UN ambassador Haley: 'The era of the United States leading from behind is over'

U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley told an audience at Duke University that changes in U.S. policies toward Israel and Cuba signal an end to "the era of the United States leading from behind."

The Obama administration created policies that refused to acknowledge and use American military, economic, and moral superiority in international relations.  It was famously described as "leading from behind."

Washington Free Beacon:

She criticized previous administrations for being too deferential to international opinion, saying she is not hesitant to resist the majority at the U.N.  She described how the U.N.'s Security Council and Human Rights Council regularly single out Israel but leave authoritarian regimes alone.

"Soon after coming to the U.N. last year, we decided we weren't going to silently accept that anymore.  Israel is our great friend," Haley said to applause.  "And Israel is a lonely voice for democracy and human dignity in the Middle East."

"We've made these changes to have the back of our friend and ally Israel, absolutely, but we're also sending the message that the era of the United States leading from behind is over," she added.

Haley also drew attention to the administration's willingness to reverse former President Barack Obama's attempts at closer ties with Cuba.  She said that action "broke faith" with Cuban exiles and political prisoners, and said Obama did not demand any changes from the Cuban government.

"The previous administration chose to ease sanctions on the Castro regime in Cuba without demanding respect for the human rights of the Cuban people in return," she said.

... "It's often just easier not to rock the boat.  When the crowd is all going one way, it's sometimes hard to be the only one going in the other direction," she said.  "But in America, we don't celebrate the mob, we celebrate the person who has the courage and conviction to stand up to the mob."

"Leading from behind" was the worst post-World War II foreign policy decision since perhaps committing U.S. ground troops to Vietnam.  What made it even worse is that the policy implied that America isn't good enough to lead the world as the sole superpower, that somehow, most of the problems of the world were our fault, and it was better we withdraw from international leadership on a host of issues.

Looking at the state of the world today, we can see the disastrous outcomes that flowed from that policy.  Our allies are weaker and our adversaries stronger.  Trump may not engage internationally on a level desired by many internationalists, but his instincts have been mostly good, and he hasn't been afraid to put U.S. interests ahead of those of other countries.

That's why we elect a president, isn't it?  We elect a chief executive not to preside over the dissolution of American power or to fight for the interests of other countries.  "America first" may be portrayed in the press as some kind of super-nationalism akin to fascism, but in fact, it's exactly what the American people want in a president. 

Good riddance to "leading from behind."

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