Well, let them tender their bids on the free market and check the quotes to be offered.

By Rostislav Ishchenko

Rostislav Ishchenko is a Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, and diplomat. After the 2014 Coup D’Etat in Kiev, he left for Moscow. He had worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in the office of Deputy Prime Minister and MP Dmytro Tabachnyk, and the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. Since 2009 — President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting. He is a columnist for the Rossiya Segodnya news agency and author of books on Ukrainian politics.

Translated from Russian.


15 October 2021

Translated from Russian


Should Victoria Nuland ever take the position of the US Secretary of State, she will be the first truly professional diplomat since Henry Kissinger’s times who is capable of seeing the problem in terms of its strategy versus a political appointee who is at best more or less able to address tactical issues and at worst unable to do so either.

Sure enough, Henry Kissinger was an old-school diplomat whereas Nuland will need to study and learn so that to approach his level, to say the least since other American diplomats are much further away from Nuland than she is from Kissinger.

Victoria Nuland exhibits all the qualities meeting the requirements of an outstanding diplomat. Furthermore, her skills include the in-depth and complex vision of a problem at hand while being an extremely skillful, tough, and unyielding negotiator, yet able to sense a moment of trading in concessions in terms of limitations thereof lest the US interests are compromised as a result of the negotiations. America’s exceptionalism ideology is her weakness, nevertheless, unlike all new-generation American politicians, she can drop the perverse practice of American narcissism when realpolitik is sharply at odds with Washington’s vision of the situation and ideologized policies threaten immediate disaster if continued.

In Kissinger’s America Nuland would have had a great future. Though in Biden’s America she has already reached her limit, possibly, and her strength element will prevent her from growing any further due to confrontation with the American notion of the “right world”, to wit. At any rate, she is far from being young and needs to take over or leapfrog the steps of National Security Adviser to the President and/or U.S. Representative to the United Nations before becoming Secretary of State.

The United States insisted that Moscow received their diplomat to negotiate a set of problematic issues as a State Department’s principal driver; it was so important to have Nuland and not just anyone else that Washington even agreed to meet preconditions to lift individual sanctions against the Russian politician and to issue visas to Russian diplomats assigned to UN structures, whose arrival had been unlawfully put on hold by America for more than a year.

Meeting preconditions to start negotiations knows no precedents for the U.S. since this is a ruse Washington is using in absolutely critical cases such as procrastination for almost a year in the case with the Taliban holding their ground, for example. In our case, the Americans fulfilled the preconditions quietly and quickly, without fuss and unnecessary arguments.

What problems was Victoria Nuland tasked to address in Moscow? None; currently she is Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs or Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs according to our system of coordinates, a position that does not imply reaching any significant agreements on her own. The ceiling of her competence is to provide for inter-agency cooperation, but the U.S. would never make such a big deal out of it. She did not conclude any serious agreements and could not have been authorized to do so.

The Nuland-level diplomats’ role is to probe the ground for specific agreements and to explore counterparts’ negotiating positions early on so that concessions could be squeezed out more effectively. In this respect, her toughness and intransigence including a keen sense of the limits of her opportunities understanding when to stop since any further pressure is counterproductive, are indispensable qualities.

The Putin-Biden meeting in Geneva — it was also requested by the US — reviewed the key issues on the global agenda and outlined their positions, noted the numerous disagreements, and agreed to negotiate further. Presumably, certain contacts at the level of embassies and meetings involving representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the State Department had been maintained. However, Nuland’s visit showed that the Americans were unhappy with the pace of progress towards a comprehensive settlement and attempted to accelerate the process.

The US had its foreign policy refocused during Trump’s incumbency attempting to maintain the position in Europe intact while increasing pressure on the Middle Kingdom. Though, it was subject to nuances. Trump’s foreign policy assumed that the main burden of maintaining the status quo in the Old World would fall on the EU and that included funding. The old members of the EU were creditable, only; therefore, Trump was prepared to relinquish American control over Eastern Europe in their favor, provided they did not make any major changes in terms of their containment policies towards Russia. Europe was to contain Russia whilst the US would deal with China, to wit.

It was a failure as it became clear towards the end of Trump’s presidential term. For dearth of funding, Europe was unable to effectively contain Russia on its own. The EU was apparently scared to enter into an open confrontation with the Kremlin unless supported by the U.S. Concurrently, Washington was no longer in a position to drop its confrontation with China.

Therefore, the only option is to negotiate it with Russia. The US objective is to minimize concessions and secure Moscow’s pro-American neutrality during Washington’s fracas with Beijing. Serious work has long been in progress seeking to create a negative public opinion of China in Russia by building on China’s real global economic expansion with the Media and opinion leaders affiliated with the US secret services and the US State Department disseminating three types of information:

1. China will colonize Russia’s Siberia and the Far East, pushing Russia out of Asia beyond the Urals; and China has taken control of Central Asia and pushed Moscow out of there, as an alternative;

2. China is the leader paired with the Kremlin, which is forced to blindly follow guidelines from Beijing since it is impotent in terms of solving a single problem on its own.

3. The interests of the growing economies of China and Russia are colliding across the world, with China winning the competition in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Belarus.

Even though all that has nothing to do with reality, the largest and very active segment of Russian society has ingested and digested the message. However, the Russian state power proceeds from the necessity of pragmatic cooperation with China since there are currently no irreconcilable differences versus facing a common enemy which the United States working to rig down Russia and China into pieces regardless of the process sequence.

Failure to change Russia’s politics via media pressure reshaping public opinion prompted the U.S. to proactively probe the scope of concessions required to induce Moscow and adjust its position on China; this work has been going since this summer. However, Russia makes pretense they do not understand the subtle hints and there has been no intelligible response given as to the veiled US requests, just general statements limited to the wording that all people are brothers and Moscow is ready to be friends with all on terms of equality and mutual benefit.

Washington did try to encourage the Russian initiative in bargaining seeking to gain an advantage by pretending that they didn’t really want to, but since you are already so insistent, we can talk. But they could not wait any longer whereas the time was running out. Therefore, Nuland went to Moscow to shake up Russia and to see how much more concession Moscow would ask for.

Sure enough, Nuland may have been authorized to note that provided American interests in Asia are fully taken into account, Russia could count on the restoration of its sphere of influence within the frontiers of the former USSR and in European locations including the post-Soviet space, in general. Washington may have also implied that there would be no objection against handing over control of the Eastern European states that once had been members of the Warsaw Pact Treaty and COMECON, though there would be problems with the EU, of which these countries are members, so Moscow would have to negotiate the issues with Europe on its own.

This is an old idea of pitting Moscow and Old Europe against each other in a struggle for control of the Young Europeans and the post-Soviet space, and while they will be busy with each other and dependent on the US position, to untie their hands in the Chinese direction.

However, even before Nuland arrived in Moscow, the response to the American incursions had been made public. Medvedev had an article posted that formally captured the issues dedicated to Ukraine, and which intended to create awareness of the Americans that in the Kremlin they are well aware that shrinking the activities in Europe and the Middle East was not a concession, but a vital necessity. They are free to go anywhere they want, and Russia is not going to kick them in the back. Nor will it help them to save face: whoever has left a dirty legacy in Eastern Europe, they must clean up the mess themselves.

It should be noted, the foregoing article is only formally about Ukraine so as not to scare all Eastern European brethren at once — you never know what they will when scared stiff — in fact, this is a response given to the Americans with regard to the entire spectrum of global problems. You can stay where you have been invited. You can leave where you have not been invited. Russia will consider the fact that tensions have decreased, but Russia is not going to pay anything for what America has to do anyway.

Where the U.S. is not ready for that, Russia can wait.

Actually, Nuland had nothing more to say in Moscow after that, but the visit agenda had to be worked over. They say she looked sad when she left. Sure enough, she was thinking about the wording of her report explaining to the Donkey Leadership that there was nothing to be done and that they had to accept the Russian position as it was. They do not believe that the American era is over and they think that they are still very high on the global political exchange.

Well, let them tender their bids on the free market and check the quotes to be offered.

History Writer, WWII