Haley became a popular UN diplomat despite Trump policies
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Wednesday, October 10
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nikki Haley came to her job as the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations with no foreign policy experience, but in less than two years she made many friends — even among ambassadors from countries at odds with the Trump administration’s policies.
Tuesday’s sudden announcement that she was leaving by the end of the year ricocheted through U.N. headquarters like a lightning bolt, with many expressing shock, and some sadness and dismay.
“It was a surprise, not a very pleasant one for me personally,” said Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, whose country has clashed with U.S. positions including on Syria, Iran and Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The ambassadors on the powerful U.N. Security Council who worked closely with Haley praised her — a testament to her skills and success as a diplomat — though many of their countries, including America’s traditional allies, have serious issues with her government’s foreign policy.
When Haley arrived at the U.N. on Jan. 27, 2017, she was the former governor of South Carolina and a novice at international affairs but she wasted no time in announcing a new way the U.S. was going to do business.
The Trump administration’s goal was to show U.S. strength, speak out, and defend its allies — and as for countries opposing America, “we’re taking names” and will respond accordingly, she said.
Haley has kept to that goal, but she has also honed her diplomatic skills, which were recognized by half a dozen members on the 15-nation Security Council as they headed into a closed meeting Tuesday afternoon on chemical weapons in Syria.
Nebenzia said he and Haley have “good working and personal relations despite all the differences that we were and are having.”
“She’s a charismatic personality,” he said. “She was a friend to all of us, and … beyond the doors of the Security Council we as a group were very friendly.”
Bolivia’s U.N. Ambassador Sasha Llorentty Soliz said the Security Council “is like a family — sometimes a dysfunctional family — but nevertheless we care about each other and I really like Nikki very much.”
The good personal relations, however, could never mask the sharp differences over a host of issues ranging from U.S. policy toward Syria to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement and the U.N. Human Rights Council. Washington’s decisions to halt to funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem also upset some council members.
Llorentty Soliz stressed the separation, echoing Bolivian President Evo Morales, who launched a blistering critique of U.S. policy toward Iran, the Mideast and Trump’s immigration policies at a Security Council meeting the American president presided over on Sept. 26 during the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders.
Sweden’s U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog said “there are issues that relate to the U.N. where we don’t always see eye to eye, but with Nikki there has always been a very close relationship, respectful and very frank.”
While Haley’s speeches in the council can sometimes “be very strong,” he said, council members were often invited to her apartment afterward.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, who met Haley when she was governor of South Carolina and he was ambassador to Washington, said “even though we didn’t agree on everything, we had established a particularly close and constructive working relationship based on trust.”
“Nikki Haley is one of the most talented, most authentic U.S. government officials that I have ever met,” he said.
At a White House event, seated near Trump in the Oval Office, Haley told reporters that her six years as governor followed by nearly two years at the U.N. has been an “intense time, and I’m a believer in term limits.”
“I have given everything I’ve got these last eight years,” she said. “I think you have to be selfless enough to know when to step aside and allow someone else to do the job.”
Trump told her: “Hopefully, you’ll be coming back at some point.”
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley, who is 46 and not personally wealthy, hinted in her resignation letter to Trump that she is headed to the private sector. She said that as a businessman Trump would appreciate “my sense that returning from government to the private sector is not a step down but a step up.”
As for a replacement, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One he was considering five candidates and a successor would be named in two to three weeks — or maybe sooner. Among those under consideration, Trump said, is former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.
Trump told reporters he heard his daughter Ivanka Trump’s name discussed for the post, but said if he selected her he’d be accused of nepotism, and she later ruled herself out in a tweet.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell’s name has also been floated for the post, but Trump suggested he’d rather keep him in his current post “because he’s doing such a good job.”
Privately, many diplomats believe Haley will run for president, though she ruled out 2020 on Tuesday without being asked, and pointed to Trump saying she will campaign for him.
“She’s young, she’s energetic, she’s ambitious,” Russia’s Nebenzia said. “I think we will see her after she has this well-deserved respite that she was referring to” in her remarks at the White House.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the costs of dealing with climate change
October 10, 2018
Associate Professor of Political Science, University at Albany, State University of New York
Walker Family Professor and Founding Director, Center for Environmental Politics, University of Washington
Professor and Associate Director, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University at Albany, State University of New York provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
University of Washington provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Climate advocates have struggled to persuade half of the U.S. public of the need to do more to slow the pace of global warming.
But even as climate scientists are sounding louder and louder alarms about the urgency of the situation, they disagree among themselves about how to proceed.
As political scientists who study the politics of climate change, we wanted to find out how to get more people to take the risks of global warming seriously. So we designed an experiment.
Dealing with climate change requires two kinds of policies. One involves attempts to slow down the rate of global warming. This approach, which experts call “mitigation,” takes aim at what’s causing the problem by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.
So far, most of these efforts have consisted of governments agreeing to take steps to reduce their carbon footprints, through accords like the Paris Agreement, which the U.S. government is leaving, and incentives at the state level that encourage the use of solar and wind power.
The second approach seeks to manage the consequences of climate change that are already happening. Often called “adaptation,” it acknowledges that the world has waited too long to prevent the problem. Since climate change is already raising sea levels and making severe storms and other major weather events more deadly, humanity is already coping with the consequences.
A good example of adaptation policies is how Miami is spending an estimated US $400-500 million to elevate frequently flooded streets and roads and take other steps to cope with rising sea levels.
Both approaches may sound essential, but some environmentalists worry that drawing attention to the need to adjust to a changing climate will undercut public support to boost spending on efforts to slow the pace of global warming.
Actor Jack Black tours Florida neighborhoods that are often flooded due to rising sea levels in the National Geographic TV show ‘Years of Living Dangerously.’
Higher gas taxes
We conducted an online survey to assess the validity of those concerns.
In this experiment, 2,000 people read different versions of the same brief newspaper-style article, which we wrote, discussing a proposal for a higher gasoline tax. The text explained that gas taxes can reduce carbon dioxide emissions, helping address the long-term problem of climate change.
At the same time, the article mentioned some short-term costs of letting global warming keep its current pace.
For example, scientists predict that droughts and floods will become more frequent and intense, disrupting farming and eventually making food more expensive. Similarly, the U.S. government foresees that more frequent extreme weather events will increase energy consumption and disrupt electricity grids, leading to higher power bills.
The different versions mentioned different kinds of adaptation costs and cited different price tags for those measures.
One group read that without stronger efforts, more frequent bouts of extreme weather would be likely to strain an already overstretched grid and make utility bills rise. Another group heard a specific estimate of $500 per year for the increased electricity costs. A third group heard that food prices and power costs would both go up.
A control group of people taking the survey received no information about likely adaptation costs. They were simply told that failing to do enough to slow the pace of climate change could bring on an “environmental catastrophe.” All four groups answered the same question about their willingness to payer higher gas taxes.
The results, published in the journal Environmental Communication, suggest that some of the concerns surrounding the discussion of adaptation costs are unfounded.
Rather than eroding support for a gas tax hike, we found that mentioning the costs of dealing with the consequences of global warming modestly increased support. This effect was more pronounced when we provided a more concrete estimate of the adaptation costs involved: a $500 estimated increase in annual household electric bills.
Of course, Americans have other reasons to either support or oppose increases for gas taxes, which raise money for highway construction and repairs. But we believe that randomly assigning participants to the four groups ensured that any differences between their responses can be attributed to distinct approaches to climate change framing.
We also believe our results have important implications for how to effectively communicate about climate change. Instead of avoiding discussions about the cost of dealing with its effects today, our research indicates, policymakers and environmental activists should openly engage the public in those conversations.
Neil S. Grigg
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University
It is interesting research, which can be extended to help us understand more of how stakeholders perceive trade-offs between personal issues, such as higher expenses, and community issues, such as environmental threats. The authors can take their research further to look at how to quantify/describe the decisions people make about supporting or not supporting a host of policies that will help the planet and people in need as well.
Walker Family Professor and Founding Director, Center for Environmental Politics, University of Washington
In reply to Neil S. Grigg
Your suggestions are well taken. We have papers in progress/under review that look at individual response to different types pf carbon taxes.
Here is another paper that might interest you:
US seeks answers about missing writer from Saudi ally
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Wednesday, October 10
WASHINGTON (AP) — Turkish claims that a well-known Saudi writer and government critic was slain inside his country’s diplomatic mission in Turkey have put the Trump administration in a delicate spot.
Members of Congress have grown increasingly insistent in recent days that the administration get to the bottom of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post. He had apparently drawn the wrath of the Saudi government, which has become an ever-closer U.S. ally under President Donald Trump.
Angry lawmakers likely won’t cause the administration to turn away from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the U.S. scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has warned that if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government, it would be “devastating” to the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said the disappearance of the journalist sends a “chilling message” and called for the Saudis to “immediately investigate and verify Jamal’s location.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime critic of the Saudi government, went further. He said he’ll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He told local radio in his home state that he wants to end the arms shipments if there’s “any indication” the Saudis are “implicated in killing this journalist that was critical of them.”
Saudi Arabia denies involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, and the Trump’s administration’s response has been far more cautious than that coming from Capitol Hill.
The administration has expressed concern but has refused to even to entertain questions about what the consequences would be if Turkish allegations turn out to be true — that the 59-year-old journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after entering it on Oct. 2 to get routine paperwork for his marriage while his Turkish fiancé waited outside.
“We don’t know what has happened to him. We don’t have any information on that,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday. “That’s why I want to say, we don’t want to make any judgments about what happened, and we call for a thorough and transparent investigation.”
The Washington Post said it has repeatedly asked the Saudi and Turkish governments for information about Khashoggi’s whereabouts and has not received any satisfactory answers. “Instead, reports about Jamal’s fate have suggested he was a victim of state-sponsored, cold-blooded murder,” CEO and publisher Fred Ryan said in a statement late Tuesday. “Silence, denials and delays are not acceptable. We demand to know the truth.”
Analysts said there were reasons for skepticism about the Turkish account. Ties between Ankara and Riyadh are at a low point over Turkey’s support for Qatar in that country’s yearlong dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim power, is also annoyed by Ankara’s rapprochement with the kingdom’s Shiite archrival, Iran.
The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, described the allegations as “malicious leaks and grim rumors” and said the kingdom is “gravely concerned” about Khashoggi. Saudi officials maintain he left the consulate shortly after entering, although it has failed to provide evidence to support that.
The Trump administration is left with an awkward lack of information about a widely respected writer who had been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for the past year after fleeing a crackdown on intellectuals and activists in Saudi Arabia. Nauert said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. diplomats have been engaged on the issue and that Trump himself — he said Tuesday he “knows nothing” about what happened to Khashoggi — intends to speak to the Saudis.
Khashoggi’s fiancée asked Trump and first lady Melania Trump to “help shed light” on his disappearance, writing in a column Wednesday in The Washington Post that she remains confident he is still alive while acknowledging “my hope slowly fades away each passing day.”
“I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate,” wrote Hatice Cengiz, who lives in Istanbul.
The Trump administration, from the president on down, is heavily invested in the Saudi relationship. Robin Wright, a scholar at the Wilson Center think tank and close friend of the missing writer, said that’s unlikely to change. The administration’s Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for its yet-to-be-released plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Indication of those stakes came within four months of Trump taking office, when Saudi Arabia became his first destination on a presidential trip and he announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales. Trump heaped praise on Prince Mohammed when he made a three-week visit to the U.S. last March, saying the Saudi king had made a “very wise decision” in choosing the prince to succeed him.
Prince Mohammed, who has ties to Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has introduced some economic and social reforms, allowing women to drive and opening movie theaters in the deeply conservative Muslim nation. The flip side, however, is that he’s also squelched dissent and demonstrated a thin skin when faced with international criticism. He’s also championed the destructive three-year military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen that has pushed that nation toward famine and caused many civilian deaths.
Still, the Trump administration last month stood behind its support for that campaign with weaponry, logistics and intelligence, certifying that the Saudis were taken adequate steps to prevent civilian despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chair of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said U.S. support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won’t endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests. Even under the Obama administration, which had difficult relations with Riyadh compared with Trump, there were some $65 billion in completed arms sales.
“The U.S.-Saudi relationship is certainly not about shared moral values,” House said. “It’s about shared security interests.”
Associated Press writers Susannah George, Matthew Lee and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.
Enough Folded Flags: Military Families Speak Out Against the Afghanistan War
A nation that doesn’t remember the people sent to fight on its behalf has no business sending more.
By Stacy Bannerman | October 8, 2018
You’d hardly know it from the news, but we’ve been continuously at war in Afghanistan since 2001. The war quietly turned 17 on October 7.
Unfortunately, America’s amnesia didn’t prevent Command Sergeant Major Tim Bolyard from being killed in Afghanistan in early September during his eighth combat tour and 13th deployment.
Eight combat tours — which should be illegal — sent Bolyard down-range repeatedly in a war President Obama purportedly ended over three years ago. A war this country forgot long before that.
A nation that doesn’t remember the men and women sent to fight on its behalf has no business whatsoever sending more. And a democracy that spends more time debating kneeling before the flag than the justification for issuing folded ones desperately needs to get re-acquainted with the Constitution — and its moral compass.
Our loved ones didn’t sign up to serve a president. They signed up to serve the American people, most of whom have no idea what they’re fighting for.
I don’t know, either. Nor do any of the other 4,000-plus members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO).
We all have spouses, parents, partners, siblings, and children who’ve served in the post-9/11 era. Founded in 2002 by two military families to oppose the invasion of Iraq, our loved ones are still serving there and in Afghanistan.
We’ve spent more than a decade and a half burying children, grieving parents, mourning spouses and siblings, and caring for wounded warriors. We have no more loved ones left to give.
Shame on a country that continues to take our troops to wars long declared done, squandering their service and absolving the collective conscience with two words: “They volunteered.”
The fact that soldiers wear the uniform by choice shouldn’t permit “the American people and their elected representatives to be indifferent about the war in Afghanistan,” retired Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry told the New York Times.
The former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan added: “We continue to fight simply because we are there.”
That “we” is a miniscule 1 percent of the population that’s paying the human cost of this country’s check for war — the democratic equivalent of a dine-and-dash. The body count for U.S. troops in Afghanistan is 2,414, plus more than 20,000 injured. Those figures rise into the hundreds of thousands for Afghan soldiers and civilians.
Then there’s the financial cost: Over $1 trillion, according to TheBalance.com.
Even so, Congress has repeatedly cut taxes, especially for the rich, since the wars began. Our fiscal policy is one of kicking the can down the road to future generations, who are paying enough already for fossil-fueled climate change.
Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. The massive carbon footprint generated by armed forces in combat zones, a primary institutional driver of global warming, ensures that these endless wars will end up costing everyone.
Our troops and families of veterans pay the price every day. Before our loved ones returned from their first tours, we were told “Combat is a one-way door: Once you walk through it, you can never go back.”
I used to think that only applied to veterans. I know better now.
“It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end,” said General John W. Nicholson recently, as he was preparing to leave the country for the last time. Nicholson had spent a total of 31 months — four tours — in Afghanistan as the commander in charge of a shape-shifting mission.
Support the troops, America: Bring them home now. Enough folded flags.
Stacy Bannerman is the author of Homefront 911 (2015). She’s leading the Heart2Heart Tour (heart2hearttour.org) with Military Families Speak Out, which is calling for an end to America’s longest war. Distributed by OtherWords.org.