8 months ago

Alabama-based foreign affairs expert on Nikki Haley: ‘She’s done a very, very good job’

After U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced her surprise resignation Tuesday in an Oval Office media event with President Donald Trump, political and foreign affairs observers around the world reacted with shock and concern.

While the true reason behind Haley’s resignation, which is effective at the end of the year, and the timing and manner of the announcement are still drawing speculative theories from the media, Birmingham-based foreign affairs expert Greg Keeley talked to Yellowhammer News about the tangible impact her departure will have on the pressing national security issues facing America.

“I think Nikki Haley’s done a remarkable job under pretty trying circumstances on the world stage,” Keeley advised. “The Trump administration hasn’t been bashful in coming forward on really thorny issues like Iran, North Korea, issues with China, obviously with Russia.”

“Unlike the Obama administration, who really had no foreign policy, the Trump administration, led by Secretary Pompeo and certainly by Ambassador Haley, have been very straightforward. They’ve been aggressive, and they’ve put America back on the map,” Keeley continued.

Regarding Haley’s job performance, Keeley gives high marks.

“My overall assessment would be an ‘A’ to an ‘A+.’ I think she’s done a very, very good job and she’s done it with grace,” he said.

Biggest issues facing America abroad

When it comes to picking a replacement, Keeley pointed to three main diplomatic conflicts that are ongoing abroad that will be at the forefront of the new ambassador’s duties.

“One is Russia,” Keeley explained. “Obviously, they’ve become very belligerent and aggressive in Europe. Additionally, the hacking and effectively their information ‘Cold War’ against the United States and our allies.”

Keeley continued, “Number two is China. They’ve been very, very aggressive in the South China Sea. They’ve been aggressive now toward Taiwan and obviously with the trade war [with America].”

Then third, but certainly not last, comes Iran.

“They’re a state sponsor of terrorism. They’ve been destabilizing the Middle East, and they’re still working toward a nuclear bomb,” Keeley outlined.

He also said that he would have included North Korea as the fourth priority in that list until recently, with Pompeo and Trump seemingly having a hold on that situation for the time being. Keeley called their work in that regard “remarkable.”

All of these four “very, very big issues” were badly mishandled, if even handled at all, by the previous president.

“The Obama Administration ignored them for eight years, and this is what we’re seeing now,” Keeley commented.

Who should fill Haley’s shoes?

With those issues in mind, Keeley also had some names “that would be very good at the job” to suggest as Haley’s successor.

“One would be Bob Corker, senator from Tennessee – he’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Keeley outlined. “He’s a very smart man, very savvy. He’s been on the foreign relations committee for a long time, and he’s retiring from the Senate in November. He would be a fantastic choice.”

The biggest impediment to that possibility, though, is Corker’s longstanding feud with Trump, who will make the appointment.

“A dark horse, I think, is the undersecretary for Public Diplomacy at the State Department,” Keeley advised. “Heather Nauert – she’s formerly of Fox News, and she’s been in that position for a couple of years. She really understands Russia. She travels with the secretary of state to the U.N., across the world – she’s been to Japan, North Korea. She would be a great choice.”

Next on Keeley’s list are two current U.S. ambassadors.

“Someone else that might be in contention is Richard Grenell, who is the U.S. Ambassador to Germany,” he noted. “Although he’s only been there a few months, he’s done some great work over there and he’s a very straight-forward fellow.”

“And then a dark, dark horse is Ambassador Ken Braithwaite. He’s the current ambassador to Norway, he’s a former Navy admiral, former chief of communications for the U.S. Navy,” Keeley detailed. “He understands cyber warfare and, more and more importantly, information warfare. He would also be a terrific U.N. Ambassador.”

What might be next for Haley?

While the White House works in the coming weeks to name Haley’s replacement, it will be interesting to see what she does next. The former South Carolina governor is in the unique position of being well respected by Republicans of all stripe along with Democrats, too. At her young age, Haley has been rumored as a future presidential or vice presidential nominee.

“I think part of this, if I was a betting man, part of the calculation here for Ambassador Haley is to preserve her political brand or her political ascent if she is considering running for president,” Keeley said. “I tipped years ago that she would be the first female president of the United States.”

While she did rule out running against the president in 2020, you could see her running in 2024 or if Trump decides against seeking a second term. In Keeley’s opinion, she is getting out at a high-point of the Trump presidency and setting up a future political run. Before her next public service gig, it may be time for Haley to make some money to safeguard her family’s future.

“She’s been in government service now for thirteen years, and it would not surprise me if she’s going to parlay this high profile and the amount of contacts she’s made in New York City into a very well paid job in the private sector.”

Greg Keeley is the managing partner of Dreadnaught USA, an Alabama company specializing in multi-faceted government affairs, communications and cybersecurity practice.

He is a retired commander and information operations officer in the U.S. Navy, as well as a former senior advisor to the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Senate GOP Policy Committee.

Keeley was also named by Yellowhammer News this week as a member of the “2018 Power and Influence: Who’s next?” list, denoting “a new group of Alabama leaders poised to be part of the next generation of power and influencers.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

29 mins ago

Mo Brooks: ‘Nice guy’ Doug Jones ‘not able to masquerade as a moderate any longer’ — ‘Clear he is a Chuck Schumer left-winger’

On Wednesday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) gave a wide-ranging interview to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” hitting on a variety of topics, including immigration, Iran and defense spending.

Host Pedro Echevarria also asked Brooks about the possibility of former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate up in 2020 currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

The Madison County Republican declined to speculate about Moore’s candidacy, but predicted the ultimate GOP nominee would defeat Jones given the different dynamic of the 2020 election cycle with President Donald Trump on the ballot.

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“I do want the people back home in Alabama to know this: No matter who our Republican nominee is, that nominee is going to win in 2020 against Doug Jones. There’s going to be a whole different dynamic with it being a presidential election with Trump on the ballot, with a Democrat nominee on the ballot. And there’ll be a lot more people voting.”

“And Doug Jones – nice guy, but he’s voted for abortion,” Brooks continued. “He’s voted against our Supreme Court justices. He’s voted for open borders. He’s not going to be able to masquerade as a moderate any longer. It’s pretty clear he is a Chuck Schumer left-winger.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

1 hour ago

Byrne: Percentage of illegal border crossers ‘might be part of a terrorist effort’ — ‘We have to be very vigilant’

In the very early stages of the 2020 U.S. Senate campaign, immigration has become one of the primary focuses, especially given the statements of one of the contest’s apparent front-runners, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

One of the concerns is that among the mass influxes of illegal border crossers could be individuals that look to inflict harm on the country, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations coming in through the porous U.S.-Mexico border.

In an appearance on Huntsville’s WVNN, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said it is not out of the realm of possibilities such bad actors could be coming into the United States through Mexico.

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“What we know is is that unlike ten years ago, 80% of the people coming across the border are from three countries: They’re from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras,” Byrne explained on Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show.” “They are families and unaccompanied minors, and they’re just overwhelming the system that we’re having so many of them, and they’re incredibly needy. But in addition to that 80% of the people that fall into that category, there are some onesies and twosies of people that might be – we can’t necessarily prove it, might be part of a terrorist effort. So, we have to be very vigilant about that.”

“Now the truth of the matter is in that other 20%, you’ve got people coming from all over the world,” he continued. “They found the body of a young Indian girl, a Hindu Indian girl, the other day out in the desert. So, we know they’re getting them from everywhere. And some of these people are coming across because they want to be part of America. And some of them are coming across for really bad reasons. Some of them are drug traffickers. Some of them are human traffickers. And we are concerned, though we can’t give you hard evidence of this – that some of them may be part of a terrorist effort in this country.”

The Baldwin County Republican U.S. congressman explained the difficulties in identifying those coming into the country seeking asylum as who they claim to be, which is problematic in determining potential threats.

“I mean, just because you’re from a Middle Eastern country doesn’t necessarily mean you’re part of a terrorist network,” Byrne said. “So there is a lot more that goes into it, and I’ve got to be careful what I say because of the classified briefings I’ve had, but there is a lot more that goes into this to try to make a determination who is this person. And part of the problem, Jeff, is the unknown. Because how can we know who these people are? They say, ‘My name is so-and-so, and I’m from this country, and I’m here because I’ve been persecuted in my country.’”

“Well, how do we know that?” he continued. “And how do we – in some of these countries like Syria, we have no way to go back and check that out because their communities are gone? The people we would go to, to try to verify who they are – are in some refugee camp somewhere. It’s just the impossibility to have full information on these people that is such a problem. And so you just can’t let whoever you want to come across the border. You have to have a very rigorous system to determine who are these people and whether they should be here or not.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

14 hours ago

Auburn’s Bruce Pearl slams AOC for ‘concentration camps’ tweets: ‘Attempt to rewrite the Holocaust’

Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl is not tolerating what he views as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) “attempt to rewrite the holocaust” after she compared current immigration facilities in the U.S. to “concentration camps.”

Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday tweeted, “This administration (the Trump administration) has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.”

“This is not hyperbole,” she claimed. “It is the conclusion of expert analysis.”

In a follow-up tweet the same day, she doubled down and blamed others for taking offense to her original tweet.

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“And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps,” Ocasio-Cortez asserted.

“Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial,'” she concluded. “And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”

In a direct response to Ocasio-Cortez, Pearl tweeted, “Tell that to the people who died and survived those concentration camps that they don’t know the difference.”

“Never again is reserved for the 9 million people murdered including 6 million Jews,” he added. “The comparison is attempt to rewrite the holocaust! Stop!”

Pearl this spring became the fourth Jewish head coach in NCAA history to take a team to the Final Four. He was the first president of the Jewish Coaches Association.

This came as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski made similar “concentration camps” comparisons on Tuesday, with the two liberal media personalities drawing rebukes from the Auschwitz Memorial’s official Twitter account.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

15 hours ago

At Paris Air Show, Deloitte gives major gift to advance Alabama Cyber School

PARIS — Deloitte presented a $100,000 gift to the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering Foundation Tuesday in a ceremony at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

The donation is a combination of a financial contribution as well as in-kind support. This donation is intended to promote and advance the state magnet school, which opens in Huntsville in August 2020.

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Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle accepted the check on behalf of Deloitte from Ray Winn, a partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP and a cyber leader.

“One of the primary conversations we are having here at the Paris Air Show is the need to secure aviation and missile platforms,” Mayor Battle said. “To do so requires a workforce that understands how cyber systems interact with hardware.

“This school sets the foundation blocks for creating those platforms.”

Carey Miller, a managing director at Deloitte & Touche LLP, said the firm has been committed to the success of the Huntsville community since opening its office there six years ago.

“The Huntsville community recognizes that cyber is everywhere and that by investing in education, it can be the nation’s cyber leader,” Miller said.

The independent residential magnet school will provide academically motivated 7th through 12th grade students from across the state with educational opportunities and experiences in the rapidly growing fields of cyber technology and engineering.

The school will also assist a broad range of teachers, administrators, and superintendents across the State of Alabama in replicating cyber technology and engineering studies in their own schools.

Deloitte is one of the largest professional service organizations in the world.

(Courtesy Made in Alabama)

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

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Nominations are now open and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.