- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

With the formidable Nikki Haley preparing to slip the bonds of midtown Manhattan by year’s end, it’s time to imagine Newt Gingrich as America’s next U.N. ambassador.

Talk about helping President Trump to keep America great.

Think about it.

Who else in Republican ranks has the former House speaker’s oratorical pizzaz, the knee-slapping ideas and the room-hushing presence of the former House speaker?

With all due respect to those many exalted name-recognizable rocks stars who enrich the GOP’s ranks, the answer is “no one.”

Face it, Mr. Gingrich is the most riveting explicator of President Trump’s wit and wisdom on earth. At the same time, Mr. Gingrich poses no upstaging threat to the president. Nobody but nobody in the whole wide Republican world attracts so many fanatically loyal fans as the man we used to call “the Donald.”

The two men share a similar assessment of the real value and utility of the UN in it’s current condition.

“One morning, just like 9/11, there’s going to be a disaster,” Mr. Gingrich said of the organization. “I have yet to see the United Nations do anything effective with either Iran or North Korea.”

Like Mr. Trump, he understands what the drags on America’s greatness are.

“It is impossible to maintain civilization with 12-year-olds having babies, with 15-year-olds killing each other, with 17-year-olds dying of AIDS and with 18-year-olds getting diplomas they can’t even read,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Like the president, Mr. Gingrich couldn’t be politically correct even if you paid him.

Think what United Nations General Assembly and Security Council sessions would be like with Newt Gingrich representing Mr. Trump and the United States.

Yes, it’s mostly true that the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. — the formal title of the job under discussion — is simply a spokesman at the international body for whoever occupies the Oval Office.

But with the right kind of American heading up the U.S. U.N. delegation, a whole lot of desperately needed reform of the U.N. bureaucracy and bad habits is possible. Mr. Gingrich understands how to lead, manage and change things as well as how to speak rivetingly and intimidate effectively.

All it takes for real change is a strong personality augmented with deep knowledge — Mr. Gingrich was a college history professor in Georgia before winning a seat in the U.S. House in 1978 on his third try.

That’s perseverance, which the former congressman from Georgia has defined as “the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

Now it’s true Mrs. Haley has set the UN ambassadorship succession bar high, making Général Assembly and Security Council sessions fun again, as they had been during John Bolton’s recess appointment as U.N. ambassador in President George W. Bush’s first term.

“There’s no such thing as the United Nations,” Amb. Bolton once growled. “If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

Of the more naive “make talk not war” advocates on the left, he said, “Diplomacy is not an end in itself if it does not advance U.S. interests.”

Mr. Trump’s beef — make that one of his beefs — with the U.N. is that the U.S. pours way more money — $8 billion annually — into its upkeep than any of the other member nations and often finds itself getting dissed by those nations.

Mrs. Haley has been effective at the U.N. because she has been good at taking Mr. Trump’s anger over its continuing absurdities and expressing that anger in her clear, concise way.

When the General Assembly rejected by 128-9 the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Mrs Haley spat out these tough words: “When a nation is singled out for an attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected.”

“What’s more,” Mrs. Haley continued, “that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected. In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege.”

She suggested we just might stop being Uncle Sap to a mess of hostile ingrates.

The reaction of Americans paying attention was, “Yes, sock it to them, Nikki! About time!”

To be historically fair, the U.N. was the most fun during the ambassadorship of the feisty Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who said her party left her in its short march to left-wing lunacy. She didn’t mince her words, in President Reagan’s first term.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s deputy ambassadors were a hoot too. One of them responded to a Soviet threat to quit the U.N. by saying he’d happily go down to the dock and wave goodby as the departing Russian delegation sailed off into the sunset.

More than Mrs. Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Haley shares the neoconservatives’ passion for having the U.S. police the world, which means she is not exactly on Mr. Trump’s wavelength, especially on foreign policy.

But at least she hasn’t joined in privately badmouthing him or his policies with the all-left all-the-time America haters at those foreign diplomats’ cocktail parties in the Turtle Bay environs on the East River.

At least one of the names floated as a Haley successor could be expected to do that behind Mr. Trump’s back.

Mr. Gingrich, by contrast, has Mr. Trump’s back all day all ways. He knows how to do that as the man who in 1994 led Republicans back into a majority in the House after 40 years of House GOP members living a powerless life in the dank darkness of the barely noticed, rarely consulted minority.

Most important, Mr. Gingrich has been consistently loyal to Mr. Trump personally and to the Trump agenda — as a TV contributor to political discussions, in speeches and in private conversations.

Like Mr. Trump, who won the presidency despite nearly every political pro’s insistence that he had no path to victory, Mr. Gingrich understands perseverance.

And like the man in the original red MAGA cap, he is a man people just plain like to listen to.


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