Nikki Haley’s Foreign Policy Initiatives Undercut by Trump Administration

The former governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, has been the lead foreign policy figure for the Trump administration since the disposal of Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Regardless of her prominent position in office, however, she appears to have been left in the dark in regard to major changes involving ties with Russia. The United States had intentions of enforcing new sanctions on Russia in attempts to shut down any potential partnerships they have with the Syrian regime that assists in enabling the use of chemical weaponry for civil war. Haley announced the anticipated employment of these sanction on CBS’s “Face the Nation” but was immediately repudiated by Trump’s administration. The United States ambassador’s publicized policies were harshly undercut. She was accused of experiencing “momentary confusion” as well as being too forward in regard to the foreign policy plans Trump once intended to impose. Haley fired back at these accusations stating bluntly and explicitly, “With all due respect, I do not get confused.” This public rebuttal emphasized the disorder in Trump's administration—there is obviously a communication struggle.

Several White House officials have reported to sources that Haley was, in fact, not notified of Trump’s decision to alter the course on sanctions. This miscommunication jeopardized Haley’s credibility, especially because the majority of Trump’s administration handled it so poorly, attempting to ‘mansplain’ her false announcement in hopes of covering up their own wrongdoings. It is possible and probable that Trump feels threatened by Haley and her initiative. She has proved to be the most aggressive articulator in regard to making moves on Russia and isn’t afraid to say what Trump will not. Maybe Haley would have better success away from Trump’s reign, as he seems to be under the impression he can do the job himself and is struggling to lead his team in a collinear route. I would also be interested in Trump’s reaction to the mix-up if Haley hadn't been a woman— perhaps, he would likely have felt more inclined to keep a male counterpart of her position and stature in the loop.

What is equally as bewildering as the Trump administration’s inability to properly communicate with its head of foreign policy, is how Trump continues to shy away from asserting any sort of initiative towards Russia. His apprehensiveness was only accentuated by his fabricated argument with Haley. The sanctions discussed by Haley seemed to be in parallel with previous claims made by Trump himself.  On Saturday, April 14, Trump ordered major military action. Missiles were set to strike the Syrian regime if they indeed planned to engage in chemical warfare, the exact same issue Haley’s sanctions addressed. However, it seems that Trump values maintaining a ‘friendship’ with Vladimir V. Putin more than enforcing what he has promised and preached to the American people. Trump continues to sporadically change policies and ideals day-by-day and is undoubtedly shying away from asserting any sense of power over Russia.  

All photos courtesy of NY Times.