A New Lady for the United Nations

As the position of ambassador to the United Nations is about to be vacant, from the retirement of the well-regarded Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, and the president is considering alternatives, I wish to throw someone’s hat in the ring.

It is sometimes hard to believe, but the embassy to the United Nations has at times been a serious position. The first American ambassador to the United Nations, Edward Stettinius, retired as secretary of state to take the position. In 1945, it was widely seen as a forum for coordinating the post-war activities of the cooperating victorious allies in World War II: The United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, France, and China.

France was included because British prime minister Winston Churchill saw that France, as well as former enemies Germany and Italy, though all defeated, would have to be resurrected, France as a major ally, to avoid a vacuum in Western Europe to be exploited by Stalin’s USSR. China was included as a permanent member of the Security Council because President Franklin D. Roosevelt foresaw that it would pull itself together and become a great power, as it had been at intervals in its long history. Both these decisions were justified by subsequent events, as Charles de Gaulle and Mao Tse-tung led their nations back to important positions in the world.

Of course, Stalin tore up his Yalta Conference commitments to a free and democratic liberated Eastern Europe and instead, with the occupying Red Army, brought forth a part of the world that would be known as the Iron Curtain: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. Before he did so, it was expected that the five co-founders of the U.N. would concert on all matters of security interest and assert themselves in this apparently collegial atmosphere.

The countries in the General Assembly would only have one vote each, (despite Stalin’s assertion that “The Soviet Union has not endured 10,000 casualties a day for four years to have a voice in the counsels of the world equal to Albania’s”). Ukraine and Belarus, constituent republics of the USSR, each had a vote, and it was assumed that the British Commonwealth countries and the Latin American republics, would generally be in step with the British and Americans. The same assumption was made in respect of the former French territories in Africa, when they were granted independence in 1959, and that these facts would assure the Security Council powers control of the machinery of the United Nations.

In the same measure that great power control of world affairs were presumed to be consigned to the victorious powers, with appearances of equality of national influences, this formula had been devised by Roosevelt to complete the defeat of the isolationists who had so bedeviled American foreign policy-making under Woodrow Wilson and between the wars.

Among the ambassadors the United States has sent to the United Nations since Stettinius were future president George H. W. Bush, future secretary of state Madeleine Albright, twice candidate for president Adlai Stevenson, vice presidential candidate Henry Cabot Lodge, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, future national security advisor John Bolton, and eminent office holders George Ball, Pat Moynihan, William Scranton, Andrew Young, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Vernon Walters, Richard Holbrooke, John Negroponte, and Zalmay Khalilzad. The position has been a cabinet level one since incoming President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 chose in this way to recognize the services of Henry Cabot Lodge, who had been one of Eisenhower’s most effective political supporters, but had lost his place in the U.S. Senate to 36-year-old John F. Kennedy in the election that year.

Gradually, of course, the United Nations has become a great disappointment.

First the USSR launched the Cold War and the purpose of collegializing allied post-war policy evaporated. Scores of under-developed countries were elected as decades passed and the organizations and agencies operated by the United Nations became largely infested with dishonest and incompetent people and the debates became a collective primal scream therapy for a great many contemptible national regimes. The former docility of once very suggestible smaller states also largely disintegrated.

But the hope has never entirely died that, as poverty declines and great power relations, while sometimes abrasive, do not threaten the world with nuclear war, something useful may yet arise from this odd organization. For all it’s failings, and the exasperation of successive U.S. presidents (Richard Nixon once mused about “throwing them all into the East River”), the United Nations might yet become a useful and effective forum.

With that laborious prologue, I suggest that the next U.S. ambassador should be Ann Coulter. Her political views, unlike Ambassador Haley’s, have long been supportive of Trump, and although the president has overlooked some of Haley’s previous jibes at him when he was a candidate (she supported Marco Rubio for the nomination), Coulter would have a lot more preemptive sympathy in the White House.

The United Nations is largely a debating chamber, and this is a field where Coulter has been very accomplished for many years. She is accustomed to being vastly outnumbered by mocking opponents of her unapologetic conservative views and would not be fazed in the slightest by the opposition of most of the 193 other countries in the United Nations. (It must be said that Haley has fought her corner very effectively also, though she does not have Coulter’s flare and oratorical virtuosity.)

It would be a joy, and very entertaining as well, to see Ann Coulter disposing of America’s critics in her magnificently flamboyant and witty manner, as she tosses her long blond hair, and in a patrician voice that recalls, though it is more sonorous, the principal author of the widely ignored United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt.

I always thought it was regrettable (and told him so) that William F. Buckley did not accept President Reagan’s offer of the embassy to the United Kingdom, as he would have dazzled the British. Ann Coulter would do the same to the preposterous congeries of the world’s representatives at the United Nations. The office seeks the lady.

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Photo Credit: Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

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About Conrad Black

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.