Caitlin Johnstone: Biden Promotes Hardliners

Virulent Russia hawk Victoria Nuland and virulent China hawk Charles Q. Brown are being elevated to lofty positions by the White House.

Victoria Nuland commenting on the “trans-Atlantic agenda” at a  D.C. forum in 2019. (Brookings Institution, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

The Biden administration looks set to become even more warlike if you can imagine that, with virulent Russia hawk Victoria Nuland and virulent China hawk Charles Q. Brown now being elevated to lofty positions by the White House.

Nuland, the wife of alpha neocon Robert Kagan, has been named acting deputy secretary of state by President Joe Biden, at least until a new deputy secretary has been named. This places her at second-in-command within the State Department, right behind Tony Blinken.

In an article about Nuland’s unique role in souring relations between the U.S. and Russia during her previous tenure in the State Department under President Barack Obama, Responsible Statecraft’s Connor Echols writes the following of the latest news:

“Nuland’s appointment will be a boon for Russia hawks who want to turn up the heat on the Kremlin. But, for those who favor a negotiated end to the conflict in Ukraine, a promotion for the notoriously ‘undiplomatic diplomat’ will be a bitter pill.

A few quick reminders are in order. When Nuland was serving in the Obama administration, she had a now-infamous leaked call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. As the Maidan Uprising roiled the country, the pair of American diplomats discussed conversations with opposition leaders, and Nuland expressed support for putting Arseniy Yatseniuk into power. (Yatseniuk would become prime minister later that month, after Russia-friendly former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country.) At one memorable point in the call, Nuland said “Fu–k the EU” in response to Europe’s softer stance on the protests.

The controversy surrounding the call — and larger implications of U.S. involvement in the ouster of Yanukovych — kicked up tensions with Russia and contributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to seize Crimea and support an insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Her handing out  food to demonstrators on the ground in Kyiv probably didn’t help either.

Nuland, along with State Department sanctions czar Daniel Fried, then led the effort to punish Putin through sanctions. Another official at State reportedly asked Fried if ‘the Russians realize that the two hardest-line people in the entire U.S. government are now in a position to go after them?’ ”


In a 2015 Consortium News article headlined “The Mess That Nuland Made,” the late Robert Parry singled out Nuland as the primary architect of the 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine, which, as Aaron Maté explained last year, paved the way to the war we’re seeing there today. Hopefully her position winds up being temporary.

In other news, the Senate Arms Services Committee has voted to confirm Biden’s selection of Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Mark Milley. A full senate vote will now take place on whether to confirm Brown — currently the Air Force Chief of Staff — for the nation’s highest military office.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.  in 2020. (U.S. Air Force, Eric Dietrich)

Brown is unambiguous about his belief that the U.S. must hasten to militarize against China in the so-called Indo-Pacific to prepare for confrontation between the two powers, calling for more U.S. bases in the region and increased efforts to arm Taiwan during his hearing before the Senate Arms Services Committee earlier this month.

Back in May, Moon of Alabama flagged Brown’s nomination in an article which also noted that several advocates of military restraint had been resigning from their positions within the administration, including Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state replaced by Nuland.

It’s too soon to draw any firm conclusions, but to see voices of restraint stepping down and proponents of escalation stepping up could be a bad portent of things to come.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

30 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Biden Promotes Hardliners

  1. Michael Kritschgau
    July 31, 2023 at 06:45

    Victoria Nuland is Madeleine Albright 2.0

    • Caliman
      July 31, 2023 at 11:40

      On steroids … :)

  2. papasha408
    July 31, 2023 at 01:59

    Hardliners! Biden promotes psychopaths.

  3. CN_commentor
    July 30, 2023 at 21:24

    I wish folk would stop assigning this ‘Biden’ any form of agency. Biden promotes zip. Biden’s handlers *are* the hardliners and simply promote one another into the shadow Politburo. The ‘Biden’ is merely a quaint historical piece of window dressing to mollify the American public.

  4. lester
    July 30, 2023 at 15:20

    Haven’t these thickos noticed that the US always loses? Moreover, thatlosing to big countries like Russia or China is likely to have more serious consequences than losing to Vietnam or Afghanistan?

  5. Tony
    July 30, 2023 at 12:45

    In one of his books, Noam Chomsky claimed that Richard Perle had been reassured by the Obama administration.

    Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

    Perhaps it was the appointment of fellow neocon warmonger Victoria Nuland that did it.

  6. Steve
    July 29, 2023 at 16:20

    If there’s one thing that convinces me of the Devil’s existence, it is this woman.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    July 29, 2023 at 11:04

    Shit always raises to the top…

  8. Graeme
    July 29, 2023 at 05:02

    some of Biden’s hardliners – eager to deflect attention from the war crimes exposed by Julian Assange, have stated (29 July 2023) that the US is not going to let Julian ‘off the hook’.
    They had the audacity to do this while in Australia participating in war games held in Queensland.

    It must be down to Albanese to to confront Biden – do not hold your breath.

    Julian Assange: US rejects Australia’s calls to end pursuit of WikiLeaks founder during Ausmin talks:

  9. James White
    July 28, 2023 at 19:23

    Joe Biden always looks for ways to feign toughness because the real Biden is a below-average con-man with a deep insecurity and lack of impulse control around females and little children. His core lack of nerve was on full display when he ran away from Afghanistan. Feeble Joe Biden doesn’t scare anyone. Likewise, Harvard’s most exalted milquetoasts Blinken and Sullivan. War-pig Nuland and woke Charlie C.Q. Brown have each risen past their peak levels of incompetence. While Nuland destroys U.S. foreign relations, Brown will be the final straw in the woke military crusade. The best and brightest aspect of this is that they will all be booted out of office in another 15 months. The re-election campaign of Joe Biden begs the question: Is it possible to fool all of the people all of the time. Incredibly, it is still an even bet.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      July 28, 2023 at 23:03

      I’m sorry, but what does “woke” have to do with military interventionists? Both are authoritarian mindsets. One is not “worse” than the other. Both parties are rife with neocons who are running the show. Neither party offers a different choice, so there’s no merit in bashing Biden beyond his atrocious policies and grifter nature.

      • James White
        July 29, 2023 at 22:28

        Air Force General C.Q. Charlie Brown is on record as having two primary objectives. One is to threaten to bomb China back into the stone age. That was already field tested and failed in Vietnam. Two, to force more ‘affirmative action’ policies within the U.S. military. Though the U.S. Supreme Court has recently made that practice obsolete. Biden thinks both of these fallacies are great, as long as they make him look tough to China and woke to Democrat voters. There are two or more 2024 U.S. Presidential candidates who are calling for an end to the Ukraine war. RFK Jr. and Trump. Ron DeSantis also opposes endless wars and is the only one of the 3 who has served in the U.S. military. None of those 3 is a neocon. Both parties offer a different choice. But the Democrats are already pulling out all of the stops to jail Trump and railroad RFK out of consideration as the Democrat nominee. As they did to Bernie Sanders.

    • JonnyJames
      July 29, 2023 at 12:21

      None of these pathetic, privileged, crooks are “tough”. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was another massive war crime, leaving had nothing to do with having “nerve”. Biden, Blinkie, War pig Nuland and hubbie Kagan, Sullivan, Bolton, Cheney, and the rest of the kakistocratic nut cases would soil themselves and start crying like babies if they were confronted with the slightest hint of danger.

      Brown is a great pick, an African American sycophant who will do the bidding of the puppet masters. This reminds me of Malcolm X’s parable of the house negro and the field negro.

    • Altruist
      July 30, 2023 at 06:18

      I share your views about these politiians, but why are Blinken and Sullivan “Harvard’s most exalted milquetoasts”? What does Harvard have to do with these people? Neither one taught there, had any position there, Sulliavan studied at other schools, Blinken may at a young age got his undergfraduate degree there, but so what – he did his graduate studies at Columbia Law School (as did I – and these studies are so long ago, they have little to do with any subsequent careers). Whatever you may think of Harvard, the school had little or nothing to do with these folks.

      • James White
        July 30, 2023 at 15:59

        Harvard graduates maintain an outsized grip on top positions of power in the U.S. government and industry. Both Blinken and Sullivan came out of the Harvard clique, as did S.C. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and many other Biden appointees. Harvard is a great institution and provides many benefits to the U.S. But the job performance of Blinken, Sullivan, Brown and others demonstrates that U.S. citizens could do a lot better with almost anyone else in their places. The U.S. State Department has never had weaker leadership under Blinken and Sullivan. Neither is a gifted orator nor persuasive diplomat. Both pale in comparison with e.g. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. Brown cannot define what what a woman is. Harvard had everything to do with these second rate people being put in charge of top government roles. They clearly did not make it on talent, knowledge or intellect. Our country is far too focused on race, sex and pedigree when we should be seeking leadership that is based on merit and capability.

  10. John Gilberts
    July 28, 2023 at 16:19

    And meanwhile, where are the antiwar and peace movements necessary to stop this madness?

    • Janet
      July 29, 2023 at 12:59

      The liberal anti-war mob only crawls out of the woodwork when a Republican president starts a war. Bush’s Iraq war: massive demonstrations throughout the world. Obama’s wars: crickets. Joe’s war: even worse–many liberals are now exposing their inner warmonger and rooting for Ukraine. Phil Ochs was right. Meanwhile, the only anti-war voices in the House are on the right, and the only anti-war voices in the presidential campaigns are Republican. But we’ll ignore that because, you know, have to maintain the “conservatives=fascism” narrative.

      • J Anthony
        July 30, 2023 at 08:17

        There are some anti-war voices on the left- Cornell West and those who support his possible campaign- though we are few in number and ignored

    • lester
      July 30, 2023 at 15:13

      Working 3 minimum wage jobs in an effort not to become homeless, probaably. Homelessness is growing, you know.

  11. Andrew Nichols
    July 28, 2023 at 15:47

    Nuland is a demagogue not a diplomat.

    • MeMyself
      July 29, 2023 at 07:36

      “Evil Woman” A song written by lead vocalist Jeff Lynne and recorded by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

      A female undoubtedly like Nuland inspired

    • Mike
      July 29, 2023 at 19:16

      People in the US just don’t care. Face it when the US moved to an “all volunteer” mercenary military they eliminated the citizen soldier. I truly believe that as long as “Jane and Johnny” are not forced into the military mommy and daddy don’t care what happens and how their taxes are spent on an already bloated defense budget. My hope this latest pick for Chairman of the JCS is not confirmed. We don’t need more war mongers.

  12. JoAnne
    July 28, 2023 at 15:14

    Where do the neocons actually come from?

    • Lois Gagnon
      July 29, 2023 at 10:20

      Under rocks.

    • JonnyJames
      July 29, 2023 at 12:23


      (See Leo Strauss and the Project for the New American Century)

    • Rubicon
      July 29, 2023 at 18:19

      “Where do the neocons actually come from?” A good question. In the case of Victoria Nuland, her grandfather came from a portion of Russia during the Czarist Era. That Jewish grandfather claims that the Czarist regime mistreated him badly, and he left for the US around 1910.
      Little Ms. Nuland grew up w/ the grandfather along with her father. By all accounts, Mr. Nuddelman was a raving lunatic who despised and hated Russia. His vitriolic outraged was constant; obviously influencing the young Victoria. It was either Victoria’s father or brother who became so unhinged by this hatred that at one point, physicians considered lobotomizing. The family environment definitely influenced Victoria’s hatred towards Russia.
      Other Neo-Cons had ancestors in Poland, Lithuania, and other E. European nations. They endured great hardship; some left for the US. They became wealthy members of society, as well as their children. And same expression of arch-hatred against Russia darkens their hearts, even though, pin-pointing Russia as The Bad Guy wasn’t necessarily correct.

  13. Caliman
    July 28, 2023 at 13:46

    Given his recent performances and demeanor, I don’t think there is a real president in charge at this point … it’s likely a dog eat dog situation in the corridors of power and whoever has the ear of “Biden” last probably makes the call.

    This is perfect timing for bullies and warmongers to get their power/projects in … a very dangerous situation. Biden has Got to go.

    • CaseyG
      July 29, 2023 at 01:13

      Oh my—–America has no real leaders—– there is no one to run for president–America was bad enough with Trump, but then came Biden—-I don’t think I have ever had a decent President. Maybe Jimmy Carter, but OMG Reagan was a nightmare. I guess America is slowly sinking into the miasma.

      • cfmmax
        July 30, 2023 at 08:42

        Don’t forget GW Bush / RB Cheney

    • LarcoMarco
      July 30, 2023 at 00:08

      Blinken has one of Biden’s ears, Nuland the other, giving him the same message in stereo on a continuous loop.

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