Filling Nikki Haley’s Shoes: Van Hipp

Nikki Haley has been a strong voice for America on the international stage. At the United Nations, she took what had become largely a ceremonial post and turned it into an effective platform to communicate President Trump’s “America First” vision to our allies and foes.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and President Trump at a UN meeting earlier this year.

In addition to putting America back to work, one of the strong suits of the Trump Administration has been foreign policy. You have to go back to the Reagan and Nixon Administrations to find a national security and foreign policy team of the caliber of Pompeo, Mattis, Bolton, and Haley. When one leaves, it is important that President Trump picks the right person to fill their shoes and not miss a beat. Much is at stake — including such issues as North Korea, China, Iran, the South China Sea, and the Middle East.

As President Trump considers his pick for the new U.N. Ambassador, it is important to consider the qualities over the years that have made an effective U.N. Ambassador.

Historically, U.S. Presidents have sought to have a U.N. Ambassador who had both gravitas and a keen knowledge of foreign policy.

President Harry Truman picked our first U.N. Ambassador and sent a strong message as to the importance of the job by naming the incumbent U.S. Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius, Jr.

President Eisenhower would continue the tradition of having a U.N. Ambassador who understands foreign policy by selecting Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Lodge was a U.S. Senator who served with distinction in Italy and France during WWII.

Likewise, President John F. Kennedy continued the tradition of selecting a U.N. Ambassador with real gravitas when he selected Adlai Stevenson II. Stevenson, the former Governor of Illinois, was the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nominee in both 1952 and 1956.

Presidents Ford and Reagan, though, chose foreign policy intellectuals to serve in the U.N. post. Both Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served under President Ford, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Reagan’s pick, were Democrats. They were, however, hardline anti-communists and strong supporters of Israel who were loyal to their Commander-in-Chief and served America well.

In this age of the 24/7 news cycle, it is important to have a U.N. Ambassador who will be an effective communicator for President Trump and America’s policies. This is precisely where Nikki Haley shined at the U.N. In addition to communicating America’s policies on the world stage, garnering the support of our allies at critical times, and standing firm against America’s adversaries, Nikki Haley also made a difference in other areas.

One of her best accomplishments was in shepherding the appointment of another former South Carolina Governor, David Beasley, to head the World Food Programme. Beasley and his team with their “Non-U.N. Bureaucrat” approach have now positioned the World Food Programme as a bulwark against terrorism and have countered the efforts of terrorist groups who have used the lack of food as a tool for recruitment.

Many names have surfaced for Haley’s replacement, and yes, some have already taken themselves out of consideration. Former National Security Council Deputy Dina Powell removed her name from consideration, and President Trump said that U.N. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell is already doing a great job there. Other names mentioned include former Ambassador to Hungary, Nancy Brinker, former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, and current Under Secretary of State, Heather Nauert. At least one Democrat is under consideration — former Connecticut U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman would be a bold pick. He is a “Harry Truman Democrat” who has gravitas and a command of foreign policy.

Looking at both history as well as the current climate in terms of what the U.N. Ambassador position has become, there are six guiding principles that President Trump should consider in selecting our next U.N. Ambassador. They are:

  1. Gravitas — Having a U.N. Ambassador of substance, weight, and sobriety will send a powerful message to allies and foes alike.
  2. Loyalty — The President and his Administration must have someone they fully trust at the U.N.
  3. Knowledge of Foreign Policy — America is confronted with the most complex foreign policy situation in modern history. There is no time for on the job training.
  4. America First — The new U.N. Ambassador must understand that “America First” does not mean America alone. It means putting American interests first, but working with our allies on those areas of commonality.
  5. Ability to work with Pompeo and Bolton — The new U.N. Ambassador must be able to get along and work well with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
  6. Effective Communicator — The new U.N. Ambassador must be able to effectively and powerfully communicate America’s foreign policy interests in this 24/7 news cycle.
Van Hipp meets with Vice President Pense. Hipp served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army.

A U.N. Ambassador who passes this test and possesses these attributes will help ensure that President Trump and America have the right person serving at the United Nations. The President likes to say that America is winning, and we are, both at home and abroad. Having the right U.N. Ambassador to follow Nikki Haley will help America keep winning in foreign policy.

Van Hipp is chairman of American Defense International, Inc. (ADI), a Washington, D.C. consulting firm. He is former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and served on the Presidential Electoral College in 1988. He is the author of “The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It.” To read more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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