX ZIETLOW

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tough line on the need for re­form at the United Na­tions has ef­fec­tively put the world body “on no­tice,” U.S. Am­bas­sador to the U.N. Nikki Ha­ley said Wed­nes­day, telling a Capi­tol Hill hear­ing that Pres­i­dent Trump’s un­pre­dictabil­ity is an as­set be­cause other coun­tries can no longer take Amer­i­can help and Amer­i­can money for granted.

In a lengthy pre­sen­ta­tion be­fore a large au­di­ence at the House Com­mit­tee on For­eign Af­fairs Wed­nes­day, the former South Carolina gover­nor re­sponded to crit­i­cisms hurled from both sides of the aisle, rang­ing from how to han­dle the un­fair hu­man rights bi­ases in Is­rael to how to end Syria’s civil war. Through it all, she ar­gued Mr. Trump’s un­con­ven­tional ap­proach to diplo­macy is ad­vanc­ing U.S. in­ter­ests at the U.N. de­spite some out­ward signs of con­flict.

“We work very well to­gether, and we work closely to­gether,” Ms. Ha­ley said of U.S. re­la­tions with the U.N., which Mr. Trump has called an “un­der­per­former” with “great po­ten­tial.”

“And while we don’t plan word-for­word talk­ing points, we’re all mov­ing in the same di­rec­tion,” Ms. Ha­ley said.

Ms. Ha­ley de­fended the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s 2018 U.N. bud­get re­quest, which has been crit­i­cized by Democrats and Repub­li­cans on Capi­tol Hill this week. The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest for $996.4 mil­lion for the ac­count that funds the U.N. reg­u­lar bud­get and ma­jor U.N. agen­cies is more than 30 per­cent be­low the cur­rent fis­cal year’s es­ti­mate fund­ing, and there is a ma­jor cut to the U.N.’s peace­keep­ing ac­count — $1.196 bil­lion, com­pared to the FY 2017 es­ti­mate of $2.45 bil­lion.

Mr. Trump’s bud­get was “mak­ing a point,” Ms. Ha­ley ar­gued, “and it worked.”

She added: “I’ve used that as lever­age, be­cause now we’re see­ing a lot of the other coun­tries come for­ward and say, ‘Yes, we should do re­form.’ When it comes to peace­keep­ing re­form, they have worked with us on ev­ery sin­gle re­newal to change it, to make it smarter, to make it bet­ter for the peo­ple.”

There were even ten­ta­tive signs the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s hard line was pro­duc­ing re­sults as diplo­mats an­nounced a ten­ta­tive deal to cut nearly $600 mil­lion from the U.N. peace­keep­ing bud­get Wed­nes­day, re­duc­ing the bud­get to $7.3 bil­lion on peace­keep­ing in the com­ing year.

Some Democrats ar­gued that Mr. Trump’s pref­er­ence for one-on-one ne­go­ti­a­tions over mul­ti­lat­eral fo­rums like the United Na­tions could cause prob­lems for U.S. for­eign pol­icy. Rep. Gre­gory W. Meeks, New York Demo­crat, said the ap­proach un­der­cut U.S. abil­ity to cham­pion hu­man rights as Mr. Trump forged per­sonal ties with au­thor­i­tar­ian lead­ers in coun­tries such as Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia and China.

“It seems to me that the ac­tions of the pres­i­dent of the United States make your job a very dif­fi­cult job be­cause you’re sup­posed to be work­ing with ev­ery­one,” Mr. Meeks said to Ms. Ha­ley. “And with the de­crease in con­fi­dence in the United States, it seems to me that that would com­pli­cate your job to ad­vance our na­tional in­ter­est.”

Also dur­ing the hear­ing, Ms. Ha­ley: ● Said she had not spo­ken to Pres­i­dent Trump about the scan­dal sur­round­ing Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion be­cause it was not part of her job re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as U.N. am­bas­sador.

● Crit­i­cized the U.N.’s treat­ment of Is­rael and the pres­ence of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tors such as Venezuela on the U.N. Hu­man Rights Coun­cil. The coun­cil can­not be a place where “bad ac­tors go to pro­tect them­selves.”

● Praised the Trump White House’s un­usual pre­emp­tive warn­ing to Syria Mon­day night against launch­ing any new at­tacks us­ing chem­i­cal weapons, say­ing the warn­ing had clearly had an im­pact on the regime of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad. “I would like to think the pres­i­dent saved many in­no­cent men, women and chil­dren,” she said.

● Shot down re­ports that she was plan­ning to move the U.S. U.N. mis­sion to her boss’ high-pro­file Man­hat­tan property af­ter va­cat­ing the Wal­dorf-As­to­ria af­ter it was bought by a Chi­nese owner. “I’m not mov­ing to Trump Tower,” she said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

U.S. Am­bas­sador to the U.N. Nikki Ha­ley said that Pres­i­dent Trump’s stand on re­form at the U.N. is work­ing as coun­tries can no longer take Amer­i­can help for granted.

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