Ambassador James B. Cunningham

  • UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Resigns

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s resignation on October 9 caught many, including some within US President Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet, by surprise. She will leave the post at the end of the year.

    Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and the daughter of Indian immigrants, at times struck an independent position from Trump, but was also a prominent supporter of the president.

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  • Cunningham Quoted in PassBlue on Nikki Haley Resignation


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  • The United Nations is in Session. Here's What to Expect.

    World leaders are descending upon New York this week to attend the 73rd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The meetings give the world’s top political leaders “a chance from the General Assembly podium to address media and delegations from around the world with what they think is important,” according to James Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.

    Cunningham, who is also a former US ambassador to Afghanistan and Israel, served as the acting US permanent representative to the United Nations in 2001, including on September 11, and deputy permanent representative from 1999 until 2004.

    With a litany of speeches, meetings, and the high-profile chairing of a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting by US President Donald J. Trump, what can we expect from the world body this week?

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  • Has Trump Shut the Door to Middle East Peace With Closure of Palestinian Office?

    US-Palestinian relationship is ‘broken,’ says former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad


    The decision by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to close the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is a symptom of a “completely dysfunctional and broken relationship” between the United States and the Palestinians, says Salam Fayyad, a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority who is currently a distinguished statesman at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

    The Trump administration’s decision was announced in a statement from the State Department as well as in remarks by senior administration officials on September 10.

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  • Cunningham Joins Fox to Discuss Trump’s Decision to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem


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  • All You Need to Know As The United States Opens its Embassy in Jerusalem

    [Editor's note: This blog post has been updated.]

    Massive protests have erupted in the Gaza Strip on May 14 as the United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the world’s first nation to have an embassy in the holy city.

    On December 6, US President Donald J. Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to shift the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—the two cities are about an hour’s drive apart.

    The decision is a controversial one. Palestinians turned out in large numbers to protest the decision. At least fifty-two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire at the Gaza border. Health officials said...

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  • A State of Mind: Tillerson vs. Pompeo on the Issues, and What that Means for US Foreign Policy

    Newly former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement, former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, do not necessarily see eye to eye on every major foreign policy issue. Their divergent views raise serious questions as to how the shake-up in leadership at Foggy Bottom will alter the course of US foreign policy around the world.

    In particular, Pompeo has a history of disparaging the Iran nuclear deal and remains supportive of US President Donald J. Trump’s harsh rhetoric on North Korea. As the White House prepares for Trump to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sometime this spring and threatens to withdraw from the Iran deal, Pompeo could tip the policy scales and pivot away from the work done by Tillerson’s State Department.

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  • Why Trump's Vow to Cut Off Cash to the Palestinians Could Be Dangerous

    At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 25, US President Donald J. Trump suggested that he would withhold more aid from the Palestinians and that Israel “will pay” for his decision to agree upfront to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.

    The Trump administration has already withheld $65 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which helps Palestinian refugees.

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  • Mike Pence Just Said that the United States Will Open an Embassy in Jerusalem in 2019. Can That Happen?

    US Vice President Mike Pence made news in his address to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 22 when he declared that the Trump administration would open the US Embassy in Jerusalem before the end of 2019.

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  • Trump’s ‘Pretty Serious Mistake’ in the Middle East

    Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital does not advance the interests of the United States or the region, said James Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Israel

    US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to reverse almost seven decades of US policy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “potentially, a pretty serious mistake,” said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    If you’re going to upend decades of US policy, it ought to be for a good reason and for a significant political and diplomatic gain. I don’t see that either of those two are attained here,” said Cunningham, who served as the United States' ambassador to Israel from 2008-2011.

    Trump’s announcement will boost the Israeli position, “but it doesn’t change the reality...

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