In the twilight of the Obama Presidency, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Powers decried the brutality of Assad and Putin in Syria, but decided to abstain from a U.N. Security Council Resolution targeting Israel, allowing it to pass at the request of the president who appointed her. Futile words could not conceal the consequences of American inaction on the world stage.
On March 26th, 2017, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had an announcement to make, “There is a new sheriff in town.”
Since Ambassador Haley took over at the U.N., she has decried anti-Israel behavior and has warned other nations at the U.N., especially recipients of American foreign aid, that we are carefully watching their behavior and their votes. Like Samantha Powers, she harshly condemned Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad for their war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s missile strike against Assad, she followed up her words with actions by rejecting a request to discuss the strike behind closed doors, which opted for an open discussion in which every ambassador would be held accountable for their words.
As President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo increasingly embrace a more interventionist foreign policy, it has become clear that Nikki Haley does not stand alone in her recognition that there are serious consequences to America’s abdication of leadership on the world stage.
President Obama cancelled President Bush’s missile defense plan in Eastern Europe and attempted a “reset” with Russia rather than bolstering our allies’ defenses. Russia invaded Ukraine only days after U.S. diplomats watched the Olympics in Russia. As Assad slaughtered thousands of his own people in Syria, calls for his removal mounted. But as President Obama hesitated, Assad held on long enough to receive critical aid from Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia.
Throughout the Obama administration, our inaction caused uncertainty among our allies and encouraged our enemies. North Korea has been growing extremely hostile to its bordering neighbor. The People’s Republic of China claims the entirety of Taiwan, while building artificial islands to seize control of the South China Sea from a few smaller countries. Russia is still fighting in Ukraine, causing Estonia, Lithuania, and other nations in the region to worry about further Russian expansion. And our inaction is allowing this to happen.
In the past few weeks, President Trump and Ambassador Haley have placed Syria, Russia, and North Korea on notice. The U.S. Navy continues to respond to piracy and terrorism in addition to protecting the critical Straits of Hormuz, preventing Iran from shutting down massive oil shipments from Gulf States and damaging the world economy.
We are the only country with the resources and military strength to make great powers reconsider invading or threatening our allies and their neighbors. Through our military bases around the world, our fleet of aircraft carriers, and a restored reputation for strength and decisiveness, we can protect the world economy, our friends in every region, and the helpless in Syria and around the globe.