Victoria Nuland Had A Hand in Every US Intervention in the Past 30 Years
by Rick Sterling, published on MintPress News, February 11, 2021
A resume for Victoria Nuland
President Joe Biden’s nomination of Victoria Nuland for Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the third-highest position at the State Department, is a dangerous sign. Nuland exemplifies the neoconservatives who have led American foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years, all while evading any shred of accountability.
As a top-level appointee, Nuland must still be confirmed by the Senate. And while pro-peace groups have waged a campaign to stop her confirmation, reflecting on her career in public service makes clear why she is incompetent, highly dangerous, and should not be confirmed.
Afghanistan and Iraq
From 2000 to 2003, when the Bush administration attacked and then invaded Afghanistan, Nuland was serving as Bush’s permanent representative to NATO. The Afghan government offered to work with the Americans to remove al-Qaeda, but the offer was rejected. After al-Qaeda was defeated, the U.S. could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, splintered the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.
From 2003 to 2005, Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein, including making [the] Bush administration’s case for preemptive military action based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, including Nuland, insisted that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a U.S. “ally” would be simple.
The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with PTSD, and a bill for American taxpayers of 2 to 6 trillion dollars.
From 2005 to 2008, Nuland served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO where her role was to “strengthen Allied support” for the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
When Nuland was asked about the lessons learned on the tenth anniversary of the invasion, she responded:
Compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement … We have deep economic interests and ties. We have a security relationship. We have a political relationship.”
Nuland’s response makes clear that she is oblivious to the costs, and that her loyalties are to the elite who are still benefiting from the tragedy. Indeed, “one of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton.” Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in ‘federal contracts related to the Iraq war.’ Nuland’s boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, was its former CEO.
In January 2020, seventeen years after the U.S. invasion, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution demanding U.S. troops and contractors withdraw from their country. Now, over one year later, they still have not left.
In the spring of 2011, Nuland became State Department spokesperson under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she ramped up the “regime change” assault on longtime U.S.-ally, Moammar Ghaddafi of Libya. UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorized a “No Fly Zone” for the protection of civilians but not an air assault on Libyan government forces. Yet that summer, as the U.S. and her NATO allies bombed and attacked Libyan forces, Nuland dismissed the option of a peaceful transition in Libya and suggested falsely that the UN Security Council required the removal of Ghaddafi.
The bombing campaign led to the toppling of the Libyan government and the brutal public murder of Ghaddafi at the hands of anti-government rebels. Commenting on the murder (and bayonet sodomizing of Ghaddafi) Nuland’s boss Hillary Clinton now famously chortled:
We came, we saw, he died.”
Before Ghaddafi’s overthrow, Libya had the highest standard of living in all of Africa. Since the U.S.-led assault though it has become a failed state with competing warlords, huge inflation, huge unemployment, and exploding extremism and violence that has spread to neighboring countries. Most of the migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, or drowned trying to, are coming from Libya. By any measure, the goal of “protecting” Libyan civilians has failed spectacularly.
One reason that Clinton and hawks like Nuland wanted to overthrow Ghaddafi was ostensibly to gain access to Libya’s military arsenal. Doing so would allow them to funnel arms to insurgents seeking to overthrow the Syrian government and any other enemy of the United States or her allies in the region.
This was confirmed in secret DOD documents which stated:
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria.
In January of 2012, Nuland claimed that the United States was “on the side of those wanting peaceful change in Syria.” At the same time, the U.S. was supplying sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and 125 mm and 155 mm howitzer missiles to the purportedly “peaceful” anti-government protestors in the country,
The U.S. “regime change” strategy for Syria followed the pattern of Libya. First, claim that the protestors are peaceful. Then claim the government’s response is disproportionate. Put pressure on the target government to paralyze it, while increasing proxy support for protesters and subversive anti-government groups. As documented, there were violent protesters in Syria from the start. During the first days of protest in Deraa in mid-March of 2011, seven police officers were killed. As a spokesperson for the State Department, Nuland was a major figure promoting that narrative in order to justify the “regime change” campaign.
In September of 2013, Nuland was appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The uprising in Ukraine’s Maidan central plaza began soon after her arrival. To underscore American support for the protests, Nuland and Senator John McCain passed out bread and cookies to a crowd of anti-government protesters.
The protests continued into January of 2014. The issue at hand was a loan from the International Monetary Fund which would require a 40% increase in natural gas bills, or to accept a loan from Russia with the inclusion of cheap oil and gas. The opposition, wary of Russia and in favor of Ukraine’s alignment with “western” powers, wanted the Yanukovych government to accept the IMF loan. That opposition was comprised of different factions, including the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and Right Sector.
In early February of 2014, an audio recording of Nuland talking to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, was leaked to the public. The four-minute-long conversation was a media sensation as it included Nuland saying, “F**k the EU,” in reference to the European Union’s interests in Ukraine.
*Featured Image: Victoria Nuland listens to questions during a press conference after talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade, July 13, 2014. Darko Vojinovic | AP.
Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who lives in the San Francisco Bay area. He has visited Syria several times since 2014. Since retiring as an engineer at UC Berkeley, he has researched and written about international relations, especially the Middle East. Sterling is an active member of Syria Solidarity Movement and current board president of the Task Force on the Americas. He can be contacted at rsterling1(at)gmail.com