Why Victoria Nuland Resign and What Comes Next?

By Phil Giraldi

There have been various explanations surfaced regarding why Victoria “Toria” Nuland, the devoted wife of leading neocon Robert Kagan, has unexpectedly decided to retire in late March from her No. 3 position as undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State Department, but, until she herself reveals all, most analysis will inevitably be speculative.

On March 5,  Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the development, including praise of her years of service, in saying that “she has personified President Joe Biden’s commitment to put diplomacy back at the center of our foreign policy.” That may have been an insider’s joke, as the United States is currently literally at war with much of the globe, wars that began while she has been in a senior policymaking position at the State Department.

Blinken also summed up the impact of Nuland as follows “[I]t’s Toria’s leadership on Ukraine that diplomats and students of foreign policy will study for years to come,” which might be true, but not in a positive way.

Nuland will no doubt be studied at universities for an example of how not to do diplomacy, that overthrowing an existing democracy is precisely not the way to conduct foreign policy.

Blinken also announced that serving as acting under secretary until a replacement is confirmed for Nuland will be Under Secretary for Management John Bass, who last appeared in the planning for the disastrous U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan.

I don’t know why Nuland left her senior position at this moment in time as she is only 62 years old and would appear to be still ambitious. It may be due to a family issue or her health. However, given her success at developing a confrontational post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy, one might strongly consider that she might be wary of what will come out of the upcoming election and might well be seeking to reposition herself in a foundation, a think tank or university.

It does not take a genius to recognize that a solid majority of Americans now oppose the wars in Ukraine as well as in Gaza. Nevertheless, as Nuland has long been recognized, together with her husband, as a hardcore warmonger neocon,  my good friend Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Foundation sagely warns “Neocons do not have a reverse gear.” Nor do they ever say they are sorry.

The neocons are particularly engaged in a number of foundations, the most prominent of which is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that are funded by Jewish billionaires. FDD is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz, and it is reported that the group takes marching orders from officials in the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Other major neocon incubators are the American Enterprise Institute, which currently is the home of Paul Wolfowitz, and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. Nuland could fit in quite nicely at any one of them if she has decided her usefulness vis-à-vis the Democratic Party, which has long been her home, is about to end.

Nuland is perhaps best known from her engagement as the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych more than 10 years ago. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became prime minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the Barack Obama- and Hillary Clinton-led State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government. This included media-friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

As a hardline Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. Her interference in Kiev even included U.S.-backed snipers shooting at the crowd—“friendly fire”—to create the chaos and anger that eventually motivated the protesters to “finish it,” with Nuland right there in their midst cheering them on.

Her efforts were backed by a $5 billion budget, but she is perhaps most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The replacement of the government in Kiev in 2014 was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And, to be sure, beyond regime change in Ukraine, Obama was no slouch when it came to starting actual shooting wars in places like Libya and Syria while also killing people, including American citizens, using drones. Nuland, given her senior State Department status, was certainly an architect of and signatory on the policies being pursued.

Given Nuland’s current tight embrace of policies that are equally cherished by someone named Joe Biden, the question then becomes: “Why did she jump ship and why did she do it now?” As I have observed above, there has been considerable speculation about that decision and, as Nuland has not said a word about it, the definitive answer remains elusive.

Human Events editor Jack Posobiec, in an interesting social media post, has one intriguing suggestion as he considered the Nuland move: “Don’t count her out. She’s not fleeing the grift. She’s just fleeing Biden’s sinking ship. Vicky Nuland isn’t dumb. She knows what’s coming. She’s heading into the bunker.”

Posobiec suggests that Nuland is smelling a Donald Trump victory and will not be sticking around for the revenge scenario if that turns out to be the case.

Posobiec observes that Nuland is in fact unusually close to Biden in ways that don’t bear much scrutiny. This includes her March 2016 “demand that Ukraine fire Attorney General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Hunter Biden’s corrupt company Burisma. Joe Biden then used $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to force President Viktor Poroshenko to fire Shokin.” Nuland was also at the heart of the “Russiagate conspiracy to stop then-President Trump when she passed on the so-called Steele Dossier by former MI-6 Spy Christopher Steele to the FBI. Nuland had met Steele during the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014.”

Other speculation on why Nuland has chosen to depart right now include that she wants to extricate herself from the Ukraine policy that she shaped over the course of 10-plus years, just as that policy is about to collapse. She would be distancing herself politically from the worst of the blowback, comparable to Afghan­istan but possibly much, much worse as it includes a burgeoning conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia, which could have been avoided if she and her neocon friends in power had chosen to push Ukraine into negotiating instead of fighting.

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All of which is not to say that I do not have my own take on the tale, which happens to have everything to do with the upcoming national election which Biden just might lose over his apparent addiction to overseas wars, a specialty of Nuland.

Dumping Nuland might be considered to be a positive message sent to the many potential voters who have indicated in opinion polls that they want the U.S. to end its involvement in wars like Ukraine and Gaza. In short, Biden is taking a step to project the image that he is really a man who wants peace in the world and jettisoning Nuland might be seen as part of establishing his bona fides.

So, even though the Nuland resignation appears to be voluntary, there has to be considerable suspicion that she was actually fired by her boss Blinken under orders from Biden. Blinken’s announcement of the resignation was notably light on praise for Nuland’s 30-year-plus career in pushing around foreign leaders and starting wars that need not have been fought. He chose instead to sugar-coat her “successes” without citing her most damaging failing, which was how her neocon-induced hatred of all things Russian was successful in the worst way, making sure that Washington and Moscow would fail to establish a modus vivendi after the fall of communism.

The consequences derived from that failure and the Ukraine war are still developing and might, before too long, prove to be catastrophic.

Goodbye, Victoria Nuland!

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi  can be found on the website of the Unz Review.