Rarely has the sheer arrogance and manipulative game-playing of the United States in foreign policy been more clearly highlighted than in the recent episode involving a phone call between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey R. Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine.
In a stunning development, the entirety of the Nuland-Pyatt telephone call was taped and then released on YouTube, possibly as the result of a Russian intelligence coup or, less dramatically, by a snooper somewhere in Europe or Ukraine who managed to gain access to a crystal-clear, high-definition recording of their talk. In the course of a little over four minutes, the two American diplomats exchange ideas about who ought to be promoted, and who ought to be demoted, by the United States inside Ukraine, which is suffering through a difficult and even violent political dispute over whether Ukraine will tilt east, toward Russia, or west, toward the United States and Europe.
Let it first be noted that it shouldn’t be surprising that Nuland would come off as a would-be imperialist or game player. If anything, she’s long been the neoconservative inside the Obama administration. For starters, for years she served as chief foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as the George W. Bush administration’s ambassador to NATO. She’s married to another prominent neocon, Robert Kagan, one of the co-founders of the Project for a New American Century, the outfit that did more than any other to promote the invasion of Iraq starting in the late 1990s. For two years, Nuland served as the official spokesperson for the US State Department. Why President Obama let Nuland into his administration is anyone’s guess, but there she is.
The transcript of the Nuland-Pyatt phone call, which apparently occurred sometime last week and was released on YouTube on February 6, reveals how deeply the United States is enmeshed into internal Ukrainian affairs. The two diplomats banter about which of the Ukrainian opposition figures ought to go into the government, perhaps as prime minister, if a deal can be struck with Viktor Yanukovich, the president. As if it’s any of her business, Nuland says, referring to Vitali Klitschko (“Klitsch”), an opposition leader, “I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” To which Pyatt, after a long pause, replies, “Just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff.” Instead, Pyatt and Nuland agree that Arseniy Yatseniuk (“Yats”) ought be the guy who goes in. “I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.” Then Nuland concludes: “I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.”
After going back and forth, in which the two Americans decide on who’ll make what phone call to give Yats and Klitsch their apparent marching orders, and after they note that Oleh Tyahnybok, who represents an outright fascist-nationalist party, might be a “problem” (but, still, it seems, someone they can work with), it gets worse.