- Print This Post Print This Post


By John Helmer, Moscow

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland (right), was born in 1961. She is too young to have read Graham Greene’s book, The Quiet American, published in 1955 to explain why US attempts to liberate Vietnam by inventing a “Third Force” of locals would end in death and destruction for the Vietnamese; failure for the Americans. The US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt (left), born in 1963, is two years younger than Nuland, and that much more innocent of the meaning of The Quiet American.

Listen as these two talked on the telephone a few days ago. They are as quiet as Greene’s CIA man was, just as the Vietnam War was getting under way.

The US lost that war, evacuating the Saigon embassy and the country in April 1975. Nuland was 14 years old that year; Pyatt 12. They didn’t know that by then 58,220 American soldiers had been killed; 600,000 Vietnamese soldiers on both sides; and at least half a million Vietnamese civilians. No Third Force was left at the end, but enough Vietnamese to pick up the pieces, and rule for themselves.

Read the book for yourself. Then listen to Nuland and Pyatt discussing how to run the Ukraine, whom to put in the government in Kiev; whom to keep out while they do their “ homework”, and how often the members of this Third Force should talk with each other, and with their US minders before “the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”

Listen to Nuland confirm that Yulia Tymoshenko’s substitute, Arseni Yatseniuk (“Yats” 2nd from right), cannot work with the US presidential choice, Vitali Klitschko (“Klitch”, 2nd from left)). About Oleg Tyagnibok, the pro-fascist politician from Lviv, in the west of the Ukraine, Pyatt and Nuland don’t yet see eye to eye. Pyatt calls him a problem because he’s not a “moderate democrat”. Nuland thinks the new government she favours “should be talking to [Tyagnibok] four times a week”. Pyatt and Nuland agree that Tyagnibok is now one of the “Big Three”, whom they are planning to call in to the ambassador’s office shortly.

On present Ukrainian polling, the “Big Three” names whom Nuland and Pyatt have selected – Klitschko, Yatseniuk, and Tyagnibok – have the support of 19.1%, 6.3%, and 3.6% of Ukrainian voters. That’s 29% in all. To turn this Third Force into a majority capable of winning either a parliamentary or a presidential election, Pyatt says a senior American politician must be flown to the Ukraine as soon as possible “to help midwife this thing”. Nuland has anticipated the idea, she says, and is arranging for Vice President Joe Biden. His job, she says, will be “for an attaboy and to get the deeds to stick”.

Attaboy is American slang for vocal approval, originally in military and sports usage. Pyatt’s game is clear, as he assures Nuland: “I think we are in play.”

What the game is for Klitschko follows. As everyone who has met Klitschko understands, his fists are capable; his heart is in the right place; but in the brains department there’s noone at home. By agreeing he has to be kept out of government to study his “homework”, two mid-level US officials reveal the cynicism of Washington’s scheme – President Victor Yanukovich must be ousted before his elected term runs out next year; former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko must be kept in prison; and Klitschko must be coached until he’s ready for a stage-managed presidential contest.

The State Department spokesman said yesterday: “I’m not going to confirm or outline details…I’m not going to confirm private diplomatic conversations. I’m just not going to confirm the specifics of it… I didn’t say it was inauthentic. I think we can leave it at that.” But the spokesman also conceded that Nuland has apologized to her EU counterparts “for these reported comments, of course.”

“It is no secret that Ambassador Pyatt and Assistant Secretary Nuland have been working with the Government of Ukraine, with the opposition, with business and civil society leaders to support their efforts, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that at any point, there have been discussions about recent events and offers and what is happening on the ground. .. It remains the case that it is up to the Ukrainian people themselves to decide their future. It is up to them to determine their path forward, and that’s a consistent message that we’re conveying publicly and privately.”

As for what Ukrainian voters should know about the path to the US embassy the opposition politicians are treading, the State Department spokesman says the media messenger should be shot. “This is a new low in Russian tradecraft in terms of publicizing, posting…this is something they’ve been actively promoting, posting on, tweeting about, and certainly that we feel that represents a new low.”

Had Nuland not been recorded as saying “Fuck the EU”, the anti-Russian media in the US and Europe might have been persuaded to stay silent, or to dismiss the recording as a Russian fabrication. Much more than the fuck-you has been revealed as a result; and the tradecraft for listening in to such conversations for days or weeks has been sacrificed to its significance. As tradecraft in signals interception and disclosure goes, the Nuland-Pyatt release is extraordinary.

Leave a Reply