Nikki Haley: The Modern Day Iron Lady

By Christa Castrignano

Margaret Thatcher once said, “In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is proving her right. Forget Hillary Clinton’s glass ceiling – with a click of her high heels, Ambassador Haley is proving that powerful women are a force to be reckoned with in the modern political landscape. A neophyte on the international stage, Ambassador Haley has wasted no time proving her mettle.

Faced with conflicting foreign policy perspectives within the White House, entering a new position on the world stage, in an area with which she had minimal experience, and amid burgeoning crises with Russia, Syria and North Korea, Ambassador Haley has been a tour de force. Plunging straight into the eye of the storm, she was the primary voice in foreshadowing Assad’s repercussions for crossing President Trump’s “red line.” Her deft command of her newfound role has not gone unnoticed, earning her a spot on the National Security Committee’s principals committee, as a “regular attendee” at their meetings.

In the past week alone, Ambassador Haley has managed to eclipse the nation’s leading diplomat – the Secretary of State – with her bold and confident leadership. No need for a “woman card” when one has the initiative to command respect from their peers. Amid last week’s chemical attacks in Syria, Ambassador Haley conducted herself with grace, poise, and moxie. In the immediate aftermath, she confronted her peers at the U.N. with the grim reality. Standing before them at the U.N. Security Council emergency meeting last Wednesday, Ambassador Haley held nothing back. Delivering remarks that reverberated around the globe, she stated:

“…I will say in the life of the United Nations, there are times when we are compelled to do more than just talk. There are times we are compelled to take collective action. This Security Council thinks of itself as a defender of peace, security, and human rights. We will not deserve that description if we do not rise to action today. Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures, to children foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents. We saw rows of lifeless bodies. Some still in diapers. Some with the visible scars of a chemical weapons attack. Look at those pictures. We cannot close our eyes to those pictures. We cannot close our minds of the responsibility to act. We don’t yet know everything about yesterday’s attack. But there are many things we do know. We know that yesterday’s attack bears all the hallmarks of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. We know that Assad has used these weapons against the Syrian people before. That was confirmed by this Council’s own independent team of investigators. We know that yesterday’s attack was a new low, even for the barbaric Assad regime.”

She then called the Russians to account, wondering aloud why they had not used their alleged meaningful influence to prevent these chemical attacks from occurring. Because they, along with their in-country partners of Assad and Iran, have no interest in peace. She mused, “How many more children have to die before Russia cares? ” She stated that the United States viewed the chemical attacks as validation that the Syrian government has no regard for human life. Ambassador Haley then issued a stern admonition: “If we are not able to enforce resolutions preventing the use of chemical weapons, what does that say about our effectiveness in this institution? If we are not prepared to act…We will see more conflict in Syria. We will see more pictures that we can never un-see. I began my remarks by saying that in the life of the United Nations, there are times when we are compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”

Move over, Hillary Clinton: the modern-day Margaret Thatcher is in town.

Last Friday, Ambassador Haley again appeared before the Security Council, justifying the need for the airstrikes launched by the U.S. on Syria the previous night. She proclaimed, “The United States will not stand by when chemical weapons are used,” and that human rights violations would be now met with far more than hollow rhetoric. She again pressured the Russian and Iranian governments, noting that their interventions on behalf of the Assad regime have been instrumental in preserving his reign of terror. Her words clearly affected the Russian representative in attendance.  As she spoke, he was clearly uncomfortable, his eyes not straying far from his phone, making scant eye contact. Discomfort will be a persistent feeling among our adversaries with Ambassador Haley at the helm.

Henry Kissinger once said that “A diamond is a chunk of coal that does well under pressure.” Last week, Ambassador Haley proved her brilliance. In an hour of crisis, she unflinchingly stood as the foremost voice for the morals and values shared by America and our allies.

Though many may be skeptical of the President’s capability to stand up to Russia, there is no doubt in Ambassador Haley’s ability to do so. And to be a voice for the truth, justice, freedom, and American exceptionalism as well. Margaret Thatcher would be proud. The American people certainly are.

One comment

  1. Excellent Christa! Whenever someone complains about Hillary losing “because she’s a woman”, I think to myself, Hillary is no Nikki Haley. Leadership has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with character. Great piece!

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