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Crisis in Ukraine
Putin Throws Down the Gauntlet
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  • WigWag

    “In this context, it’s important to keep in mind that the United States and Russia have had a “channel” open for some time now between Putin’s advisor Vladislav Surkov and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland.” (Damir Marusic)

    Damir, why don’t you tell your readers who may be unaware of it exactly who Victoria Nuland is?

    For those who don’t know, Nuland is a walking, talking disaster; but it’s not just her. Nuland’s entire extended family perfectly epitomizes the bipartisan calamity that foreign policy elites have delivered to our nation.

    Nuland herself was an advisor to Dick Cheney but it wasn’t long before Hillary Clinton became her new mentor. After Clinton left the State Department, John Kerry appointed her as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. As a Clinton protege she’s likely to be appointed to a plum position if Clinton wins. If Senate Confirmation is needed it won’t be any problem at all. Her hawkish neoconservative credentials make her a favorite of the GOP. The venal John McCain and Lindsey Graham both love her.

    Like Nuland, her husband, Robert Kagan is a political hermaphrodite. The ambidextrous couple change political parties with ease depending on who controls the White House. Nominally a Republican, Kagan was a big proponent of the Iraq War, he’s a major advocate for regime change in the Arab world, he was a big cheerleader for Morsi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and he’s adopted the job of neoconservative whip rounding up GOP votes for Hillary Clinton.

    As terrible as this Washington power couple is; it doesn’t stop there for the Nuland/Kagan clan. Robert Kagan’s brother Fred is a “scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute and his sister-in-law, runs another think tank, the Institute for the Study of War.

    All of these think tanks are heavily funded by defense contractors. These donors love the Nuland/Kagan family. After all, the first family of American intervention has never seen an American military action they couldn’t endorse. Naturally defense contractors find that very good for business. The fact that it’s working class boys and girls getting their arms and legs blown off in these wars that our leaders have no intention of actually winning means nothing to Victoria Nuland, Robert Kagan or their immoral ilk.

    There has been no greater advocate for muscular American intervention in Ukraine than Victoria Nuland. People of good will can disagree about whether the overthrow of the creepy but fairly elected Viktor Yanukovych was a coup or a revolution; no one can disagree that Victoria Nuland had her dirty little hands all over it.

    Should the United States spend any time or treasure worrying about Ukraine?

    I don’t think so, but I understand why plenty of smart people think we should.

    My point is that the serial foreign policy disasters we’ve experienced for the last fifteen years were created by a horrendous bipartisan consensus that continues to bleed our country dry.

    No family represents this bipartisan horror show better than Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan.

    • rheddles

      Couldn’t agree more. That’s why they should replace her with Harf.

    • adk

      “People of good will can disagree about whether the overthrow of the creepy but fairly elected Viktor Yanukovych was a coup or a revolution; no one can disagree that Victoria Nuland had her dirty little hands all over it.”

      Do you have any links to back it up? (No, RT and the likes don’t count.) If not, you are just spinning Putin’s propaganda.

      What’s “muscular American intervention in Ukraine”? Has anybody in the US FP circles advocated for more than providing intelligence, defensive weapons, and some training to Ukraine (all of which Obama rejected)? If so, I’d like to see links.

      Are you aware that upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has given up all of its nuclear weapons (about 1/3 of the Soviet nukes and 3rd largest nuclear arsenal in the world.)
      From Wiki:
      In 1994 Ukraine agreed to destroy the weapons, and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
      On December 5, 1994 the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to provide Ukraine with security assurances in connection with its accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. The four parties signed the memorandum… [which] reads as follows:

      1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

      2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine[snip]
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Ukraine

      Do you understand that we a) gave that commitment because of our own security interests and that b) under Obama, we’ve totally reneged on it in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine?

      Finally, you’ve made it your little specialty on these pages to accuse various people of underhanded, if not traitorous, motives. Thus, “the Nuland/Kagan clan” just love to send our “working class boys and girls” to various foreign wars where they are “getting their arms and legs blown off” because of the “defense contractors” who are providing that “clan” with fat paychecks.

      Both Fred and Robert Kagan publish their view widely and openly — feel free to discuss them here and elsewhere instead of spinning your wild conspiracy theories about their motives. Otherwise, many “smart people” may decide that you are just a vile Trump hack (that, incidentally, is my opinion of you.)

      • Kev

        What, giving out cookies to pro-Western rebels doesn’t count? lol

        There is an intercepted phone conversation, where Nuland discussed future Ukrainian govt, while Yanukovich was still president. Nuland favored appointing Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk as the next prime-minister of Ukraine. Guess who was appointed the next prime-minister of Ukraine?

        • adk

          Here’s the transcript of that call with the comments from the BBC:
          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

          It shows that Nuland representing the US government was trying to broker, in a fast-moving popular uprising environment, an outcome that the US government preferred. What it does not show is that the US government had engineered a coup against Yanukovich. The latter conclusion has been confirmed in abundance later when the Obama government refused to provide the new government of Ukraine with any meaningful military assistance in its conflict with Russia.

          • Kev

            You’re arguing over semantics here. Either way the coup wouldn’t succeed without US inteference.

            Again, twenty thousand thugs in the streets of Kiev, paid and organised by American NGOs do not make for a “popular uprising”.

          • adk

            No, I’m simply saying that the phone conversation between Nuland and the US ambassador Pyatt show nothing other than an attempt to broker a political deal in Kiev. If you have any links on the “twenty thousand thugs in the streets of Kiev, paid and organised by American NGOs”, it wouldn’t be too difficult to show them here, would it?

          • Kev

            You won’t find any references in the mainstream US media (for obvious reasons), so I suppose this have will do:

            https://www.sott.net/article/292842-Euromaidan-Anatomy-of-a-Washington-backed-coup-d-etat
            https://www.rt.com/news/233439-us-meddling-ukraine-crisis/
            https://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/

            Or you could just use google search, the truth is out there!

          • adk

            Ah, the RT (AKA the art of propaganda) and the likes. And of course our MSM wouldn’t publish any of that because they are in the tank for the evil US government, such as it is, and the equally evil American NGOs “funding and organizing” the “20,000 Ukrainian thugs”. No, those won’t do, by a long mile.

            So again, why do you choose to believe all that but not the proposition that the Ukrainians rose up against Yanukovich on their free will? And what are those “3 coup d’états in countries on Russia’s border” that the US presumably organized? What are those two other countries (Ukraine, per you, being one of them I suppose)?

          • Kev

            We will never agree on anything if your only acceptable source of information is American MSM. It should be pretty obvious by now that this is just a giant BS machine – just look at how they’re treating Donald Trump. Saying that US media are state-controlled wouldn’t be accurate, rather the same corrupt interests that own the MSM also own US government/politicians.

            I don’t choose to disbelieve the picture that US media are creating, I know for a fact this picture isn’t true. Ukraine is a divided country, and pro-Western radicals, although real, do not make up the majority of the population.

          • adk

            “I don’t choose to disbelieve the picture that US media are creating, I know for a fact this picture isn’t true.”

            And your knowledge comes from RT and the likes? You are of course free to live in whatever reality you choose (if you live in the West that is) and play your role as Putin’s useful idiot, but I got my answers and have no further interest in you.

          • Kev

            Assuming everyone who disagrees with you is “Putin’s useful idiot” is a sign of narrow, paranoid mind. What are you, some kind of McCarthy wannabe?

  • Nevis07

    As I’ve said for years now, just as with China, we should have the same foreign policy toward Russia of a mirroring/reciprocity foreign policy. These are countries that only respect power and actions, therefore if they make a destabilizing move in the west, then we do the same in their backyards. If they decide to play trade wars by stealth tariffs, then we do the same, if they start putting little green men in our neighbor’s backyard, we support rebel movements in their, if they start building military bases under the guise of security in grey zones, we do the same to them, if they double down on their internet propaganda campaign or continue their electronic espionage campaign we shut down their country’s servers for a week. As a side note, an added benefit of such a policy is that both Russia and China want to be treated as equals, and so if we are actually treating them as equals, then they can’t really complain (too much)… optics is incredibly valuable in diplomacy…

    Make it clear that each of their actions have an equal and opposite reaction. And make that an official and very public policy for the world to know – that is very important, especially because of both Russia and China’s international public disinformation campaigns. It has to be be very clear and public, f**k with us and we f**k with you. Of course this administration clearly thinks appeasement is the correct approach; maybe the next one will recognize differently.

    • Kev

      Hate to break it to you, but Ukraine is Russia’s backyard, just look at the map. And US govt already instigated 3 coup d’états in countries on Russia’s border, what could be more destabilizing than that? Imagine if the Russians did a coup in Mexico, and installed a militantly anti-American regime in place? Now, Imagine if this Mexican regime began sending terrorists across the border, how would the US react?

      Frankly, Ukraine’s “democratic government” is extremely lucky to still be alive!

      • Nevis07

        Hi Kev, thanks for the comment. Part of this discussion of course is about an interpretation of events. In my view the Maidan protests were very much a genuine and grassroots revolution which ousted a corrupt president and government that was bought and paid for by the Russian intelligence and crime syndicate (is there much of a difference?). In this respect, the US simply was supporting a genuine democratic uprising, as opposed to simply planning it all from the beginning. EIther way, only the spooks from each side know how much either country was involved; you and I can only speculate based on what we’ve read from leaked information such as Nunland’s conversation or otherwise.

        In this respect, what you’ve suggested is to set up a false equivalency not so different that China can make the South China Sea it’s own private pool because the US has made the Gulf of Mexico it’s own private pool. This of course is simply not true. Either way, none of this takes apart my argument for a policy of reciprocity, in my opinion.

        Now, if you want to make the argument that the US should not involve itself as a matter of strategic realpolitik calculation (i.e. that the US has decided it simply is not worth the effort to involve ourselves in supporting a democratic Ukraine to allow Russia to exercise control of it’s backyard, or for China to unilaterally take over the SCS) then that is an entirely different discussion, though one that IS worth having.

        • Kev

          Look we can all have our interpetations, but you need to aknowledge some basic facts:

          Fact 1: President Yanukovich was elected in a free and fair election, as confirmed by OSCE.
          Fact 2: The manner in which Yanukovich was deposed was NOT democratic (because 20000 thugs in the streets of Kiev can’t speak for the entire country)

          What this means is that US supported an illegal coup. You have no evidence to back up your claims that Ukrainian president was owned by Russian intelligence, but there is strong evidence that US had a hand in his illegal ouster.

          Now, if your worldview is build on the idea that American poo doesn’t stink, and “it’s different when we do it”, you shouldn’t be surprised when other great powers disagree and you get pushback from Russia, China and Iran. The pushback you’re getting is entirely your own fault.

      • adk

        “And US govt already instigated 3 coup d’états in countries on Russia’s border”

        Care to elaborate?

  • Kev

    Let’s face it, Ukraine is a non-entity in military terms, completely dependent on foreign aid economically, and politically disfunctional. The country is too weak to win a war, and too disfunctional to even negotiate peace. Therefore, peace has to be imposed on Ukraine – makes perfect sense to me.

    • adk

      Ukraine is weak indeed, but managed to thwart Putin’s plans even without any significant military assistance from the West. The subsequent Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia because of its aggression against Ukraine, however weak and incomplete, proved biting enough — the Russian ruble cratered.

      Now, why are you so sympathetic to Russia?

      • Kev

        I’m interested if you have a different plan to bring this war to a close? Keep arming Ukraine until it retakes Donbass and Crimea? C’mon.

        • adk

          Can you actually respond to what I posted and not try to change the topic?

          • Kev

            My comment was very much on topic. Putin obviously doesn’t see a partner for peace in Poroshenko’s government, and with good reason. His government is too disfunctional to accomplish anything: Ukraine has yet to amend its Constitution to fulfil its part of the Minsk agreement. They can’t do it, because the parliament is full of right-wing yahoos, who would block any changes. And now there is news, that Ukraine is sending terrorists into Crimea…

            Peace has to be imposed on Ukraine. There is no other choice.

          • adk

            You didn’t, but I’ll let it pass. Re the MInsk II agreement, there’s a lot of conflicting information and outright propaganda from both Russia and Ukraine. Here’s a most recent example from the Time magazine, chosen at random from a google search:

            “… the deal is at a standstill, with both Kiev and Moscow accusing each other of not doing their part.
            Both of them are right. Among other points in the deal, Ukraine has failed to grant a blanket amnesty for the Russian-backed separatists who have been fighting the Ukrainian military in the eastern Donbass region for more than two years. For its part, Moscow has refused to give Ukraine control of its eastern border, as that would cut the separatists off from their supply lines in Russia.”

            http://time.com/4448219/vladimir-putin-ukraine-terrorism/

            My question to you remains the same, only phrased slightly differently: why do you choose to parrot the Russian version?

            A bonus question: you claim that peace has to be imposed on Ukraine. What kind of peace and who’d do the imposing and enforcing it?

          • Kev

            Minsk agreement specified a series of steps that Ukrainians need to undertake BEFORE they’re given control of the border. First, amnesty for the rebels and authonomy for Donetsk and Lughansk, then elections in these territories (that would legitimize separatist leaders), and only then they’re given control of the border. As such Ukraine is sabotaging Minsk on purpose. Kiev is delusional, they lost the war, yet they think the West could somehow still deliver them a total victory. They need a reality check.

            Ukrainian govenrment depends on US and EU financially, and is being dominated by Russia militarily. Together EU/US and Russia can make Ukraine do whatever the hell they want. They could certainly force Ukraine to make changes to its Constitution, stop its shelling of the break-away terrirtories etc to make progress on the Minsk agreement. Or the West could just lift its Russia sanctions right away. That would certainly incentivize Ukrainians to seek some sort of comprimise with Russia.

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