The South Carolina governor, the daughter of Indian Sikh mothers, has little experience of foreign affairs and may face questions about Russia and Syria

Nikki Haley

US permanent representative to the United Nations


Nikki Haley stands out in an area of Trump nominees who are overwhelmingly wealthy and elderly white humen. The South Carolina governor is 45, and the daughter of Indian Sikh parents. Compared with her competitors for the job of representing the US at the UN, she is not seen as highly ideological , nor does she have much diplomatic experience, although several diplomats at the UN have said they have had dealings with her as governor.

In the course of the hearings, she will be closely questioned on her knowledge of the worlds flashpoints and scrutinised on whether she shares Trumps world view, especially on Russia.

Key points to watch for

Relations with Russia : The relationship between the US and Russian representatives on the UN security council is central to the functioning of the body. Haley will be questioned on how she might improve that relationship and whether that would mean no longer holding Moscow be held accountable for Ukraine, Syria and hacking the US election. Trumps nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said he had not discussed Russia with Trump. Has Haley?

Israel-Palestine: Expect Haley to lambast the security council and the Obama administration in general over the 23 December resolution denouncing Israeli settlement building on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. This will rack up easy points with Senate Republicans.

Syria: Haley may begin to sketch out how a Trump administration would seek to work with Russia to bring an end to the war in Syria, and to what magnitude that would connote support for Bashar al-Assad.

North Korea: Trump has said that North Korea will not build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental US. Haley will inevitably be asked how the new administration would go about ensuring that.

Usefulness of the UN: Haley will voice a sceptical tone on the UN, but will presumably describe it as capable of redemption, or otherwise why would her post have cabinet rank?

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