|Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs|
|Assumed office |
May 3, 2021
|Preceded by||David Hale|
|Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs|
September 18, 2013 – January 25, 2017
|Deputy||John A. Heffern|
|Preceded by||Philip Gordon|
|Succeeded by||John A. Heffern (Acting)|
|Spokesperson for the United States Department of State|
May 31, 2011 – April 5, 2013
|Preceded by||Philip Crowley|
|Succeeded by||Jen Psaki|
|United States Ambassador to NATO|
June 20, 2005 – May 2, 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Nicholas Burns|
|Succeeded by||Kurt Volker|
Victoria Jane Nuland
July 1, 1961
New York, New York, U.S.
|Education||Brown University (BA)|
Victoria Jane Nuland (born October 25, 1961) is an American diplomat currently serving as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Nuland, a former member of the foreign service, served as the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State from 2015-2017. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. She is the former CEO of the Center for a New American Security, (CNAS), serving from January 2018 until early 2019, and is also the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at Yale University, and a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy.
She served as a nonresident fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution and senior counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group. On January 5, 2021, it was reported that President-elect Joe Biden would nominate Nuland to serve as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under Secretary-designate Antony Blinken. On February 13, 2021, her nomination was formally submitted to the Senate for confirmation, and on April 29, 2021, her nomination was confirmed by unanimous consent, and she started her work as Under Secretary of State on May 3, 2021.
Early life and education
Victoria Nuland was born in 1961 to Sherwin B. Nuland, a surgeon, and Rhona McKhann. She graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1979. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1983, where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history.
From 1993 to 1996, during Bill Clinton's presidency, Nuland was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott before moving on to serve as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs.
From 2003 to 2005, Nuland served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, exercising an influential role during the years the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq.
From 2005 to 2008, during President George Bush's second term, Nuland served as U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, where she concentrated on mobilizing European support for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.
In May 2013, Nuland was nominated to act as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and was sworn in on September 18, 2013. In her role as assistant secretary, she managed diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, as well as with NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Nuland was the lead U.S. point person for the Ukrainian crisis, establishing loan guarantees to Ukraine, including a $1 billion loan guarantee in 2014, and the provisions of non-lethal assistance to the Ukrainian military and border guard. Along with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, she is seen as a leading supporter of defensive weapons delivery to Ukraine. In 2016, Nuland urged Ukraine to start prosecuting corrupt officials: "It's time to start locking up people who have ripped off the Ukrainian population for too long and it is time to eradicate the cancer of corruption". While serving as the Department of State's lead diplomat on the Ukraine crisis, Nuland pushed European allies to take a harder line on Russian expansionism.
During a June 7, 2016, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing titled "Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights", Nuland described U.S. diplomatic outreach to the former Soviet Union and efforts to build a constructive relationship with Russia. During her testimony, Nuland noted Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine which she said, "shattered any remaining illusions about this Kremlin's willingness to abide by international law or live by the rules of the institutions that Russia joined at the end of the Cold War." Nuland described four essential elements of the U.S. foreign policy towards Russia:
- Deter further aggression through the projection of strength and unity with allies;
- Build resilience and reduce vulnerability among friends and Allies facing Russian pressure and coercion;
- Cooperate on core national security priorities when U.S. interests and Russia's do align;
- Sustain ties to the Russian people and business community to preserve the potential for a more constructive relationship in the future.
Departure from State Department
Nuland left the State Department in January 2017, amid the departure of many career officials who left in the early days of the Trump administration.
Leaked private phone conversation
On February 4, 2014, a recording of a phone call between Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on January 28, 2014, was published on YouTube. The State Department and the White House suggested that an assistant to the deputy prime minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin was the source of the leak, which he denied.
In their phone conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should join a unity government, to include Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and in what ways they might achieve that outcome. Specifically, the two spoke about which opposition leaders they would like to see in government, what pitches they would give each opposition leader in subsequent calls to achieve this, and strategies on how they would try to manage the 'personality problems' and conflicts between the different opposition leaders with ambitions to become president. Nuland notified Pyatt that after the review of the three opposition candidates for the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine, the US State Department had selected Arseniy Yatsenyuk. She said: "I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. What he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week". Pyatt asked: "Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?" Nuland told Pyatt that the next step should be to set up a telephone conversation between her and the three Ukrainian candidates, with Pyatt also possibly participating. Pyatt agreed: "I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it". Yatsenyuk became prime minister of Ukraine on February 27, 2014.
According to the Washington Post,
[Nuland] was dismissively referring to slow-moving European efforts to address political paralysis and a looming fiscal crisis in Ukraine. But it was the blunt nature of her remarks, rather than U.S. diplomatic calculations, that seemed exceptional. Nuland also assessed the political skills of Ukrainian opposition figures with unusual candor and, along with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, debated strategy for their cause, laying bare a deep degree of U.S. involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine's to resolve.
A spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton stated that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation. The following day, Christiane Wirtz, Deputy Government Spokesperson and Deputy Head of the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government, stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Nuland's remark "absolutely unacceptable." The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, condemned the remark as "unacceptable."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had left the State Department by the time of the leak, argued in 2017 that the incident "didn't have lasting diplomatic repercussions". She said it was notable as an early example of Russia "weaponizing" intelligence against other states: "the Russians were not just stealing information for intelligence purposes, as all countries do; they were now using social media and strategic leaks to 'weaponize' that information."
Comments on the Trump administration
On January 24, 2018, the Washington Post published an interview with Nuland where she opined on the work of President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. She described an exodus of career foreign service officials and dysfunction within the State Department, and stated that the American judiciary and media were under assault. Nuland also decried a trend towards American isolationism stating: "When we withdraw and say it's every nation for itself, you open the door for countries dissatisfied with their territorial position and influence in the international system — or with the system itself." She encouraged whole-government responses to international issues stating, "Military leaders would be the first to say military solutions alone result in more and longer military entanglements. The role of American diplomats and political leaders is to work concurrently with the military to bring to bear all of the political tools we have."
In January 2018, the Trump administration began new high-level engagements with Russian government officials by scheduling a meeting between Russia's top general Valery Gerasimov and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti. Nuland stated, "These channels are especially vital at a time when relations at the leader level are so unpredictable." She said Scaparrotti was "uniquely positioned" to address concerns about Russia's "ongoing military role in Ukraine, its INF treaty violations, its active measures to undermine Transatlantic democracies and the other strategic tensions that are driving the US and its allies to take stronger deterrent measures."
Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan, is a historian, foreign policy commentator at the Brookings Institution, and co-founder in 1998 of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC)."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Victoria Nuland.|
- Official biography Archived November 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine at the U.S. State Department
- Official biography at the U.S. State Department (2008 archive)
- Official biography at the U.S. NATO Mission website (2010 archive)
- Works by or about Victoria Nuland in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Appearances on C-SPAN