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nudelman

By John Helmer, Moscow

Nudelman is the real name of Victoria Nuland, co-author of the February 21 coup d’etat in Kiev; and author of the four-letter expletive by which she disposed, almost, of Germany’s objections to the war against Russia which has followed.

In Yiddish, Nudelman is generally thought to refer to the culinary trade of making “lokshen”, the Yiddish form that’s closer to the Russian лапша than to the German “nudel”. It’s also related to the verb “nudyen”, which means to whine, nag, or push. The Yiddish “nudzh”, Polish “nudzik”, and the pseudo-Russian “nudnik” are related too. They mean a pestering bore — or a boring pesterer, depending on what she whines about. In the history of the Nudelman family, the name change was initiated by Shepsel Ber Nudelman (Sherwin B. Nuland, Victoria’s father), before he got to study at Yale University. Sherwin’s autobiography reveals his father, Victoria’s grandfather, to have been a “nudzh” with syphilitic symptoms. That autobiography also introduces the Nudelman habit of saying “Fuck you” at moments of disagreement with others. When Sherwin reports saying it on page 8 of his life, “my sea of troubles had receded”. When his daughter said it this past February, the sea of troubles became a tsunami. That is, if you are Ukrainian, Russian, European.

In retrospect, the virus that accounts for the psychopathic irrationality of Pappy Nudelman doesn’t do the same explaining of his grand-daughter’s behaviour, at least not on February 21 in Kiev. At that point, the US intelligence – including the Russian signals monitoring by the USS Mt Whitney on reconnaissance picket off Sochi – indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was unready to lose Yanukovich; and equally unprepared to intervene militarily to support him. Lest Yanukovich recover, as Nudelman believed that February morning’s treaty with Germany gave him the time to do; and lest Putin put more cash into Ukraine than the US or the European Union (EU) was willing to spend, Nuland decided there was no alternative but to overthrow Yanukovich swiftly. For his replacement to be constitutional, Yanukovich ought to have shot himself — two bullets to the head — that evening. That he didn’t was a slip-up on Nudelman’s side.

What happened next the Mt Whitney’s intelligence reports hadn’t prepared Nudelman or her Washington superiors for. The Crimea moved to Russia in three weeks; the command and control of the presidency, parliament and constitution in Kiev dematerialized; the civil war between the two impoverished halves of Ukraine commenced. In retrospect, the improbability, not to say irrationality of Nudelman’s calculations has seemed staggering, especially in Berlin, which counts; even in London, which doesn’t.

How much the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has suspected of Nudelman’s psychopathology, he and Chancellor Angela Merkel, have yet to divulge. It was Merkel and Steinmeier, backed by undertakings from Putin, who negotiated the terms of the February 21 pact with Yanukovich and the opposition troika of Vitaly Klitschko, Arseny Yatseniuk, and Oleg Tyagnibok. That day the Germans, like the Russians, believed Yanukovich had agreed to early elections; constitutional reform to reduce his powers in favour of reducing his powers in favour of parliament; an end to violence against opposition demonstrators; and a tripartite programme for rescuing the Ukrainian economy (Russian, European, American).

Nudelman’s improvisations since then – hit-and-run missile and mortar attacks on “terrorist” targets; Klitscho demoted to mayor of Kiev; Petro Poroshenko promoted to president, but with none of Yanukovich’s former powers in the eastern Ukraine – seem ineffectual, if not irrational. But that’s to view her calculations from the European perspective. In Washington, in US politics Nudelman’s war has been good for at least two of the three Democratic Party contenders for the presidential election of 2016; and no good at all for the Republican Party challengers.

nomination
Source: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

The dates of the polling of Democratic voters are mostly after the Anglo-American media had begun reporting Russian forces on the point of crossing the border into eastern Ukraine, and after the first two rounds of sanctions had been announced. The polls reveal that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeats her rivals by more than fifty percentage points. In part, these scores reveal how few of the contenders have national name recognition: Andrew Cuomo is Governor of New York state; Elizabeth Warren, Governor of Massachusetts; Warren O’Malley Governor of Maryland; and Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana until last year.

yatseniukVice President Joe Biden is better known by name, but not much better off in the polls against Clinton. Since the Fox poll on April 15, Biden flew to Kiev to give Yatseniuk and Poroshenko what Nudelman had earlier programmed as his “attaboy” approval. He will be flying back on June 8 for Poroshenko’s inauguration. To get a better understanding of Ukrainian business, Biden has also arranged for one of his sons to go to work for Burisma, a junior energy explorer operating in eastern Ukraine under the control of Ukrainian oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky.

There are no fresh polls of Democratic voters to measure how much the Ukraine conflict has been good for Biden’s presidential chances.

That leaves John Kerry, Clinton’s successor as Secretary of State in February 2013. He was defeated for president himself in 2004. This March he claimed “I’m out of politics. This is my last stop.” On the other hand, the frequency and prominence of his public appearances since Nudelman’s war escalated, has made an appreciable improvement in Kerry’s public approval rating, a proxy for a presidential race test.

kerry_graph
Source: http://www.gallup.com/

Not since Kerry started his presidential campaign in 2004 has he been rated so highly. For the time being, his disclaimer of another race is so widely believed that there have been no hypothetical match-up polls to measure how much better he does against Clinton than Biden or the others. For the time being though, Kerry has to calculate that Nudelman’s war in the Ukraine is good for him. Nudelman can make the same calculation. If next year Kerry resigns to run against Clinton, or if either one of them wins the Democratic nomination to run in the election, Nudelman’s war is good for her promotion chances. That is to say, Nudelman’s war in the Ukraine is a far, far better thing she can do than she has ever done; it is a far, far better job she is aiming to go to than she has ever known before.

Nudelman’s calculation also applies to her standing if Clinton beats both Democratic and Republican rivals, and wins the presidency. At this stage in the US polls, Clinton defeats all potential Republican candidates by 8% to 17%:

clinton_graph
Source: http://publicmind.fdu.edu/

What this chart means is that the Republican runners must concentrate on defeating each other for the party nomination first. A review of their campaigning so far reveals that the Ukraine conflict is not an issue which the Republicans are using against each other. The loudest and most aggressive Republicans on Ukraine and Russia are in practice no longer candidates for election at all.

The polling of Clinton against the Republicans – all of them male – shows that Clinton loses 10 percentage points among male voters. This is the muscularity gap which Nudelman has been trying to close since February 21; and for which civil war in the Ukraine and threatened war against Russia look to be just the ticket.

Clinton and her husband, the former president Bill Clinton, have a potential corruption problem in their money-for-political-favour connections with Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk and ex-president Leonid Kuchma. This is at least as embarrassing as Biden’s link to Kolomoisky. But for the time being, the US media reporting the Clintons have scarcely noticed. The more aggressive in Ukraine Nudelman can be on Clinton’s behalf, the less American voters are likely to remember Hillary’s soft spot in that place.

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