C'mon Ambassador Nuland, tell us what you really think about the EU
Former State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland is the top US diplomat in Europe. In a conversation about the crisis in the Ukraine with the US Ambassador to that country, Geoffrey Pyatt regarding the preferred outcome to the crisis, the ambassador used some very undiplomatic language to describe the European Union. She let drop an "F" bomb in a recorded conversation that has, of course, gone viral.
Nuland and Pyatt are not identified on the recording, but the tape appears to be genuine.
Nuland is a former spokeswoman for the State Department, and her voice can be recognized on the tape. The State Department has not denied that the voices are those of Nuland and Pyatt.
It's not clear who recorded or leaked the call, though speculation has immediately fallen on Moscow.
In the leaked telephone call, first reported by the Kyiv Post, Nuland sharply criticizes the European Union's handling of the Ukraine crisis and lays out the administration's desired outcome for the crisis.
Nuland's criticism of the EU comes in the context of praising United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for picking an envoy to deal with the political crisis.
At least four people have been killed in protests that have rocked the ex-Soviet republic since President Viktor Yanukovych turned down an association agreement with the EU late last year in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Nuland argues that the U.N. envoy will "help glue this thing and to have the U.N. glue it. And you know, f--k the EU," she adds.
"Exactly," Pyatt can be heard replying. "And I think we got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to torpedo it."
The two also discuss how to achieve the Obama administration's preferred outcome.
Nuland calls former heavyweight championship boxer Vitali Klitschko the "top dog" among opposition leaders but suggests he shouldn't be given a top role in a new government. She favors fellow opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
"I think Yats [Yatsenyuk] is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience," Nuland says. "What he needs is Klitsch [Klitschko] and [Oleh] Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in, he's going to be at that level, working for Yatsenyuk, it's just not going to work."
Vladimir Putin spying on our diplomats? Stop the presses! Where's the Russian version of Snowden when we need him!
Actually, I find it refreshing that we employ a diplomat with no illusions about the EU. The language may have been a little crude, but realism is rarely nuanced. The fact is, the Europeans have been dragging their heels about helping to defuse the crisis in the Ukraine. After all, at least part of the crisis is about the Ukraine's turn to Russia, instead of reaching out to the EU for membership. There are a lot of ethnic Ukrainians who don't want to be smothered by Russia and who believe that the future of their country lies in aligning themselves closer to Europe. This is something that Putin - who views former Soviet republics as part of Moscow's sphere of influence, can't abide.
The EU will probably not make a big deal about this - publicly. It was a throwaway line and obviously not part of US policy toward the Europeans. Who knows? Maybe it will spur the west to step up their efforts to help the Ukraine through this difficult period.