President Trump's UN ambassador nominee says the U.S. can still be a global leader, even if it withdraws from key treaties and UN bodies.
UNITED NATIONS – The United States doesn’t need to sign global treaties or be a member on various U.N. committees in order to keep its global leadership role. That’s what Kelly Craft, the current U.S. ambassador to Canada and President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next U.N. ambassador, told lawmakers in a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Craft’s comments follow recent U.S. decisions to exit the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Craft was asked by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin whether it was wise for the U.S. to walk away from tough debates:
“Whether or not we are in the room with the Human Rights Council or a member is really not as important as the ability as the U.S.-U.N. ambassador to use the Security Council as a platform to call out these countries on human rights abuses.”
Craft had similar views on the logic of the U.S. leaving the Paris Agreement:
“We don’t need to be a member in order to show leadership.”
“I think the U.S. is going to really struggle to make an impact on climate and human rights if it is not going to engage in the U.N. processes centering on them.”
Richard Gowan is the U.N. Director for the International Crisis Group.
“Craft’s testimony and answers really emphasized public statements and calling out U.S. opponents. Whereas actually, many members of the U.N. respond badly to that sort of sort of megaphone diplomacy. And if you want to make friends and if you want to have influence in New York, a lot of the work has to be precisely behind the scenes.”
Gowan says one country is making waves at the U.N. by aggressively working to change global rules in its favor. The thing is, China is hardly trying to ‘lead from outside.’
“The irony is that Kelly Craft spent a lot of her confirmation hearing talking about the need to counter China at the United Nations, but China is still in the room.”