Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland held a phone conversation with the Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andriy Yermak to discuss what the National News Agency of Ukraine reported was the situation in Belarus. The two were described as having “expressed concern” over developments in Ukraine’s northern neighbor. A nation doesn’t want Nuland to be concerned, much less gravely concerned over its internal affairs given her political track record.
Unlike her telephone conversation with then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in 2014 in which she dictated the composition of a post-coup government in that nation weeks before the event, the above conversation has not been recorded and placed on YouTube yet, so its exact contents remain unknown.
It is to be hoped that Yermak was duly deferential to the highest-ranking member of the US Foreign Service, as he would never have been granted the position he currently holds by his personal friend President Volodymyr Zelensky but for Nuland’s deft coup plotting of seven years ago. Before nepotism gained him his current position, he had been appointed Presidential Aide for Foreign Policy Issues shortly after Zelensky took office. Yermak, also an attorney, had been a film producer when he met Zelensky, at the time general producer of the TV channel Inter. Somehow one imagines the prospect of a Ukrainian television miniseries with a title like “The Battle for the Soul of Belarus” or “Free at Last, Released from the Bonds of Despotism” or, better yet, “Rock ‘n Roll Revolution” with a soundtrack by U2, Rage Against the Machine and Nicki Minaj.
What is known of his conversation with Nuland, the pastry peddler of Maidan Square and patron saint of the seven-year war in the Donbass, is a brief account of it related by Ukraine’s presidential press secretary, Serhiy Nykyforov:
“Andriy Yermak and Ms. Victoria Nuland discussed the situation in Belarus and expressed concern about what is happening there now. They also discussed some security issues related to Russia’s West-2021 exercises and moved on to the topic of Ukraine.”
The joint Belrusian-Russian exercise (Zapad in Russian) is a routine one and Ukraine has no reason to fear anything from it; but Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, for months have been prophesying, like a blind Greek soothsayer of the time of Sophocles, a threat to the very existence of Ukraine emanating from Belarus. Ukraine has a population almost five times the size of Belarus’ and armed forces trained to meet NATO standards in addition to military equipment provided by the U.S. and other alliance members.
The government of Belarus recently closed its border with Ukraine, accusing the latter of allowing arms to be smuggled into the country for Western-backed “protesters.” The sort of peaceful protesters that set over a hundred Ukrainian policemen on fire with gas bombs in Kiev in 2014, burning several to death. Their efforts were noted, appreciated and rewarded by Nuland and John McCain, who dispensed snacks to the CANVAS-trained perpetrators between bouts of hurling Molotov cocktails at unarmed law enforcement personnel.
By the way, the government of President Viktor Yanukoych was overthrown only thirteen months before a scheduled presidential election. Surely Nuland, McCain and their friends in the National Endowment for Democracy and other “democracy enhancement” organizations could have delivered the desired result short of setting much of the Ukrainian capital on fire, overthrowing an internationally-recognized head of state and plunging the nation into endless war; with the indispensable assistance of bomb-wielding “youth activists” as in 2004 and 2014, of course.
But a standard color revolution would have had disadvantages. Campaign slogans from approved candidates like Vote for Me and Join NATO or Support Us or We’ll Burn Your Country to the Ground don’t always appeal to targeted demographics. At least not sufficiently to motivate them to walk to the polling station on a rainy afternoon. Besides, rigging an election in 2015 might not have guaranteed a festering war with ethnic Russians in the Donbass and an excuse for further NATO buildup in the Black Sea – much less the opportunity of war with Belarus.
For the likes of Nuland with her Bachelor of Arts in Something or Other (BASOO), film producer Yermak and his boss, comedian Zelensky (Did you hear the one about the hooker and the mushroom cloud?), politics and war are just so, like, boring without a little panache. A little flair. Éclat. Some fireworks. Taunting a neighbor with the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal by overthrowing the government of its only ally in Europe would do the trick. Now you’re talking. F*ck the world!
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.