A ‘Desperate’ Nuland in Africa

A South African official met an unprepared and “desperate” Victoria Nuland, begging for local help rolling back the popular coup in Niger. The recent BRICS conference might give Nuland even more to fret about, reports Anya Parampil.

Nuland. (U.S. State Dept./Wikimedia Commons)

By Anya Parampil
in Johannesburg, South Africa
The Grayzone

When U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to South Africa on July 29, her reputation as a blunt instrument of Washington’s hegemonic interests preceded her.

According to a veteran South African official who attended meetings with the senior U.S. diplomat in Pretoria, however, Nuland and her team were demonstrably unprepared to grapple with recent developments on the African continent — particularly the military coup that removed Niger’s pro-Western government hours before she launched her multi-stop tour of the region.

“In over 20 years working with the Americans, I have never seen them so desperate,” the official told The Grayzone, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Pretoria was well aware of Nuland’s hawkish reputation, but when she arrived in Pretoria, the official described her as “totally caught off guard” by winds of change engulfing the region. The July putsch that saw a popular military junta come to power in Niger followed military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso that were similarly inspired by mass anti-colonial sentiment.

Though Washington has so far refused to characterize developments in the Nigerien capital of Niamey as a coup, the South African source confirmed that Nuland sought South Africa’s assistance in responding to regional conflicts, including in Niger, where she emphasized that Washington not only held significant financial investments, but also maintained 1,000 of its own troops. For Nuland, the realization that she was negotiating from a position of weakness was likely a rude awakening.

Serving Both Parties & Advancing Empire, One Regime Change at a Time

Throughout the past decade and a half, Victoria Nuland has established herself as one of the most heavy-handed – and effective – agents of Western-directed regime change ops within the State Department. As the wife of the arch-neoconservative strategist, Robert Kagan, who advised both Republican presidential contender, Mitt Romney, and Democrat, Hillary Clinton, Nuland embodied the interventionist consensus that prevailed across both parties in the pre-Trump era. In fact, her first high-level job came under the watch of Vice President Dick Cheney, when he appointed her to serve as his deputy chief of staff. 

When Nuland returned to government as a Russia specialist in President Barack Obama’s State Department, she spearheaded the covert campaign to destabilize Ukraine, driving the 2014 Maidan Coup that sparked the country’s ensuing civil conflict and, ultimately, a Western proxy war with Russia that rages to this day.

“Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions,” Nuland, then Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, boasted during a December 2013 talk before the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in Kiev, flanked by a promotional panel for the Chevron corporation.

“We’ve invested over five billion dollars to assist Ukraine in these and other goals,” she continued, articulating Washington’s support for what she described as Ukraine’s “European aspirations.”

Nuland repeated the unintentionally revealing boast during a 2014 interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Days before her address, she and then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, distributed “freedom cookies” to Ukrainians occupying Kiev’s Maidan Square in protest of President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to, in Nuland’s words, “pause on the route to Europe.”

Roughly three months later, the prolonged campaign of riots in the Maidan successfully dislodged Yanukovych’s government, resulting in the installation of a decidedly pro-EU (and openly pro-Nazi) regime in Kiev that would promptly win the title of “most corrupt nation in Europe.” Days before Yanukovych’s ouster, leaked audio revealed that Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt were actively selecting the opposition figures that would assume power in Kiev in the event of Maidan’s success.

“Fuck the EU,” she infamously remarked during the Feb. 7, 2014 phone call, an apparent response to European leaders opposed to her government’s destabilization effort in Ukraine.

Nearly a decade since Nuland’s Kiev campaign, however, Washington’s ability to dictate the sovereign policy of foreign states is increasingly limited — particularly in South Africa and the surrounding region.

In Africa, the Sun Sets on the Unipolar World

The emergence of a new global order was on bold display when heads of state from Brazil, India, China, and South Africa convened for the 15th annual BRICS Presidential Summit in Johannesburg throughout the week of Aug. 21. While Western media highlighted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absence from the summit as evidence of deep divides within BRICS (Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov attended the summit in Putin’s place), the bloc ultimately issued a unanimous Aug. 24 declaration that it would extend full membership to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

“BRICS is a diverse group of nations,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chaired the summit, tweeted after announcing the results of BRICS’ landmark Johannesburg 2 Declaration before a room packed with international press. “It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but a shared vision for a better world.” 

Indeed, BRICS leaders stressed the importance of the group’s function as a “consensus-based” organization built on the foundation of multilateralism and a commitment to principles enshrined in the U.N. Charter. This stands in stark contrast with alliances like the G20, which, while ostensibly committed to multilateral exchange, are viewed by Washington and its allies as a forum through which to impose their own worldview.

Western hubris was particularly palpable upon India’s assumption of the G20 presidency in 2023, when U.S. and European officials waged a futile campaign to pressure New Delhi into excluding Russia from group meetings despite Moscow’s permanent member status.

‘We Should Not go Back Go Back to a Cold War’ 

On the sidelines of the BRICS summit, I spoke with South Africa’s Minister for Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, about BRICS’ purpose.

“BRICS want to stand for a world in which everybody benefits, this is not about trying to get into a new Cold War,” Patel commented.

“The Cold War was not a good moment for humanity,” Patel, who chaired the BRICS Business Forum in Johannesburg, continued when asked whether the U.S. and Europe could ever accept multilateral exchange as anything other than an attack on Western hegemonic interests. “We should not go back to a Cold War with two polarizing blocs, but we do need the voices of the Global South to be out there helping to shape the architecture of governance and the way in which human beings interact.”

So is BRICS an anti-Western alliance?

“There will be many instances of misinterpretation, but we stand for a world that is united, recognizing that countries and firms will compete,” Patel explained. “That’s healthy, and underpinning that competition must be a deep collaboration and cooperation between nations.”

Asked what makes BRICS’ commitment to multilateralism different from blocs such as the G20, Patel offered a window into how BRICS truly operates.

“When the heads of state sit together, they say, ‘okay, how can we move the dial forward?’ Consensus building is a slow process. It’s an uneven process. But it does mean that the decisions that are taken have solid support.”

After two days of deliberations in Johannesburg, during which delegates considered membership applications from roughly two dozen nations, BRICS reached the consensus to admit six states that will drastically expand its share of the international economy and resource market.

Following the new members’ formal induction into the bloc next February, BRICS will include 6 of the world’s top 10 oil producers, 50 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves, and 37 percent of global GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). The G20’s share of global GDP currently sits at 30 percent. With the addition of Argentina and Saudi Arabia, BRICS will also count six permanent G20 nations among its own membership bloc.

“It is that slow, time consuming process of building consensus,” Minister Patel reflected on BRICS success. “But it’s more solid. It lasts longer.”

Thanks to BRICS, Robert Kagan’s notorious blueprint for the U.S. to serve as a “benevolent’ global hegemon may be overtaken by the developing world’s vision for a century that honors the political independence, self-determination, and territorial sovereignty of all states. Will the generation of U.S. officials that comes after Nuland accept Washington’s place in this multipolar world, or will they insist on going down fighting?

Anya Parampil is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on-the-ground reports from the Korean peninsula, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras.


38 comments for “A ‘Desperate’ Nuland in Africa

  1. George Carver
    September 2, 2023 at 02:49

    People on the synthetic left genuinely believe Morning Mika/Joe (or, if they’re edgy, Krystal/Mild) are the news media’s power couples. Anya, I am grateful for you and Max on a daily basis, and that is no exaggeration.

  2. lester
    September 1, 2023 at 15:02

    So how desperate IS Nuland? I can’t imagine many BRICS want to end up like Ukraine!

  3. Susan Leslie
    September 1, 2023 at 10:31

    Just look at Nuland’s face – so much evil incarnate!

  4. gwb
    September 1, 2023 at 01:01

    She forgot to bring cookies with her to Niger; maybe that would have helped…

  5. Cratylus
    August 31, 2023 at 17:32

    In the Clintons’ administration she served at the State Dept under Strobe Talbott, Deputy Sec of State whose wife was an aide to Hillary. He oversaw policy on Russia and Eastern Europe as I understand it.
    It was the Clintons who gave her a start.
    Then after the 2000 election she went from the Clinton State Dept straight to Cheney’s office where she was his right hand woman.

    • lester
      September 1, 2023 at 15:04

      Didn’t Bill C. promise not to expand NATO?

  6. susan mullen
    August 31, 2023 at 17:25

    The best part of Nuland’s ‘F the EU’ conversation is her revealing that US selected Ukr’s next prime minister, ie, when she said, “Yats is the guy.” (Yatsenyuk). She also said that Klitschko should remain outside government, informed and engaged but outside. As to Yats, the first thing he did was call in all the oligarchs and reward them w. whatever governorships they wanted. So the citizens stood in the cold for months for no reason. As to CO2, US defense dept. operations are exempt from reporting CO2.

  7. Frigga
    August 31, 2023 at 16:49

    Nice, all these valuable journalists, of the Grayzone Anya Parampil, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Maté, the Geopolitical Economy with Ben Norton, Prof. Michael Hudson, Break Through News with Rania Khalek etc…will become more and more important while the MSM will die out. Honest reporting is the cry of the time. Nothing else. The imperium, rotten to the core , is a carcass. Life is in Africa and the global South. There is the future!

  8. Monsoon
    August 31, 2023 at 14:25

    Nuland should be the subject of a Nuremberg trial. She and her ‘crew’.

    Their arrogance and their contempt for human lives will catch up with them.

    As for Biden, what did one expect?

    • gcw919
      August 31, 2023 at 23:11

      But history (American style) teaches that she’ll probably get another promotion.

  9. August 31, 2023 at 14:16

    Three cheers for the essential multipolar world and a return to civility and good will for all peoples.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    August 31, 2023 at 13:47

    Hopefully this idiot’s days are numbered.

    The tables are turning on American neocon killers. Maybe not so much in the U.S., simply look around at the rest of the world.

    Both parties have about done as much damage to the U.S. reputation as the country can stand.

    Fuck Nuland and her hubby too.

    Mural in Atlanta Georgia – by Chris Veal says it all MAGA My Ass Got Arrested — Sweeeeet!

    Thanks kids.

    • Robert M.
      September 1, 2023 at 11:51

      “MAGA My Ass Got Arrested”

      MAGA Trump was the only president since Clinton WHO DID NOT EMPLOY Nuland. Don’t associate Nuland’s evil with Trump. She was with Clinton, Bush, Obama, Biden.

  11. Bart Hansen
    August 31, 2023 at 13:09

    That photo of her being sworn in by Cheney reminds me of a speech Hugo Chavez once gave to the UN. Chavez was preceded by George Bush and upon gaining the podem he remarked that the smell of sulphur was still in the air. I wonder whether those cleaning up after the swearing in ceremony noticed the same.

  12. Theresa Barzee
    August 31, 2023 at 12:53

    Fabulous work. Already copied out the prescient quotes (w/attributions) on slow, deliberate consensus-building as the solidifying part of the peace sauce.
    For use in our new co-housing as we work (same process) in a sociocratic way toward hearing one another into speech. On deep questions, in turn, in”listening circles.” Huge thanks, Anya, Max, all of teams.

    • Theresa Barzee
      August 31, 2023 at 13:07

      A New Land indeed. Let us accept our place. With humility and decency. We have not done the best we could, so we must leave the stage of global development to those who’ve lived through our messes. Thank you, journalists.

      • Geoffrey Hughes
        August 31, 2023 at 13:54

        Leaving Africa to Africans has never been accepted by ,firstly, the colonialists and later by the Pro-western governments and corporations draining the vast natural resources of this great continent.

  13. Vera Gottlieb
    August 31, 2023 at 12:47

    LOVE!!! it…Couldn’t happen to a ‘nicer’ person.

  14. James White
    August 31, 2023 at 12:22

    When the war-pig Nuland does not have Putin to demonize, her incompetence and utter ineffectiveness as a foreign diplomat is fully exposed. The same goes for Biden. His game is always to suggest that the guy he is running against is worse than him. That is how we got this pathetic, colossal loser as the leader of the free world. Too many American voters fell for that ruse. The destruction that the Biden Regime has caused worldwide is staggering.
    Russians got richer last year even as the war in Ukraine raged on, while the US and Europe lost trillions of dollars, UBS reported. Russia added $600 billion of total wealth, the Swiss bank found in its annual Global Wealth Report, published Tuesday. The number of Russian millionaires also rose by about 56,000 to 408,000 in 2022, while the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals — people worth over $50 million — jumped by nearly 4,500. But the US lost more wealth than any other country last year, shedding $5.9 trillion, while North America and Europe combined got $10.9 trillion poorer, UBS reported.

    • Frigga
      August 31, 2023 at 14:27

      Yes, the war pigs need demons to hide their demoniac deeds behind them…

  15. Renate
    August 31, 2023 at 12:16

    She is an evil woman, which is the best one can say about Victoria Nuland. She knows how to organize regime changes and is learning others can do it too.
    Considering the Biden/Harris team, she might get a chance to become the VP candidate for Biden. The DNC chose Biden as a candidate for president last time, anything is possible. Harris appears to be less likely now.

  16. J Perry
    August 31, 2023 at 11:37

    The world has changed. The potential for a cooperative and peaceful planet has moved in a positive direction. But who’s going to tell the “international community” (U.S., Europe, Japan, S Korea, Australia, New Zealand)? Certainly not the mainstream media. If those in charge don’t blow us all up in the short term, the lies of these sociopaths, via the news media and Hollywood movies, will haunt us for a long time.

  17. HelenB
    August 31, 2023 at 11:36

    Solve issues without war!!

    • Eddy Schmid
      August 31, 2023 at 23:17

      You mean the American way, with gun barrels and bombs, that’s the only thing the U.S. understands, and it’s citizens solve their problems in exactly the same way. It is an ingrained thing with Americans. Solving all issues by shooting/bombing their perceived enemies, thus solving their problem if their enemy is dead.

  18. HelenB
    August 31, 2023 at 11:34

    I worry about pollution. And global heating and giant storms and floods. I hope this new world order will take better care of the earth.
    I hope everyone will start taking better care of our earth. Forget Mars.

    • Frigga
      August 31, 2023 at 14:23

      HAARP should be transparent to the public in order to know what is global warming and what is experimental in the HAARP research.

    • Eddy Schmid
      August 31, 2023 at 23:20

      Yep, every time I watch a news clip of the latest developments in Ukraine, the first thing tocome to mind is the E.U.’s claim of caring for environment is a load og rubbish, as they are more than happy, to add to the mess they’ve already made with their support for this war inUkraine. No one in the E.U. is concerned about the damage they are causing to the environment with this war. Makes a joke of their claims of concern.

  19. Jeff Harrison
    August 31, 2023 at 11:17

    Please. Going down fighting. Neo-Cons are actually ideologically blinded idiots.

  20. IJ Scambling
    August 31, 2023 at 10:33

    ” . . . the developing world’s vision for a century that honors the political independence, self-determination, and territorial sovereignty of ALL [my emphasis] states.”

    This is the driving force causing the “desperation.” This excellent writing cuts to the heart of it. Nuland’s hypocritical “democracy” is being overwhelmed by a real democratic movement instead of barbaric bullying and lies.

  21. Fred
    August 31, 2023 at 10:32

    Nuland supports strong Democratic processes, such as overthrowing popular, moderate and e l e c t e d governments and blowing up the vital infrastructure of friendly governments.

    Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

    • Monsoon
      August 31, 2023 at 14:30

      Nuland is a fascist. There is no other term to describe this crew of libertarian neo-cons.

      And Libertarianism is threatening movements for human social change.

      Look at El Salvador or Ecuador.

      Argentina may be next if the presidential candidate gets his libertarian way.

      Unfortunately the American people will not get rid of Nuland.

      That will be the job of the global south and the regimes she has brutally confronted.

      • michael888
        September 1, 2023 at 10:21

        Nuland is a Spreader of “American Democracy”. Many farmers have similar instruments for fertilizing their fields. Americans have the gut sense they are being screwed royally, but as Thatcher said “There is no alternative”.

  22. August 31, 2023 at 09:13

    Thanks Anya, excellent summary of the war criminal Nuland. Her historical legacy will be one of death, destruction and failure.

  23. jamie
    August 31, 2023 at 05:36

    I am sure the west should be proud that a “black spring” is taking place in Africa; Russia has inspired such courage to get rid of Western interference; perhaps, not Russia directly with anti-colonial narrative but how the west, the mainstream media, the politicians have manipulated the information, how they have supported “white NATO” and tried to cancel Russia from the world map.
    There is a very problematic thing about Western culture, the inability to see the big picture, to foresee the every possible outcome; narcissism and supremacy, might help explain such problem, but that is not all; if we don’t find the reasons why we fail to make sense of reality we will be like the “neanderthals” of the modern world.
    The “black spring” and anti-western idea will spread, and perhaps even outside Africa, and the biggest mistake the west and its puppet ECOWAS could do is to intervene militarily. That would like throwing gasoline to the fire.

  24. Margaret O'Brien
    August 31, 2023 at 03:48

    Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t these people, I don’t know, deal with the myriad crises and help the millions of their own citizens at home in the US? Like homelessness, poverty, unaffordable health care which is killing and bankrupting so many, police and gun violence, mass incarceration, climate breakdown ffs! Coming to the aid of their
    own people who lost everything to wild fires? Instead of marauding around the planet warmongering, invading, regime changing, starvation sanctioning and constantly poking their noses into other countries’ affairs. Just a thought.

    • MrQRO
      August 31, 2023 at 19:35

      Because it’s the job of these people to make $$$ for the 1% by resource, financial, and labor extraction, not to spend $$$ on anything, which would be required by doing what you suggest.

    • CFMMAX
      August 31, 2023 at 20:24

      It all circles back to Big Money making more big money anywhere / everywhere across the globe.
      The rest of us are expendable.

      It’s been relatively easy for Big Money for many years but given the (actual and quite different than what we’re being told) events in Ukraine and China’s new role in the world much may be changing. It may not be quite so easy any longer. Unfortunately, we have Joe Biden in the drivers seat. If you’re not comfortable with him can you think of a Republican you’d prefer. I can’t and act worries me.

      • Eddy Schmid
        August 31, 2023 at 23:28

        It matters nought, who’s backside ends up sitting in the chair at the Whitehouse. I would have thought by now, over the years, people would be waking up to the FACT, NO ONE GETS TO OCCUPY THAT CHAIR, UNLESS THEY HAVE PASSED THE FITNESS TEST OF THE GLOBAL CABAL RUNNING THINGS. American voters can stay at home on voting day, refrain from voting, the outcome will still be the same. There is no such thing as Democracy in the U.S. if there were, there’d be a civil war to destroy it, as Democracy is the biggest threat to the World Govt cabal running the show.

Comments are closed.