Is the US Trying to Install a Ukrainian Government, or Leaving It Up to Ukrainians?

The U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for Europe Victoria Nuland made headlines yesterday when an audio recording of her phone conversation with the U.S. Ambassador with Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was released. Rumors are swirling that the Russians were surveilling the U.S. diplomats and released the audio recording to embarrass the United States.

What was so embarrassing about it? Nuland, frustrated that the European Union wasn’t acting more forcefully on the Ukraine issue, said “Fuck the EU.”

Here’s the conversation:

While the expletive is what caught all the media attention, much less was paid to the substance of the discussion, which involved Nuland and Pyatt talking about the Ukrainian opposition and some kind of transition, as if it’s any of their business.

Here’s an excerpt from the State Department Press Briefing with reporters asking about the extensive U.S. meddling in Ukraine’s affairs that was made evident by the audio recording:

QUESTION: — now, once we get into it. Quite apart from the colorful language that is used in reference to the European Union, the conversation appears to – well, doesn’t appear to suggest, it does – the conversation shows that the United States certainly has – or at least officials within the U.S. Government have certain opinions about certain Ukrainian opposition leaders and others. And I’m wondering how that squares with your repeated insistence that every – all of this is up to the Ukrainians to decide themselves.

[State Dept. Spokeswoman] MS. PSAKI: It’s not inconsistent in the least bit. It is no secret that Ambassador Pyatt and Assistant Secretary Nuland have been working with the Government of Ukraine, with the opposition, with business and civil society leaders to support their efforts, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that at any point, there have been discussions about recent events and offers and what is happening on the ground. And as you know, Assistant Secretary Nuland is on the ground right now continuing our efforts in that regard.

It remains the case that it is up to the Ukrainian people themselves to decide their future. It is up to them to determine their path forward, and that’s a consistent message that we’re conveying publicly and privately.

QUESTION: Because they’re – look, the Russians have repeatedly accused the United States Government of interfering in Ukraine’s politics.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The U.S. Government has, to some degree, made reciprocal claims about Russia. Does not the fact that U.S. diplomats purportedly are discussing who should and should not be in a Ukrainian government hint at some possibility of U.S. interference here?

MS. PSAKI: Absolutely not. There – it should be no surprise that U.S. officials talk about issues around the world. Of course we do. That’s what you do, that’s what diplomats do, and discuss especially issues where we’ve been closely engaged. The Secretary met with the opposition this weekend. He stopped by a meeting with the foreign minister. It’s up to the people of Ukraine, including officials from both sides, to determine the path forward. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are discussions about events on the ground.

QUESTION: This was more than discussions, though. This was two top U.S. officials that are on the ground discussing a plan that they have to broker a future government, and bringing officials from the UN to kind of seal the deal. This is more than the U.S. trying to make suggestions. This is the U.S. midwifing the process.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Elise, you’re talking about a private diplomatic conversation. Those happen all the time. Of course as part of private diplomatic conversations, there are discussions about what involvement the UN can have, what involvement or engagement should happen on the ground. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Of course, these things are being discussed. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s up to the people on the ground, it is up to the people of Ukraine to determine what the path forward is.

QUESTION: But you’re clearly trying to influence what they decide. I mean, one of the quotes is – and this is attributed to Ambassador Pyatt: “I think you reaching out to him” – Klitschko –“helps with the personality management among the three, and it gives you also a chance to move fast and all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down.” And he explains why he doesn’t like it. That’s not – that’s not oh, let them figure this out. That’s gee, let’s try to do this so that he won’t decide he doesn’t like this plan.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, it’s not a secret that we’re engaged with what’s happening on the ground…

Ms. Psaki is caught in a contradiction and she can’t seem to wiggle out of it despite considerable effort. The questioner is right: the U.S. is doing more than “making suggestions” or helping the Ukrainians along a path they’ve chosen for themselves. The conversation, Jacob Heilbrunn writes, “reveals the extent to which the Obama administration is determined not simply to bring the crisis to an end, but also to install a government that it regards as appropriate.”

25 thoughts on “Is the US Trying to Install a Ukrainian Government, or Leaving It Up to Ukrainians?”

  1. This is great to know. You might want to contact Nuland and Psaki, too. While I doubt it, they might wind up needing this part time job.

    1. Don't worry about Vicky. Victoria Nuland is married to the neo-con Robert Kagan. Her sister-in-law Kimberly Kagan is the founder and president of the Institute for the Study of Murdering Brown People (oops, sorry, that's the Institute for the Study of War). They got Vicky covered. They're just looking for another war.

  2. Why don't interviewers in situations like this mention that the USA perverts politics in other countries constantly and has done so virtually non-stop especially since 1945? It's not like this is a blip on the radar. This is the USA's norm. It's a criminal state. Point it out so we can stop it.

  3. Caught with a hand in the cookie jar, these clowns think they can get away with claiming they were just polishing the lid. Of course they're trying to install governments sympathetic to US interests in Ukraine, as well as Syria and Afghanistan, and anywhere else they believe they can get away with it. It's what imperialist powers do.

  4. The people of Ukraine want freedom and self-determination like all nations want. However, that supremacist group masquerading as a religion that controls the imperialist US and the EU will not stop trying to make vassal states out of all for their goal of world domination. If not, they engineer fake "revolutions" to make them fall in line. In the 1930s Ukraine it was Group member and Stalinist henchman Lazar Kaganovitch that oversaw the terror famine. Now the supremacist group's tactic is to subvert and destroy real nationalist movements just as they are trying to do with Golden Dawn in Greece.

  5. While wanting to become USA ambassador to a country, of the candidate or not, first the candidates needs to pay the price from 400.000 thousands dollars to double the amount in terms "contributing" to Obama or whomever campaign, now if they pass the senate confirmation or not is another story, which makes me wonder, now that we know the price for being an ambassador, how much dose it cost becoming the assistant Secretary of State? Long time ago someone said : in USA is not what you know that gets you a position, is whom you know.

    The political bribery is a businesses, playing with people's life has become a business in bribery, is not just about Politics any longer, EU countries that are involved in Ukraine is yet another example where hooligans, anarchism, Neo fascism and a brain damaged boxer are paid, or otherwise, by EU and USG interfering in Ukraine internal politics, is more of EU and USA business political briberies then Ukrainian people.

  6. As American Indians, we're familiar with the process where the Indian Agent would tell us who our Chief had to be. That was because we were said to be "domestic dependent nations." I assume the Ukraine is supposed to be a "foreign dependent nation." I guess that is the case whether the agent turns out to be American, European or Russian. It is pretty far away from the interests of Main Street USA, though.

    1. That is the best comment yet from a representative of the first group attacked by Western European colonists of the Us. And the conclusion is also sound: "It is pretty far away from the interests of Main Street USA…"

      1. The assumption that the "interests of Main Street" have ever been a principle concern is specious. The people that have assumed the positions of power over the years in the US have always been more concerned with the "big picture of geopolitical machinations" – the interests of the American people have been relegated to stump speeches and State of the Union kabuki theater.

  7. The US is not happy that other nations are raising. Creating chaos around the world give the US the Chance to be powerful again so they think.

    The US government have no interest in Human Rights because they run the Human Rights Organisation and the UN.

    The Ukrainian rioters are ill inform about the Intentions of the US and the EU for their Country. In Europe many countries do not want Ukraine in the EU, this is just to get back at Russia.

  8. I have been to UKraine last year and found the country really beautiful. I hope the people there will find there way and get the freedom they deserve.

  9. The entire Anglo-Dutch financial and monetary system
    is bankrupt beyond repair. That process of disintegration
    has now entered a breakdown phase, with the U.S. Federal
    Reserve's attempts to scale back on the hyperinflationary
    policies adopted back in 2007 and continued unabated under a series of “quantitative easing” binges. Even as the Fed
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    month in bailouts to the biggest and most vulnerable Wall
    Street and European banks, a backlash of capital flight out
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    It is this imminent breakdown crisis that is the primary
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    royal establishment are hell-bent on preserving their power
    amidst this collapse, and they see war as the best option.
    They are provoking war with Russia in Ukraine, where
    Obama administration officials like Victoria Nuland are
    organizing a coup d’etat against a sovereign government,
    threatening to deploy the U.S.-NATO nuclear arsenal just
    miles from Russia's border. Their open support for the neoNazi heirs of Hitler collaborator Stepan Bandera in Ukraine
    is the most dramatic threat on Russia’s border, but it is not
    the only one. There are the terror threats against Russia
    coming through Chechnya and Dagestan, not to mention
    the Syria situation which is worsening by the day, where
    Obama recognizes an al-Qaeda-based invading army as an
    “opposition movement.”
    The impeachment of Obama is the only sure way to take
    this countdown to thermonuclear war off the table. Having
    Barack Obama in the White House means that the British
    finger is on the thermonuclear trigger.

    1. What an idiot!
      No one wonder you don't post your name.
      Stepan Bandera sat in Nazi prisons for all the duration of World War Two.
      How can he be a "Hitler collaborator"?

  10. and the "libertarian" frauds are running a business on behalf of the world's most brutal, authoritarian regimes.
    They don't believe in anti-war, otherwise they wouldn't be covering for Russian imperialism. All that's writers believe in is MONEY.
    James George Jatras got at least $100K to launch the American Institute in Ukraine from the authoritarian Party of Regions and Yanukovych administration, which spent the last few weeks torturing and murdering the pro-democracy protests in Ukraine.
    He has used the American Institute as a nest to pay another "libertarians" thousands of dollars to come and lecture, such as Doug Bandow.
    Don't be fooled by these hucksters.

  11. i hope many Ukrainians have read/heard of Dostoyevsky book
    The Possessed aka The Devils
    ‘The fire is in the minds of men, not in the roofs of buildings.’”

    Justin Raimondo wrote article on this at in 2005
    Thats when this website became my #1

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