He has inveighed against American cooperation with the International Criminal Court, and has been critical of international treaties on subjects including the banning of antipersonnel land mines, the rights of disabled people, and the law of the sea, accession to which, he once testified, “would obligate the United States to answer to a committee of ‘disability experts’ in violation of principles of U.S. sovereignty.”
He has also argued against the so-called responsibility to protect doctrine that advocates foreign intervention, including through military means, in cases where civilians face the risk of genocide.
Some of his previously expressed views are no longer public.
After the Orlando nightclub shooting, he took a swipe at Loretta Lynch, then the attorney general, who sought to ensure Muslims that their rights would be protected. “THAT must be reassuring since the patrons of the #Pulse nightclub were also under DOJ ‘protection,’” Mr. Groves said on Twitter, with the hashtag #ShootBack.
That post has since been taken down. A screenshot of it was available on the Internet Archive.
The United States Mission did not respond to a request for an interview with Mr. Groves.
One of the main issues that Ms. Haley has promised to tackle at the United Nations comes from the Heritage Foundation’s playbook: How to fix peacekeeping operations, the organization’s biggest, most costliest element.
Heritage Foundation analysts have advocated mission-by-mission scrutiny of peacekeeping operations, and argue that the United States should pay no more than 25 percent of the total budget — down from what is currently a little over 28 percent. Both items have become part of the ambassador’s agenda.
Ms. Haley said this week that she wants to do a thorough review of the United Nations’ 16 peacekeeping operations to “determine where we need to augment, where we need to restructure, and where we need to cut back.”
She also said she would seek to cap United States funding at 25 percent. Morgan Vina, another Heritage alumnus and a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations aide, is involved in the review of peacekeeping missions.
The first test for Ms. Haley’s diplomatic muscles came this week with a review by the Security Council of the largest peacekeeping mission, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States wanted far larger reductions in the number of boots on the ground. It settled for far fewer. The new mandate for the mission, adopted Friday after intense negotiations, ordered a modest cut of about 500 from the 16,700 peacekeepers there now.
American officials were quick to point out that they pushed for improvements to the mission, but fell short of a major strategic overhaul. The peacekeepers’ central tasks will now be to guard against political violence in the run up to elections that are yet to be scheduled, and to protect civilians in areas where armed groups operate. United Nations officials will have to regularly brief the Council on whether troops are living up to their mandate, and they will have to submit plans for an eventual drawdown.
Other peacekeeping missions will come up for review soon. Whether Ms. Haley can yield value for taxpayer money, or fundamental reform, as she has promised, remains to be seen.
“Haley is left with the unenviable task of finding logic for cuts,” said Richard Gowan, a foreign-policy analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations, who calls himself a “liberal” scholar of the United Nations. “The work Heritage has done on peacekeeping gifts her that on a plate.”
Ms. Haley won praise from Brett D. Schaefer, a Heritage Foundation fellow and a former office neighbor of Mr. Groves. “She’s asking the right questions in terms of U.N. peacekeeping operations,” he said. “Are these missions past their sell date, are they accomplishing what they were set out to do?”
Other Heritage Foundation priorities have already found their way into the ambassador’s own. She dismissed the Human Rights Council as “so corrupt,” echoing criticism from Heritage. And she invited the think tank to join her delegation to the annual Commission on the Status of Women. Whether she will withdraw American funding for the United Nations’ population agency, which Heritage has pressed for, remains to be seen.
Mr. Groves worked for 10 years as a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, according to his LinkedIn profile, and before that, was senior counsel for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in the inquiry into the United Nations oil-for-food program.
He is one of about a dozen political appointments made by Ms. Haley; the rest of her staff are career State Department diplomats who are experts in their fields, and virtually all of whom have stayed on from the previous administration.
Days after the election, Mr. Groves co-wrote a piece that outlined how the United States should get out of the Paris climate accord, calling it “a raw deal for Americans.” Among the recommendations of his essay in The Daily Signal, titled “The Pathway Out of Paris,” was to stop financing the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change.