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6 Jan, 2021 13:28

Victoria ‘F**k the EU’ Nuland to make a comeback in Biden’s cabinet – media

Victoria ‘F**k the EU’ Nuland to make a comeback in Biden’s cabinet – media

Joe Biden has reportedly tapped Victoria Nuland, a devoted Russia hawk with a disdain for EU members and a suspected Russiagate peddler, to take the third-highest job in his State Department.

Nuland will be nominated for the position of under secretary of state for political affairs, the US media said on Tuesday with Politico being the first to drop the scoop. It’s the highest-ranking post in the department after the secretary and deputy secretary. During the Obama administration, Nuland served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and was a key official in formulating and implementing his Russia policies. She also served as US envoy to the UN under George W. Bush and advised Vice President Dick Cheney on foreign policy.

The news that the vocal Russia hawk was returning to the White House was understandably met with loud cheering by the fans of Pax American on both sides of the Atlantic. Critics were dismayed and somewhat horrified, considering her record.

Arguably the most publicly known episode of Nuland’s Obama tenure came in 2014, when a tape of her conversation with then-ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was leaked. It happened shortly after Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a wave of street protests culminating in an armed coup, which happened with much encouragement from Washington.

Nuland and Pyatt were discussing who among the coup leaders should be in the upcoming Ukrainian government, which indicated that Washington played a much bigger role in the crisis than it publicly admitted. The infamous “F**k the EU” remark came as Nuland expressed frustration with European nations, who were reluctant to lend legitimacy to the benefactors of the events, and said UN officials could be called in to help “glue this thing” instead.

The EU’s skepticism at the time could have been due to the fact that President Yanukovich was expelled under a threat of violence just hours after Germany and Poland helped seal a power sharing agreement between him and the opposition leaders, serving as guarantors of the deal. Her return as a senior diplomatic official is likely to get on a few people’s nerves in Europe, which is ironic considering how the Biden administration is supposed to rebuild alliances damaged by the Trump presidency.

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While flying private in the world of academia and think tanks during the Trump years, Nuland maintained her confrontational attitude to anyone challenging US dominance. Her recipe for dealing with Russia, as outlined in Foreign Policy magazine last summer, is more sophisticated weapons, permanent NATO bases on the Russian border (which will require abolishing a key Russia-NATO agreement) and deniable cyber operations against Moscow.

Nuland also played a peculiar part in US domestic affairs, possibly having a hand in the promotion of the notorious Steele dossier. The collection of opposition research and rumors was used by the FBI to justify surveillance of the Trump campaign and fueled the endless flood of claims that the incumbent president was somehow a Russian stooge.

An FBI memo released last year revealed that Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson “and others were talking to Victoria Nuland at the US State Department” about the file. The firm looked into Donald Trump for the Hillary Clinton campaign and retained retired British intelligence agent Christopher Steele for the job.

In multiple interviews, Nuland insisted that her role with the dossier was very limited because it dealt with domestic politics. “[Steele] passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding, and our immediate reaction to that was, ‘This is not in our purview,’” she told CBS News in 2018, adding that she advised him to go to the FBI. Some skeptics believe her role in launching the Steele dossier may have been much more significant.

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Nuland is one of many Obama-era officials tapped by Biden to serve again with him at the helm. In addition to her, the latest reported batch includes Wendy Sherman, the former under secretary of state for political affairs, Jon Finer, who had various roles under Obama, and Amanda Sloat, ex-deputy assistant secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean affairs.

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