There are increasingly signs that Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande operated behind the backs of the Americans, when they traveled to Minsk last week, in an attempt to reach an agreement between the warring factions.
The 53-year-old European representative of the US government, Victoria Nuland, is responsible for guiding the United States through the Ukraine crisis and solving the problems with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in the crisis Nuland has herself become a problem.
The American gave an internal briefing to the US delegation at the Munich Security Conference last Friday. She sat on the sixth floor of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof; in the room were perhaps two dozen US diplomats and senators. The German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had just publicly spoken about the fact that weapon deliveries could serve as an accelerant in eastern Ukraine. The Americans were angry.
According to the German “Bild” newspaper, Nuland said, “We can fight the Europeans.”
According to the report, Nuland called Chancellor Merkel’s trip to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin “Merkel’s Moscow stuff.” The atmosphere heated up; one of the senators was to have ridiculed the German Defense Minister (the “Defeatism Minister”); and made a reference to the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit”.
The top diplomat Nuland will be considered a potential new Secretary of State. She is married to Robert Kagan, a neo-conservative thinker. Last year he published a text on why America must remain the undisputed leader of the world.
She already managed to make headlines after the Munich Security Conference last year with her somewhat limited mastery of language.
At that time she flew from Munich via Cyprus and Prague to Kiev, and on the way she called Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine. Nuland dispensed with special security procedures and used her normal mobile phone. So the conversation went unencrypted.
In the evening of February 4, 2014, a four minute and eleven second recording appeared on YouTube. The conversation between the two top diplomats gave a rare glimpse into the world of American diplomacy.
At the end of the call Nuland mentioned a proposal by the US government, meant to outmaneuver the hesitant Europeans, which made her world-famous.
Shortly before she had spoken with the United Nations: the United Nations should send an envoy and engage with Ukraine, then the EU would no longer have much to say. “That would be great, I think, to help advance this thing, the UN would advance things,” Nuland said, and then added: “Fuck the EU”.