When Trump officially nominates Kentucky socialite Kelly Knight Craft as ambassador to the United Nations next week, the US will have officially killed off any semblance of creating efforts toward international diplomacy.
Knight Craft has been the US Ambassador to Canada since 2017, but the veneer of planning for the UN post is quite thin. She is a monied socialite and billionaire donor to the Republican party with ties to Kentucky’s high society. Wife to a primary US coal producer, she has said she “respects both sides of the climate change science”.
That Knight Craft bought her way into US politics is nothing shocking: so did most of our people of congress. But her thing is really more horse derbies and local Kentucky basketball than international law, human rights and diplomacy. Thanks to her generous fundraising and donations to former president George W Bush, however, she was named another candidate to the UN in 2007.
Outgoing French Ambassador Gérard Arud was right in his interview when he said, “The role of the United States as a policeman of the world, it’s over .” Not that that is a bad thing. The United States, with its long history of invading and destabilizing other countries, hardly has the right to preach human rights and rule of law. But that doesn’t mean that just anyone should mean our country at the United Nations. Diplomacy should still matter.
So I started telling people I was Canadian. At one hostel we stayed at in the north of Brazil, I met a young Israeli man who saw my US passport and asked me why I was telling people that I was Canadian. The question threw me off-guard, and I responded with complete honesty: “I am ashamed of my country .” He told me that he felt similarly about his own country, in terms of how the Israeli government treated Palestinians — but he added that he still told people where he was from.
I can only imagine that Knight Clark will be open to learning from, and listening to, other diplomats at the United Nations. Maybe she will leave this experience similarly critical of her own country — and in a position to do something about it. But I doubt it.