(credit: NBC News --photo of Nuland after meeting with coup plotters in Ukraine (2013))
By: Medea Benjamin, Marcy Winograd and Melissa Garriga
When President Biden nominated Victoria Nuland as Undersecretary of State, CODEPINK feminists opposed her nomination out of concern she would bring pain and heartache to mothers and daughters as she fomented war in their midst. Instead of promoting diplomacy, Nuland lights matches wherever she meddles, agitating for war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Ukraine. If feminists remain silent or support this Bush-era neocon simply because she is a woman, Victoria Nuland might just burn down the world in a nuclear fire.
Instead of promoting a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, Victoria Nuland chooses to escalate the war by promising the US will arm Ukraine to seize Crimea, the site of Russia’s naval fleet on the Black Sea, part of Russia for nearly 200 years and home to ethnic Russians who voted to join the Russian Federation.
With drones already attacking the Crimean peninsula and long range US rockets on the way, Nuland’s push to cross another one of Putin’s red lines only ensures more death, destruction and ecocide in Ukraine.
For the women of Ukraine, the illegal Russian invasion–which Nuland provoked over the years with NATO expansion – has led to heightened sex trafficking and increased gender violence. According to the United Nations and relief organizations, this includes not only rape as a weapon of war, but “intimate partner violence and sexual harassment.” With Ukraine under martial law and men aged 18-60 forced to the front lines, young women refugees–often unaccompanied—are vulnerable to abuse at border crossings.
On International Women’s Day, women don’t let women drive war. Instead, we at CODEPINK urge President Biden to fire Nuland and pursue a people-centered feminist foreign policy that employs diplomacy to bring this war to an end now.
The fact that Nuland was given a diplomatic job in the Biden administration in the first place never ceases to amaze because her record reads like a war criminal’s rap sheet.
Nuland served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s deputy national security adviser from 2003-2005, during the illegal US invasion and occupation of Iraq, a painful chapter in US history that left over a million Iraqis dead and thousands of US soldiers in body bags.
In 2005, Nuland became ambassador to NATO, where she lobbied Europe to participate in the disastrous U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. In persuading other governments the US could win that war, she sold a lie across Europe to prolong a near 20-year occupation that left Afghanistan broke, with six million children and adults at risk of starvation.
In May 2013, Nuland was nominated to act as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, where she was supposed to employ diplomacy in relations with Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states.
Instead, Nuland and the White House hurled $5 billion taxpayer dollars at Ukraine to overthrow its democratically elected President and engineer a transition government to privatize Ukraine and prepare for war with Russia. After Nuland passed out pastries during the Maidan coup, before President Viktor Yanukovych fled under a hail of bullets,
Nuland was caught in a scandal involving a leaked phone call. On the phone with US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland was secretly recorded saying “F .. the EU” if the European Union did not approve of her choices to run Ukraine’s transition government. The West gasped at her use of profanity. The more egregious profanity, however, was her insistence on manipulating the political affairs of another country to provoke Russia.
Nuland has repeatedly stated that she wants to destabilize other regions in Russia’s nuclear neighborhood: Belarus and Kazakhstan, because they are too friendly with Russia. What critics say she really wants is regime change in Russia, a country of 193 million people, 150 different ethnic minorities and 6,000 nuclear weapons.
What could go wrong?
Nuland’s mission to sacrifice Ukrainian lives to take back Crimea–annexed by Russia after the 2014 coup–could drag other European nations onto the battlefield to start World War III.
According to Asia Times, factions within the State Department and Pentagon are split over Nuland’s hawkish position on Crimea, largely because of concerns that Russia may choose to attack Western supply lines in retaliation. This would surely lead to a broader war in Eastern Europe, starting with Poland and Romania, where the US has installed anti-ballistic missile bases over Russia’s objections.
On this International Women’s Day, President Biden would be well-advised to fire Victoria Nuland and hire a diplomat who embraces a feminist foreign policy centered around peace.
Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and the author of several books, including War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, available from OR Books.
Marcy Winograd is the coordinator of CODEPINK CONGRESS. Marcy spearheads Capitol Hill calling parties to mobilize co-sponsors and votes for peace and foreign policy legislation.
Melissa Garriga is the media relations manager for CODEPINK. She writes about the intersection of militarism and the human cost of war.