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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/15/21

Will the Senate Confirm Coup Plotter Victoria Nuland?

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From Smirking Chimp

By Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies and Marcy Winograd

Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland
(Image by U.S. Embassy Moldova from flickr)
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Who is Victoria Nuland? Most Americans have never heard of her because the U.S. corporate media's foreign policy coverage is a wasteland. Most Americans have no idea that President-elect Biden's pick for Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs is stuck in the quicksand of 1950s U.S.-Russia Cold War politics and dreams of continued NATO expansion, an arms race on steroids and further encirclement of Russia.

Nor do they know that from 2003-2005, during the hostile U.S. military occupation of Iraq, Nuland was a foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney, the Darth Vader of the Bush administration.

You can bet, however, that the people of Ukraine have heard of neocon Nuland. Many have even heard the leaked four-minute audio of her saying "f*ck the EU" during a 2014 phone call with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

During the infamous call on which Nuland and Pyatt plotted to replace the elected Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, Nuland expressed her not-so-diplomatic disgust with the European Union for grooming former heavyweight boxer and austerity champ Vitali Klitschko instead of U.S. puppet and NATO booklicker Artseniy Yatseniuk to replace Russia-friendly Yanukovych.

The "f*ck the EU" call went viral, as an embarrassed State Department, never denying the call's authenticity, blamed the Russians for tapping the phone, much as the NSA has tapped the phones of European allies.

Despite outrage from German Chancellor Angela Markel, no one fired Nuland, but her potty mouth upstaged the more serious story: the U.S. plot to overthrow Ukraine's elected government and America's responsibility for a civil war that has killed at least 13,000 people and left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe.

In the process, Nuland, her husband Robert Kagan, the co-founder of The Project for a New American Century, and their neocon cronies succeeded in sending U.S.-Russian relations into a dangerous downward spiral from which they have yet to recover.

Nuland accomplished this from a relatively junior position as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. How much more trouble could she stir up as the # 3 official at Biden's State Department? We'll find out soon enough, if the Senate confirms her nomination.

Joe Biden should have learned from Obama's mistakes that appointments like this matter. In his first term, Obama allowed his hawkish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Republican Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and military and CIA leaders held over from the Bush administration to ensure that endless war trumped his message of hope and change.

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, ended up presiding over indefinite detentions without charges or trials at Guantanamo Bay; an escalation of drone strikes that killed innocent civilians; a deepening of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan; a self-reinforcing cycle of terrorism and counterterrorism; and disastrous new wars in Libya and Syria.

With Clinton out and new personnel in top spots in his second term, Obama began to take charge of his own foreign policy. He started working directly with Russia's President Putin to resolve crises in Syria and other hotspots. Putin helped avert an escalation of the war in Syria in September 2013 by negotiating the removal and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, and helped Obama negotiate an interim agreement with Iran that led to the JCPOA nuclear deal.

But the neocons were apoplectic that they failed to convince Obama to order a massive bombing campaign and escalate his covert, proxy war in Syria and at the receding prospect of a war with Iran. Fearing their control of U.S. foreign policy was slipping, the neocons launched a campaign to brand Obama as "weak" on foreign policy and remind him of their power.

With editorial help from Nuland, her husband Robert Kagan penned a 2014 New Republic article entitled "Superpowers Don't Get To Retire," proclaiming that "there is no democratic superpower waiting in the wings to save the world if this democratic superpower falters." Kagan called for an even more aggressive foreign policy to exorcise American fears of a multipolar world it can no longer dominate.

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Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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