ACTION ALERT: Reject Couphawk Victoria Nuland for Biden’s Cabinet
World BEYOND War & RootsAction
(January 27, 2021) — Victoria Nuland has been nominated for US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Nuland played a key role in facilitating a coup in Ukraine that helped create a civil war costing 10,000 lives and displacing over a million people.
She advocates radically increased military spending, dubious NATO expansion, and dangerous belligerence toward Russia.
The coup attempt at the US Capitol has apparently done little or nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of Congress for coups — as long as they happen somewhere else.
ACTION: Click here to email your Senators to reject this nomination. After emailing your Senators, you’ll see, on the next page, a number to phone them. Because few US media consumers have even heard about Nuland, please share this action with everyone you can, and share these two informative articles:
- Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies, Marcy Winograd: “Will the Senate Confirm Coup Plotter Nuland?”
- 25 Organizations: “Victoria Nuland’s Nomination Should Be Rejected”
(You might recommend to the staff people you reach that they read this article by Mike Ferner about the Capitol Coup experience: “Hold On to That Fear.”)
(January 11, 2021) — Who is Victoria Nuland? Most Americans have never heard of her because the US 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 US-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 US 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 “Fuck the EU” during a 2014 phone call with the US 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 US puppet and NATO booklicker Artseniy Yatseniuk to replace Russia-friendly Yanukovych.
The “Fuck 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 US 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 US-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 US 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 US 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.
Obama invited Kagan to a private lunch at the White House, and the neocons’ muscle-flexing pressured him to scale back his diplomacy with Russia, even as he quietly pushed ahead on Iran.
The neocons’ coup de grace against Obama’s better angels was Nuland’s 2014 coup in debt-ridden Ukraine, a strategic candidate for NATO membership right on Russia’s border.
When Ukraine’s Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych spurned a US-backed trade agreement with the European Union in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia, the State Department threw a tantrum.
Hell hath no fury like a superpower scorned.
The EU trade agreement was to open Ukraine’s economy to imports from the EU, but without a reciprocal opening of EU markets to Ukraine, it was a lopsided deal Yanukovich could not accept. The deal was approved by the post-coup government, and has only added to Ukraine’s economic woes.
The muscle for Nuland’s $5 billion coupwas Oleh Tyahnybok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and the shadowy new Right Sector militia. During her leaked phone call, Nuland referred to Tyahnybok as one of the “big three” opposition leaders on the outside who could help the US-backed Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on the inside. This is the same Tyanhnybok who once delivered a speech applauding Ukrainians for fighting Jews and “other scum” during World War II.
After protests in Kiev’s Euromaidan square turned into battles with police in February 2014, Yanukovych and the Western-backed opposition signed an agreement brokered by France, Germany and Poland to form a national unity government and hold new elections by the end of the year.
But that was not good enough for the neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing forces the US had helped to unleash. A violent mob led by the Right Sector militia marched on and invaded the parliament building, a scene no longer difficult for Americans to imagine. Yanukovych and his members of parliament fled for their lives.
Facing the loss of its most vital strategic naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, Russia accepted the overwhelming result (a 97% majority, with an 83% turnout) of a referendum in which Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which it had been a part of from 1783 to 1954.
The majority Russian-speaking provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine unilaterally declared independence from Ukraine, triggering a bloody civil war between US- and Russian-backed forces that still rages in 2021.
US-Russian relations have never recovered, even as US and Russian nuclear arsenals still pose the greatest single threat to our existence. Whatever Americans believe about the civil war in Ukraine and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election, we must not allow the neocons and the military-industrial complex they serve to deter Biden from conducting vital diplomacy with Russia to steer us off our suicidal path toward nuclear war.
Nuland and the neocons, however, remain committed to an ever-more debilitating and dangerous Cold War with Russia and China to justify a militarist foreign policy and record Pentagon budgets. In a July 2020 Foreign Affairs article entitled “Pinning Down Putin,” Nuland absurdly claimed that Russia presents a greater threat to “the liberal world” than the USS.R. posed during the old Cold War.
Nuland’s narrative rests on an utterly mythical, ahistorical narrative of Russian aggression and US good intentions. She pretends that Russia’s military budget, which is one-tenth of America’s, is evidence of “Russian confrontation and militarization” and calls on the US and its allies to counter Russia by “maintaining robust defense budgets, continuing to modernize US and allied nuclear weapons systems, and deploying new conventional missiles and missile defenses to protect against Russia’s new weapons systems…”
Nuland also wants to confront Russia with an aggressive NATO. Since her days as US Ambassador to NATO during President George W. Bush’s second term, she has been a supporter of NATO’s expansion all the way up to Russia’s border. She calls for “permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border.” We have pored over a map of Europe, but we can’t find a country called NATO with any borders at all. Nuland sees Russia’s commitment to defending itself after successive 20th century Western invasions as an intolerable obstacle to NATO’s expansionist ambitions.
Nuland’s militaristic worldview represents exactly the folly the US has been pursuing since the 1990s under the influence of the neocons and “liberal interventionists,” which has resulted in a systematic underinvestment in the American people while escalating tensions with Russia, China, Iran and other countries.
As Obama learned too late, the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time can, with a shove in the wrong direction, unleash years of intractable violence, chaos and international discord. Victoria Nuland would be a ticking time-bomb in Biden’s State Department, waiting to sabotage his better angels much as she undermined Obama’s second-term diplomacy.
So let’s do Biden and the world a favor. Join World Beyond War, CODEPINK and dozens of other organizations opposing neocon Nuland’s confirmation as a threat to peace and diplomacy. Call 202-224-3121 and tell your Senator to oppose Nuland’s installation at the State Department.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran. @medeabenjamin
Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author ofBlood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.
Marcy Winograd of Progressive Democrats of America served as a 2020 Democratic delegate for Bernie Sanders,and is Coordinator of CODEPINK CONGRESS. @MarcyWinograd
Nuland’s Nomination Should Be Rejected:
Read What’s Wrong with Victoria Nuland
(January 11, 2021) — Victoria Nuland, former foreign policy adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, should not be nominated for Undersecretary of State, and if nominated should be rejected by the Senate.
Nuland played a key role in facilitating a coup in Ukraine that created a civil war costing 10,000 lives and displacing over a million people. She played a key role in arming Ukraine as well. She advocates radically increased military spending, NATO expansion, hostility toward Russia, and efforts to overthrow the Russian government.
The United States invested $5 billion in shaping Ukrainian politics, including overthrowing a democratically elected president who had refused to join NATO. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Nuland is on video talking about the US investment and on audiotape planning to install Ukraine’s next leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was subsequently installed.
The Maidan protests, at which Nuland handed out cookies to protesters, were violently escalated by neo-Nazis and by snipers who opened fire on police. When Poland, Germany, and France negotiated a deal for the Maidan demands and an early election, neo-Nazis instead attacked the government and took over. The US State Department immediately recognized the coup government, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk was installed as Prime Minister.
Nuland has worked with the openly pro-Nazi Svoboda Party in Ukraine. She was long a leading proponent of arming Ukraine. She was also an advocate for removing from office the prosecutor general of Ukraine, whom then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed the president to remove.
Nuland wrote this past year that “The challenge for the United States in 2021 will be to lead the democracies of the world in crafting a more effective approach to Russia—one that builds on their strengths and puts stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.”
She added: “…Moscow should also see that Washington and its allies are taking concrete steps to shore up their security and raise the cost of Russian confrontation and militarization. That includes maintaining robust defense budgets, continuing to modernize US and allied nuclear weapons systems, and deploying new conventional missiles and missile defenses, . . . establish permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border, and increase the pace and visibility of joint training exercises.”
The United States walked out of the ABM Treaty and later the INF Treaty, began putting missiles into Romania and Poland, expanded NATO to Russia’s border, facilitated a coup in Ukraine, began arming Ukraine, and started holding massive war rehearsal exercises in Eastern Europe. But to read Victoria Nuland’s account, Russia is simply an irrationally evil and aggressive force that must be countered by yet more military spending, bases, and hostility. Some US military officials say this demonizing of Russia is all about weapons profits and bureaucratic power, no more fact-based than the Steele Dossier that was given to the FBI by Victoria Nuland.
Alaska Peace Center
Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Peace Action Maine
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City
Progressive Democrats of America
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice
Veterans For Peace Chapter 001
Veterans For Peace Chapter 63
Veterans For Peace Chapter 113
Veterans For Peace Chapter 115
Veterans For Peace Chapter 132
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
World BEYOND War