01:49 GMT +316 December 2018
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    South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley testifies during her confirmation hearing for US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

    ‘Haley Didn’t Win Friends for America at UN’ - Ex-Diplomat

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    US President Donald Trump said he's considering former White House adviser Dina Powell to serve as the next US ambassador to the United Nations. Powell is currently a Goldman Sachs executive. This comes after current US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said she would leave her post at the end of this year.

    Sputnik talked about Nikki Haley's resignation with Tony Kevin, a former Australian diplomat and author of the book "Return to Moscow."

    Sputnik: What can you say about Nikki Haley's resignation and what are your thoughts about some of the reasons she may have chosen to do so?

    Tony Kevin: I get the impression that her sense of timing was very thoughtful, she's a clever woman politically and she knew exactly what she was doing. She left after two fairly successful years as ambassador to the UN, I'll qualify that in a moment by telling you how I define success. She left on her own terms, she left with apparent evident goodwill from Trump and she's keeping her options open for the future.

    I think there would be several factors in her decision; she's not a wealthy woman, she's a child of Indian immigrant parents who came to America with very little and made a small fortune in America, her husband is a Marine, a war veteran, not a very rich man.

    I think she's obviously got political ambitions, she had six years as Governor of South Carolina, which she did a pretty good job at really, as an immigrant woman governing a Southern American state and doing it quite skillfully, and then her two years at the UN. She's made it clear that she's not going to send stand for president in 2020 and that would be quite premature, but who knows what the future might hold after that.

    I would say that she's probably got the prospect of a Senate seat sometime over the next couple of years and she might take over from Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina seat if he moves on to something else, and of course, that would be a lifetime career appointment to be a senator.

    READ MORE: Why Did Nikki Haley Unexpectedly Resign as UN Ambassador?

    Sputnik: What are your thoughts about the fact that she did this right before the midterms and didn't wait until afterward? This was October 3rd, midterms are November 6.

    Tony Kevin: I think it's more important to ask the question why didn't she do it six months ago when two very right-wing, hard appointments came in — Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. The point is that until those two men came in, she had been the hardliner, the very pro-Trump loyalist in a lineup which contained moderates, like Tillerson and McMaster; with Tillerson and McMaster being replaced by Pompeo and Bolton, she suddenly [was] sort of outflanked and it is reported that she wondered whether she was doing very much for herself by staying on.

    I think the fact that she did stay on through all the Kavanaugh crisis shows her loyalty to Trump, that she stood by him during those very difficult months with the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination. Why she's not waiting until after the midterm, probably, [is] because she feels that if Trump goes backward in the midterm, she wouldn't want to be appearing to be leaving him after he'd gone backward, so I think her timing has been pretty good.

    Also, I think for her to stand alongside Trump immediately after he's been excoriated to by so many American women for the way he handled the Kavanaugh crisis, I think Trump will remember that with some gratitude that she stood by him.

    READ MORE: Ironic if Conservative Nikki Haley Would be First Female US President — Prof

    Sputnik: What can you say about her legacy that she will leave behind when she leaves in January? What kind of a UN ambassador was she?

    Tony Kevin: I think she was a very mediocre ambassador, judged by the normal standards of diplomacy, she didn't win friends for America, she seemed to be more interested in proving her toughness to the White House, proving her loyalty to the White House, than in extending America's prestige and global influence as a diplomat. I don't think she ever really wanted to understand diplomacy or wanted to understand multilateral diplomacy, and as she put it, she put her body armor on when she went into the UN to work each day, and I think she saw it as a hostile arena, and I think she conveyed that impression to her colleagues.

    The Russian ambassador was very polite about her today, Mr. Nebenzia, but the Russian ambassadors are usually polite, and I think privately he would hope for someone to succeed her who was a little bit more of a traditional diplomat.

    Sputnik: What can you say of her accomplishments, good or bad; what will she be remembered for?

    Tony Kevin: She will be remembered for regrettably pursuing Trump's "America First" policies in the UN arena; she will be remembered for aggressively confronting Syria, in particular, over the civil war issues, for regrettably confronting Iran over the questions of what would happen on the sanctions policy as the Trump administration prepared to walk away from it (the Iran nuclear deal), for regrettably confronting Russia every time it had to do with Ukraine.

    She won't be remembered with great fondness, I don't think, in the UN, but I don't think that matters to her. For her, this was a job that had to be done because Trump asked her to do it and I think she saw it as a way of polishing her credentials as a Republican woman back in the United States.

    Views and opinions expressed in the article are those of Tony Kevin and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

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    resignation, election, UN, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, John Bolton, Donald Trump, United States
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