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by John Helmer, Moscow 

As enemies go, Victoria Nuland (lead image), the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, was as threatening for Russia as the Thane of Cawdor was for Scotland and Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play about multiple homicide to capture state power.   

Cawdor repented for his treason in the moment before he died on the scaffold. His execution  then allowed Macbeth to take Cawdor’s title and assets for himself, then move on to murder the Scottish king, and replace him until Macbeth was killed himself.

The murdering Nuland has committed was foretold by many more sources than the three witches in Shakespeare’s plot.  

But if Nuland has witchly premonitions, she lacks Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking guilt. In Nuland’s case, it is plain that as her murdering has accelerated, she has been gorging herself with food. In the play Lady Macbeth succumbed and then killed herself offstage. Nuland has just left the stage one hundred pounds heavier than when she entered it. Not auspicious, according to the Heart Foundation.

The script of Nuland’s exit is also not Shakespearian in quality. There is not a single Washington journalist or analyst whose job it has been for years to follow the scheming inside the State Department to report what those in a position to know believe is the reason for Nuland’s hasty “resignation”, as it is being called by the Washington Post,  the New York Times,  and the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. His public obituary started with the idea that he had been taken by surprise when Nuland “has let me know that she intends to step down in the coming weeks”; it ended with the immediate naming of Nuland’s replacement,  and her tombstone inscribed with “the lasting mark she’s made on this institution and the world.”  

For the haste of her exit; for its timing late in the US presidential election campaign and as the Ukrainian military collapses, no one in a position to know believes Nuland’s reasons as they have been leaked by reporters close to her – that her ambition had been offended by her failure to be promoted from Number-3 to Number-2 at State; that her feminism was violated by the non-promotion; and that her Russia warmaking had been subordinated by the higher priority of the White House to fight China.

Nor is her departure a case of avoiding blame for the failure of US policy in the Ukraine and in Europe, as the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova,  declared yesterday. Nuland is responsible for “the fiasco of American foreign policy”, Zakharova said. “The bet was a huge one. Everything was staked by the liberal Democrats starting with Barack Obama. That bet has now been lost. An absolute fiasco — the rush by V.A. Zelensky begging for at least something more — the White House rejecting his requests — discord everywhere in NATO… No one has a clear idea what to do…A complete fiasco.”  

Zakharova didn’t claim that the US and NATO leaders, their military staffs, and political advisors lack clarity on what they don’t want to risk – that’s to continue the war which Nuland has been promoting, and to escalate it with new weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield, and by attacks deep into Russia itself with nuclear-capable missiles like the German Taurus and US F-16s.  

If that is what the Russians think is happening and if they are correct – re-read the double negative — then the reason for Nuland’s exit is either that she was forced out, principally by the Joint Chiefs of Staff  before she could do more damage to US military assets in Europe; or that she decided not to be in office when the Articles of Capitulation are signed between Kiev, Lvov, and Moscow.

Unlike Lady Macbeth, Nuland has not gone offstage to expire. The Fat Lady isn’t singing the only song Nuland thinks she can still sing.

In Shakespeare’s version, Macbeth’s plot to kill Cawdor falls short because Duncan, the king of Scotland, announces he is promoting his son to a new title and appoints him as his successor king instead of Macbeth. This leaves Macbeth and his wife no alternative but to murder Duncan before the succession can take place. “In my way it lies,” Macbeth thinks in an aside that is Shakespearian for cover-up. “Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires.”  

Read the full play here.  The lead quote appears in Act 1, Scene 4.

The journalist with the longest lasting ambition to promote himself by advancing the self-serving stories of officials who cultivated him, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, has vocally reported Nuland’s claims of murderous plotting and scheming inside the Kremlin.  That was a year ago, on February 23, 2023. Now that the murderous plot is on the other foot, in Washington, Ignatius is dumbstruck.    

In Moscow yesterday evening, Vzglyad, the semi-official platform for security and military analysis, issued its assessment of Nuland’s exit and the plot behind it.   The Russian report has been translated verbatim.

One Russian mistake – Nuland has been the third-ranking official at State, not the fourth as reported; she has also been the second-ranking as well as the first in an acting capacity – has been left in the English text.  This mistake aside, a comparison of the Russian analysis with the American one reveals the relative incapacity of US officials and their mouthpieces – and this isn’t to count the effectiveness of the GRU and other Russian services to penetrate, record and understand what Nuland, Ignatius and the rest are planning.  

There’s no hiding their “fires” or “black and deep desires.”

Illustrations have been added.

Click to read: https://vz.ru/

March 5, 2024
Nuland’s successor should scare Zelensky
By  Dmitry Bavyrin

US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is retiring from the civil service. She was responsible for relations with Russia back in the days of the first Yeltsin government, but all-Russia fame came to her after the distribution of “cookies” on the Maidan. There are serious reasons why Nuland chose retirement, even though she was destined for the Secretary of State’s chair. And the President of Ukraine has reason to be apprehensive of the candidacy of her replacement.

Formally, Victoria Nuland was only the fourth [in fact third] in the US diplomatic hierarchy, but in terms of her real influence she is comparable to the Number-1 —  Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whose place, according to rumours, she was aiming for. They are close in views, but belonged to different clans, and Nuland loomed over Blinken like a Nemesis: if it was decided to write off all the foreign policy failures of the Biden period and remove Blinken from office, the State Department would certainly go to her.

She is only a year older than Blinken, but as a diplomat she is old enough to be his mother. He is more of an armchair theorist than a practitioner, more of a “hand-me–down” to politicians than a politician, whereas Nuland usually worked “on the front line” – in secure situation rooms around the world, being a career ambassador in both the Russian and American sense of the term.

In Russia, this means that the individual entered the diplomatic service not from the outside (for example, as a political appointee), but through specialized education and climbed the  ladder of the ranks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And in the United States, this is something like the principal title of honour for diplomats – a sign not only of merit, but also of the highest professional qualifications. Since 1956, only six dozen people have received this honorific, and Nuland is one of the most famous on the list.

She was good at her job; had been responsible for important areas for Washington for decades – NATO, Russia, Ukraine;  it was as if she was born someday to become head the State Department, and best of all now, when it is especially fashionable to appoint women. However, President Joe Biden is stubbornly sticking to Blinken, whom he has known for a long time and intimately. He trusts him and he does not want to replace him with stronger and more independent characters like Nuland.

Blinken briefs Biden, October 7, 2023 – White House picture. No comparable picture of Biden with Nuland has been found.

Nevertheless, the Secretary of State must have breathed a sigh of relief when he received Nuland’s resignation letter.

The fact that Blinken himself announced the departure of his likely rival for the succession seems to indicate his desire to cut off her escape route and the opportunity to change her mind. Whether this is true or not, he did not skimp on compliments, calling Nuland “exceptional” and promising her a place in the history books because of the role she has played in the events around Ukraine.

There may also be a place for that in Russian textbooks, only with different emphasis.  Nuland became famous on our side of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic when she distributed cookies to Euromaidan protesters on the eve of the [February 21, 2014 Kiev] coup. And this fame was supported by the fact that she continued to oversee the Ukrainian direction and was Washington’s main negotiator with Moscow on all issues arising from this.

Then Assistant Secretary of State, Nuland handed out cookies in Maidan Square in Kiev, December 11, 2013.

The beginning of the Special Military Operation is her personal failure.  Nuland tried to prevent such a turn of events, but could not maintain the necessary degree of control over the self–willed Ukrainian government. She also allegedly wanted to prevent the resignation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, and also failed. Shortly after that, Nuland ceased to act as Blinken’s Deputy Secretary of State and the Number-2 person in the State Department; she had been formally considered the replacement [for Wendy Sherman]  in this position and lasted six months before Kurt Campbell was appointed; now, a month later, she resigns from her “post number four” [three], that is, definitively.

It is unlikely that this fall is due to failures. There are many failures in Nuland’s career, primarily because she worked in the most difficult areas. It’s much more like escaping from a sinking ship, when the ship is the Joe Biden administration.

It seems unlikely that he will be able to win the presidential election in eight months’ time.  In Nuland’s eyes, he may be altogether non-credible now, since she interacts with “old Joe” personally and is more privy to his medical diagnosis than many others.  And with the return of Donald Trump to the White House, continuation of her work in the State Department is incompatible, despite her experience and seniority.

Although Nuland is strongly associated with the Democratic Party of Obama and Biden, she is a nonpartisan diplomat – a career professional who remains in service regardless of who is  president. Nuland received her first non-bureaucratic position,  but an important public role as U.S. ambassador to NATO under Republican George W. Bush. It is very possible that her husband Robert Kagan, a political theorist, and concurrently a friend and like–minded associate of the entourage of both Bushes, the elder and the younger, contributed to this.

His strong connection with the “neocons” – the most aggressive wing of the Republicans – still holds, although Kagan himself left the party on the arrival of President Trump, cursing him in every way.

Nuland also left the civil service then: maybe because of her husband, or rather because her political credo suited both neocon Republicans and globalist Democrats, but not the isolationist Trumpites. This credo is to maintain the global dominance of the United States at all costs and fight unsubservient regimes with the help of force.

She has publicly stressed that the work of diplomats and the military complement each other. This is true, but coming from a supporter of American expansionism, it sounds blood-curdling —  in the spirit of the eternal “wars for democracy” around Russia and oil.

Trump is more in favour of keeping soldiers at home, and NATO to disband as too expensive. This is primarily why the neocons declared themselves the main opponents of Trump within the party, but lost and were pushed from significant party posts to the sidelines during the Trump revival – this was caused,  not by the fact that the former president is really estimable, but rather by the fact that the incumbent (i.e. Biden) is really execrable.

For their last political ploy, the neocons invested in the presidential campaign of Nikki Haley, but now it is obvious that it would be easier to put Trump in the ground than to raise Haley above him.

Biden is also, to put it mildly, not a fighter, so the opportune time to leave for Nuland is now. Blinken will be with the boss to the end, like a faithful steward. Nuland does not need to transfer her portfolio to the Trumpists who hate her; who will ask unpleasant questions about her, and delve into sensitive details.  

Therefore, she will transfer the portfolio to John Bass,   another professional diplomat with similar views, whose track record, however, should make Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky wince. Bass is not a new clinician. More like a pathologist.

He was the ambassador to Afghanistan when the Americans fled, leaving the country to the Taliban. And as ambassador to Georgia when Washington’s protégé Mikheil Saakashvili lost power. And also as ambassador to Turkey, when President Recep Erdogan, resisting an attempted military coup, conducted a large-scale purge of American agents and agents of influence.

Left, Ambassador John Bass with then Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Kabul on June 25, 2019. 

That is to say, the person who inherits all the Ukrainian problems from Nuland is not very fortunate, but he certainly knows how to destroy the evidence and seal the premises. But this is exactly what Nuland and Biden  need in Ukraine – also [Hunter] Biden Jr., whose greed and forgetfulness brought his father under impeachment, and the entire globalist elite which  fanned the conflagration of war in Eastern Europe could not curb it. 

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