Nikki Haley starts off in impressive manner at the United Nations

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Republican and Democratic governors met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday during the last day of the National Governors Association winter meeting. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 23: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Republican and Democratic governors met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday during the last day of the National Governors Association winter meeting. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Jennifer Rubin

She had virtually no foreign policy experience. Unlike other President Trump nominees, however, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley impressed the Senate in her hearing for confirmation as our ambassador to the United Nations. She was clear on Russia’s misdeeds and human rights atrocities. She spoke out against human rights abuses in the Philippines. She vowed to protect Israel from condemnation from the jackals at the U.N. Security Council.

This week she got off to a flying start. Right off the bat she demonstrated how different she will be from her predecessor. A readout recounted:

On January 30, 2017, Ambassador Nikki Haley conducted her first courtesy calls and phone conversations with her UN counterparts as U.S. Permanent Representative. She chose to do so with the Permanent Representatives of Israel, the United Kingdom, France, and Ukraine.

In her phone conversation with Ambassador Danon of Israel, Ambassador Haley underscored the United States’ ironclad support for Israel, including blocking anti-Israel actions at the United Nations. She expressed her strong determination to avoid any replay of last December’s disastrous UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

She chose to meet on her first day with the representatives from Britain, France and Ukraine, but not the Russian representative. Symbolism matters.

Later in the week, she was crystal clear on the administration’s position on sanctions against Russia. In her first appearance at the U.S. Security Council she declared:

I consider it unfortunate that the occasion of my first appearance here is one in which I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States Representatives have needed to do that. It should not have to be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.

The sudden increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine has trapped thousands of civilians and destroyed vital infrastructure. And the crisis is spreading, endangering many thousands more. This escalation of violence must stop.

The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue.

Her priorities are straight. Her language is blunt, and her timing was fortuitous. She immediately clamped down on rumors we would unilaterally lift sanctions. “Crimea is a part of Ukraine,” she said. “Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine. The basic principle of this United Nations is that states should live side by side in peace.”

When she first arrived at the U.N. on Jan. 27, she declared, “For those that don’t have our back we’re taking names. We will make a point to respond to that accordingly.” That in and of itself will deter cheap attacks on the United States and Israel. Moreover, she made what she says and does significant –signaling she will have influence with the White House.

For all that and for demonstrating a solid understanding how the U.S. representative to the U.N. can set a tone and make a difference, we can say, well done. We think the late, great Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick would have agreed.

(The Washington Post)