Victoria Nuland

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Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland State Department.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
In office
September 18, 2013 – January 25, 2017
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Deputy John A. Heffern[1]
Preceded by Philip Gordon
Succeeded by John A. Heffern (Acting)
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
In office
May 31, 2011 – February 11, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Philip Crowley
Succeeded by Jen Psaki
United States Ambassador to NATO
In office
June 20, 2005 – May 2, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Nicholas Burns
Succeeded by Kurt Volker
Personal details
Born Victoria Jane Nuland
1961 (age 56–57)
New York, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Robert Kagan
Alma mater Brown University (BA)
Nuland meeting with Georgian defense ministry leadership, December 6, 2013
John Kerry and Victoria Nuland with Ukrainian opposition leaders Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and Klitschko, Munich, February 1, 2014
US officials Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt greet Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw on June 4, 2014

Victoria Jane Nuland (born 1961) is the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.[2] She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service.[3] On January 9, 2018, she became CEO of the Center for a New American Security.[4]

Education and personal life[edit]

Victoria Nuland was born in 1961 to a Jewish family.[5] She graduated with a B.A. in 1983 from Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history.[6] Nuland’s husband is Robert Kagan, an American historian and foreign policy commentator at the Brookings Institution.

Career[edit]

During the Bill Clinton administration, 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.

She served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Nuland became special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and then became State Department spokesperson in summer 2011.[7]

She was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in May 2013 and sworn in to fill that role in September 2013.[8] During her confirmation hearings, she faced "sharp questions" about a memo she had sent outlining the talking points that would be used by the Obama administration in the days shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attack.[9] Nuland was sworn in on September 18, 2013.[10]

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.[11] She was the lead U.S. point person for the Ukrainian crisis. Nuland was a key figure in 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.[12][13] 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".[14] 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.[15]

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."[16] Nuland described four essential elements of the U.S. foreign policy towards Russia:

  1. Deter further aggression through the projection of strength and unity with allies;
  2. Build resilience and reduce vulnerability among friends and Allies facing Russian pressure and coercion;
  3. Cooperate on core national security priorities when U.S. interests and Russia's do align;
  4. Sustain ties to the Russian people and business community to preserve the potential for a more constructive relationship in the future.[17]

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.[18] She currently serves as a nonresident fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution.[19]

Leaked private phone conversation[edit]

On February 4, 2014, a recording of a private phone call between Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on January 28, 2014 was published on YouTube.[20][21] 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.[22][23][24]

In their phone conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should be in the government after Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, to include Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and in what ways they might achieve that transition. 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.[21][22] Yatsenyuk became prime minister of Ukraine on February 27, 2014.[25]

In the recording, Nuland makes a reference to the European Union.[26] After discussing Ukrainian opposition figures Nuland states that she prefers the United Nations as mediator, instead of the European Union, adding "Fuck the EU", and Pyatt responds, "Oh, exactly ...."[21][27]

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.
[28]

"She has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course has apologized," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who also acknowledged the authenticity of the recording.[28][29] According to Psaki, senior State Department officials are not issued mobile phones that support voice encryption.[30]

Initially, a spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton stated on the same day that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation.[26] The next day, however, 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."[31] The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, condemned the remark as "unacceptable."[32]

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 claims, however, that 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.”[33]

Critique of the Trump Administration[edit]

On June 6, 2017, Nuland asserted to Christiane Amanpour of CNN that the hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was, "an intentional operation by Russian intelligence services at President Putin's direction."[34]

On January 24, 2018, the Washington Post published an interview[35] with Nuland where she provided her observations of American leadership on the international stage under President Trump and Secretary Rex Tillerson. During the interview with Jennifer Rubin that described an exodus of career foreign service officials and dysfunction within the department, Nuland stated that many of the democratic institutions within the United States, like the judiciary and media are under assault. In the article, Nuland 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. ” Nuland also encouraged whole-of-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 of 2018, the Trump administration began new high-level engagements with Russian government officials by scheduling a meeting between Russia's top general and the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization U.S. General Curtis Scaparrotti. Nuland stated, "These channels are especially vital at a time when relations at the leader level are so unpredictable." She also commented that Scaparriotti is, "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."[36]

On January 9, 2018, Nuland became CEO of the Center for a New American Security.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bureau Senior Officials". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Bureau of Public Affairs Front Office Changes". 
  3. ^ "PN1907 - 2 nominees for Foreign Service, 114th Congress (2015-2016)". December 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ "CNAS Names Victoria Nuland, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, as CEO; Robert O. Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Rejoins CNAS as Senior Defense Counselor". www.cnas.org. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  5. ^ Victoria Nuland (1961–), U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian.
  6. ^ Schwartzapfel, Beth (April 2013). "ALUMS IN THE STATE DEPT: No Praying from the Podium". Brown Alumni Magazine. 
  7. ^ "Victoria Nuland to be State Department spokesman". Foreign Policy. May 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Obama nominates Nuland for assistant secretary of state". Politico. May 23, 2013. [1] Archived July 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine..
  9. ^ Hughes, Siobhan (July 11, 2013). "Nominee Nuland Takes Heat Over Benghazi at Hearing - Washington Wire - WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Swearing-in Ceremony for Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs". Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  11. ^ https://www.albrightstonebridge.com/team/victoria-nuland
  12. ^ "Nuland On Ukraine". Voice of America. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Victoria Nuland (4 March 2015). "Testimony on Ukraine Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee". U.S. State Department. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Isabela Cocoli (27 April 2016). "US Urges Ukraine to Jail Corrupt Officials". Voice of America. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "The Undiplomatic Diplomat". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2018-01-08. 
  16. ^ Nuland, Victoria (June 7, 2016). "U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing Transcript of June 7, 2016" (PDF). www.senate.gov. 
  17. ^ Nuland, Victoria (June 7, 2016). "Testimony of Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing: "Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights" June 7, 2016" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Elise Labott (January 27, 2017). "Trump administration asks top State Department officials to leave". CNN. 
  19. ^ https://www.brookings.edu/experts/victoria-nuland/
  20. ^ Re Post (February 4, 2014). "Марионетки Майдана" [Puppets in the Public Square (marionetke maidana)]. YouTube. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call", BBC News, February 7, 2014, retrieved October 9, 2014 
  22. ^ a b Chiacu, Doina; Mohammed, Arshad (Feb 6, 2014). "Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU". Reuters. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ "BBC News - Victoria Nuland: Leaked phone call 'impressive tradecraft'". BBC Online. February 7, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ed Pilkington, Luke Harding and agencies (February 7, 2014). "Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable". Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ukraine's Arseniy Yatsenyuk warns of tough days ahead". BBC News. February 26, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Leaked audio reveals embarrassing US exchange on Ukraine, EU, Reuters (February 6, 2014)
  27. ^ Atlas, Terry; Gaouette, Nicole (February 6, 2013). "Intercepted Phone Call Shows U.S. Role in Ukraine". bloomberg.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b Gearan, Anne. In recording of U.S. diplomat, blunt talk on Ukraine, Washington Post, February 6, 2014.
  29. ^ "Top US diplomat for Europe caught swearing about EU". Express Tribune. AFP. February 7, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ Hosenball, Mark (February 7, 2014). "Leaked call on Ukraine made on unencrypted cellphones - U.S. officials". Reuters. 
  31. ^ Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable, The Guardian (February 7, 2014)
  32. ^ Kauffmann, Sylvie (February 9, 2014), "Les cinq leçons du " fuck the EU ! " d'une diplomate américaine" [The five lessons of "fuck the EU" from an American diplomat], Le Monde, retrieved February 9, 2014 
  33. ^ Clinton, Hillary Rodham (2017). What Happened. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781501175565. 
  34. ^ Exclusive: Former top Obama official speaks out - CNN Video, retrieved 2018-01-08 
  35. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (2018-01-24). "Opinion | A year of Trump foreign policy: More is broken than the State Department". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  36. ^ Hudson, John. "Trump Administration Set for Broad Engagement with Russia in Early 2018". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-01-08. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nicholas Burns
United States Ambassador to NATO
2005–2008
Succeeded by
Kurt Volker
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip Crowley
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Jen Psaki
Preceded by
Philip Gordon
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
2013–2017
Succeeded by
John A. Heffern
Acting