[Victoria Nuland’s] role in the Ukrainian events forever marks her as an agent for US-supported regime change in the former Soviet sphere, and her visit anywhere in that space should be seen as the bad omen that it is.
By Andrew Korybko, March 1, 2015
Posted on Oriental Review
The US’ Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, visited Baku on 16 February as part of her trip to the Caucasus, which also saw her paying stops in Georgia and Armenia. While Azerbaijan has had positive relations with the US since independence, they’ve lately been complicated by Washington’s ‘pro-democracy’ rhetoric and subversive actions in the country. Nuland’s visit, despite her warm words of friendship, must be looked at with maximum suspicion, since it’s not known what larger ulterior motives she represents on behalf of the US government.
A Bad Omen
Nuland is most infamously known for her “Fuck the EU!” comment that was uncovered during a secretly recorded conversation with the American Ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. The two were conspiring to build a new Ukrainian government even before democratically elected (but unpopular and corrupt) president Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown by the US-supported EuroMaidan coup. Nuland played a direct role in events, not only behind the scenes, but also on the streets, since she proudly handed out cookies and other foodstuffs to the ‘protesters’ that would violently seize power just over two months later. Her role in the Ukrainian events forever marks her as an agent for US-supported regime change in the former Soviet sphere, and her visit anywhere in that space should be seen as the bad omen that it is.
Like Husband, Like Wife
Normally an individual’s personal life doesn’t have any bearing on their professional one, but in the case of Nuland, it’s the opposite because her husband is the leading neo-conservative thinker Robert Kagan. He and his ilk are known for their expertise in exploiting foreign geography to maximize US power, regardless of the regional cost. Also, he previously referred to Azerbaijan in 2006 as a “dictatorship” and said the US will “pay the price” for dealing with it when responding to a user-submitted Q&A session with the Financial Times:
“During the Cold War, both Europeans and Americans had to compromise with dictators around the world in order to weaken the Soviet Union and communism. What would be, in your view Mr Kagan, the new sort of compromises that the US government is willing to make to defeat terrorism?
Robert Kagan: Clearly we are making such kinds of compromises all over the place in the war on terrorism, although I must say I doubt they are proving very useful.
We are turning a mostly blind eye to the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, despite much rhetoric to the contrary, as well in Saudi Arabia. We have been forgiving of the dictatorships in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Nor have we been very critical of the Putin dictatorship in Russia, no matter how many people he assassinates.
This is all largely in the service of the war on terror. During the Cold War I actually believed that we wrong to support so many dictators, for it often did not help but hurt in the struggle against communism, in addition to being a violation of the principles we were struggling to defend.
I am equally unpersuaded today that our support for these dictatorships will help us fight terrorism, and once again we pay the price of moral and ideological inconsistency.”
Given the ideological context in which Nuland likely sees eye-to-eye on with her husband, plus her experience in instigating the Color Revolution in Ukraine, it is not likely that she came to Baku with positive intentions, or even with a positive image of the country in her mind. This is all the more so due to the recent scandal over Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Foreign Agent, Domestic Punishment
The US-government-sponsored information agency was closed down at the end of December under accusations that it was operating as a foreign agent. While the US has harshly chided the Azeri government for this, at the end of the day, it remains the country’s sovereign decision and right to handle suspected foreign agents as it sees fit. Azerbaijan’s law is similar to Russia’s, in that entities receiving foreign funds must register as foreign agents, and interestingly enough, both of these laws parallel the US’ own 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Continue reading