The Coup in Ukraine

In my last Sitrep I said that the West was trying to pull off a coup in Ukraine against the duly elected President.

We now have very strong evidence in the shape of an intercepted phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. They talk about how to arrange a new government and are not as supportive of the EU as they would be in public. Pretty hard to spin this as anything else but another “colour revolution”.

But, of course, such  alleged intercepts are often faked and by themselves aren’t necessarily evidence of anything.

But White House spokesman, Jay Carney has (probably inadvertently) admitted the veracity of the intercept. Surely he will attempt to walk this back once he realizes that he has given away the secret, but it’s too late.

The intercept is here; the report of Carney’s press conference is here.

Get it now before it disappears down the memory hole.

So who made the intercept? Carney says Russia but Ukraine also has the capability. Whether Kiev or Moscow, they’re finally getting better at the propaganda war.

Will there be more intercepts coming?

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Alexander Mercouris made the following comments regarding this:

    (1) This tape is so interesting on so many levels. Obviously it shows that there are people within the EU who are not playing. Bear in mind that Greece now holds the EU’s rotating Presidency and has quietly sided with Russia on the Ukrainian issue. I gather this is the general feeling in southern Europe though no one wants to be caught saying it. Even more interesting is the way Yatsenyuk is clearly exposed as the US’s man and that the US is trying to lever him into power. Bear in mind that in the latest opinion poll he came fourth behind Yanukovitch, Klitschko and Poroshenko, would fall even further behind if Tymoshenko was released, is only the caretaker leader of his own party and is definitely politically the weakest of the opposition three (Tyagnibok is even less popular but he does have a disciplined mass party behind him). I suspect the only reason for Yatsenyuk’s prominence is that the US supports him. Since Klitschko is widely and surely rightly seen as Germany’s man US support for Yatsenyuk suggests that the US and Germany are as much rivals for influence in the Ukraine as they are allies against Russia. US hostility to Klitschko (with Nuland wanting to exclude him from the government entirely) is not only of course aimed at Germany. Klitschko is the only one of the opposition three who has spoken of the need for the Ukraine to maintain good relations with Russia.

    (2) It is also interesting to see that the Russians (for I am sure that it was they who both made and leaked the tape) are obviously running an effective intelligence operation in Kiev. The leaking of the tape is surely intended to cause trouble between the US and Germany and between Klitschko and his erstwhile “allies” (which it will do) but it is also an effective way of showing to the US, the opposition and of course to Yanukovitch that the Russians are listening and know what is going on.

    I could add that the idea that it is the US rather than the Ukrainian people or the Ukrainian President or the Ukrainian Parliament or even the Ukrainian opposition who should choose the Ukraine’s Prime Minister or should have a word on the choice of who becomes the Ukraine’s Prime Minister and who participates in the Ukraine’s government and that it should choose Yatsenyuk who as I said in my Facebook comment is behind Yanukovitch, Klitschko, Poroshenko and Tymoshenko in his ratings and is therefore one of the less popular politicians in the Ukraine is simultaneously offensive and absurd but everyone of us who writes here knows this already and knows also that this is what the US nowadays assumes it has the right to do.

    • If, at the end of the day, there will be free and fair elections, American plans will come to nothing anyways because their man will lose and Klitschko will win.

      Interesting, however, how Yanukovich and the US were playing, with respect to making Yatseniuk PM (in light of this news, I suspect, but may be wrong, that somehow the Americans were involved in Yanukovich’s offer?).

  2. Also bears out a conviction that I have had for a long time. The Obama Administration is full of stupid and incompetent people.

    1. Doesn’t everybody know that cell phone conversations can be intercepted?
    2. The world’s greatest interceptor of phonecalls should never never mention the subject of calls being intercepted. Let alone complain when someone else does it.
    3. Carney admits the authenticity of the phonecall to make some stupid point about how nasty the Russians are.

    These are not the actions of intelligent competent people.

  3. Latest polls in Ukraine:

    (to avoid spam filter I’ll only post one link, if you someone doubts my honesty they can google the rest):

    Incumbent Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych would lose to any of the opposition candidates in the second round if presidential elections were held in the near future, sociologists have said.

    According to a survey conducted by the Socis Center and Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, if Yanukovych and UDAR Party leader Vitali Klitschko won through to the second round, the incumbent president would gain 36.1% of the vote and his opponent 63.9%.

    If independent MP Petro Poroshenko advanced to the second round, he would collect 62.3% and Yanukovych 37.7%.

    If Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok progressed to the second round, he would have 54.4% and Yanukovych 45.6%, and if Batkivschyna faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk reached the second round, he would garner 58.4% and Yanukovych 41.6%.

    If former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko won through the second round, she would collect 57.4% of the vote and Yanukovych 42.6%.

    In general, among those who would participate in the elections, 29.5% would vote for Yanukovych in the first round, 28.7% for Klitschko, 18.6% for Poroshenko, 9.2% for Yatseniuk, 4.7% for Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, 3.8% for Tiahnybok, 0.7% for Ukrainian Choice leader Viktor Medvedchuk, and 4.9% for another candidate.

    The survey was conducted from January 24 to February 1, through a standard face-to-face interview, in all regions in Ukraine. A total of 2,400 respondents were questioned. The poll’s margin of error is 2%.

    Note to Alex: this result is not completely comparable to polls citing Yanukovich in the 20s prior to 2010, because those polls included numbers for people who would not vote while this one excludes those people and only focuses on likely voters.

    I find the fact that even Tiahnybok is now leading Yanukovich, shocking. The fact that he polls well behind everyone in the first round suggests that he is simply seen as a “lesser evil” than Yanukovich by most voters, not that he is popular on his own. Still, a few months ago he was the only one of the opposition candidates who would have lost to Yanukovich in the second round. Now it looks more likely that Yanukovich will have make a parliamentary republic, or cancel the second round and hope the Oranges don’t unite, or arrest/disenfranchise all of the opponents in this poll, or cancel elections, if he wants to hold onto power.


    A total of 46.7% Ukrainian citizens interviewed as part of a recent survey said they supported their country’s integration with the European Union, while 38% spoke in favor of closer ties with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

    The question asked by sociologists during the poll, conducted by the Socis Center for Social and Marketing Research and Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) was “How would Ukrainian citizens vote if a nationwide referendum on this issue was to be held soon?”

    Up to 33.8% of respondents were opposed to closer ties with the EU, and 39.8% said they were against any union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, according to the poll results, which were announced at an Interfax-Ukraine press conference in Kyiv on Friday.

    From 9% to 10% of those polled said they would not vote in such a referendum, and 13% were undecided.

    The survey was conducted from January 24 to February 1 and involved 2,400 people.


    Almost half of Ukrainians (47%) support the Maidan anti-government protests, and 46.1% do not, according to a survey conducted by the Socis Center and Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

    According to the survey released at the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Friday, 26.8% of respondents fully support the Maidan, and 20.9% mostly support the protests.

    Some 31.3% of Ukrainians do not support the pro-EU protesters, and 14.8% mostly do not support them.

    “However, most respondents (63.3%) believe that in order to achieve a positive outcome of protests it’s necessary to sit at the negotiating table, and the process should be made public,” reads a press release.

    Some 11.1% of respondents believe that force should be used to resolve the conflict.

    Respondents also expressed an opinion on which politicians should lead the protests.

    “Most respondents (20.4%) said that such a leader should be UDAR head Vitali Klitschko, 12.6% independent deputy Petro Poroshenko, and 6.3% Batkivschyna faction head Arseniy Yatseniuk. At the same time, 41.1% of respondents could not answer this question or refused to answer,” reads the press release.

    The survey was conducted from January 24 to February 1 in all regions in Ukraine. A total of 2,400 respondents were interviewed. The poll’s margin of error does not exceed 2%.


    The Ukrainian people have been divided into two equal camps regarding their opinions of the Euromaidan, according to a survey conducted by the Sociopolis Institute at the request of the Situations Modelling Agency.

    When being asked about their attitude to the Euromaidan, 49.0% of the respondents expressed complete or greater support, while 45.5% oppose Euromaidan (to full or greater degree), the research said.

    According to sociologists, the majority of those polled (over 60%) were harsh, when characterized Euromaidan events either positively or negatively, while 30% of the Ukrainians were less categorical in there estimates on the above-mentioned events.

    “Thus, it’s possible to consider that Euromaidan has divided the country not just into two camps, but into two almost irreconcilable camps,” the sociologists said.

    According to the majority of respondents, the main reasons for the wave of rallies occurred in Ukraine were failure of Viktor Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement with EU (51.9% of the respondents), unfavorable socio-political and socio-economical conditions in the country (41.7%) and dispersal of the students’ Euromaidan by the law enforcers (37.7%). Furthermore, a great number of the respondents that are unlikely to support or don’t support Euromaidan at all said that main reasons for Euromaidan phenomenon were provocations by the opposition and international influence.

    The number of the respondents, who required to punish the authorities responsible for the break-up of the students’ Euromaidan, was the biggest – 57%.

    Although, 29.8% of the respondents don’t support this demand.

    According to the overwhelming majority, the most acceptable kind of protesting is peaceful demonstration (78.5%); only 16.3% don’t support it. A small number of respondents encouraged direct clashes with law enforcers (15.9%) and the demolition of the Lenin monument (18.0%).

    The situation caused by Euromaidan must be settled by negotiations and compromises, according to the majority of the respondents (41.3%). Over a fourth of the respondents think that the authorities must comply with the protestors’ demands (26.3%). Break-up of Euromaidan by force is supported by 15.8% of the respondents.

    “It’s worth noticing that there are people welcoming a compromise solution of the current situation among those, who support Euromaidan and those, who don’t,” the sociologists said.

    In addition, there’s a great uncertainty among Ukrainians as to how Euromaidan will end, according to the poll results. All five major scenarios of Euromaidan outcomes, presented to the respondents, polled nearly the same number of votes; none of the scenarios was named the most likely by the majority of respondents.

    Thus, 13.5% believe that the protestors will have their demands complied with, 18.5% believe that the demands will be satisfied partially, after which the protestors will go home. At the same time, 16.2% of those polled believe that the protestors will go home due to internal conflicts and loss of public interest towards Maidan; and 11.2% believe that a “trimmed-down” version of Euromaidan will remain for a long time, which the authorities will ignore.

    In spite of 40% of the respondents considering negotiations and compromises between the parties of the conflict to be the ideal solution of the Euromaidan situation, only 18.5% consider this scenario the most likely. According to 18.3% of the respondents, Euromaidan will be broken up by force.

  4. Another alleged intercept — this time of Germans.


    This is Helga. I wanted to tell you in confidence that the Americans are going around saying that we are too weak and that their stance is stronger on sanctions. I spoke with Cathy and we are on the same line which we have to prepare in a very intelligent way, as we have already discussed it, but you need to know that we are very angry at the Americans for accusing the EU of being too soft, they have said so to reporters. Maybe you could tell the US Ambassador that we are not soft at all and that we have recently come up with a strong statement about Bulatov (inaudible). It makes me angry that the media here says that the US is on the side of freedom.

    But Helga you need to realize that we are not in a competition to see how will make the strongest statement…we have other instruments… it is good that…

    But you have to see that I don’t want Cathy to be hurt or stuck into a corner as this would take on a different political meaning. Cathy will raise this issue with Kerry and I want you to know that while we are not in a competition it is very unfair on their part to spread such things

    Let me tell you that I have learned just a few minutes ago that the opposition will make a new offer to the President and I will immediately write that to Cathy and to you.

    Okay thanks!

    Thanks bye!

  5. russia released the intercept to warn the US against any provocations in ukraine during the olympics, basically saying that, “we know what you’re up to and will expose you.”

    related to this, we can probably be confident that russia also has clear evidence of responsibility for the chemical attack in syria — but hasn’t released it. hence its firm stand last summer.

  6. I’ll make a longshot prediction…this will come out from the western side as a Snowden revelation…he gave FSB the secret codes allowing interception of secure US communications…Snowden is a traitor…Russia is his collaborator…and partner in crime. NATO must take control of the Black Sea and Caspian region now!!!

    It’s possible that the crazed ego-maniac Nuland practiced bad opsec…but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  7. George Bordakov says

    I don’t think it is US against Germans. It is just so natural for DC political operators. “Yats” is cool and is at least a lawyer, may even invite him to a party, if he behaves. “Klitsch” is this vile boxer, disgusting.

  8. Patrick Armstrong says

    Here’s the transcript of a speech given by Nuland last December
    Money quote:
    “We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”

  9. David Habakkuk says

    Patrick Armstrong,

    First to say that – as someone who has learned a great deal from your commentary on Russian affairs ever since I first came across it on the ‘experts’ panel’ which Peter Lavelle used to run on his ‘Untimely Thoughts’ blog years ago – I am very glad to see it cross-posted here.

    For reasons I have never understood, posts on the ROPV site have never really generated much discussion, which given the importance of your contributions and those of Gordon Hahn and William Dunkerley, seems unfortunate.

    Thanks for the link to the transcript of Victoria Nuland’s 13 December speech. One passage struck me particularly forcibly:

    ‘People of all ages, of all classes, of all walks of life are taking ownership of their future and coming out into the streets to demand a European future. They’re doing so peacefully, with great courage, and enormous personal restraint.’

    Do you think that Ms. Nuland is simply unaware that Ukraine is a deeply divided society, or that she is at least partially aware of this, and is obscuring her awareness because any recognition of the complexities would undermine the propaganda she is eager to disseminate?

    It may be relevant here that shortly before giving this speech, Ms. Nuland was photographed meeting the principal opposition leaders. From right to left in the picture, we see Oleg Tyagnibok, Arseny Yatsenyuk, and Vitaly Klitschko.

    (See )

    In the list of ‘2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs’ published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, No. 5 opens:



    ‘In recent elections the radical right party won 41 seats in the Ukrainian
    Parliament (10.44% of the popular vote). Tyagnibok has called for purges of the approximately 400,000 Jews and other minorities living in Ukraine and has demanded that Ukraine be liberated from what he calls, the “Muscovite Jewish Mafia.”

    (See )

    Another fascinating photograph of Tyagnibok is at:

    • George Bordakov says

      I think Ms. Nuland is very well aware of division and she doesn’t think that whatever she is disseminating is disenginious propaganda. I think she honestly believes that those who deserve to be heard are in Maidan and those who are not will be better off when Maidan wins. And those who will not be better deserve their fate.

    • Patrick Armstrong says

      Thank you David for the kind words.

      Generally I’m pretty gobsmacked by all this stuff.
      1. While it may be fun to overthrow govts for “democracy” and all that, the results are generally pretty disastrous. Vide Kosovo and Libya to say nothing of supporting jihadists in Syria. Ukr is very divided and insisting on NATO membership (last time this movie played) or EU membership (this time) is a guaranteed way of splitting the place and raising passions. Conceivably ending in civil war, complete stais, separation who knows. But nothing good for anybody. (But, what the hell, what good did overthrowing Kadaffy do for anybody?)

      2. Didn’t we see this movie in Ukraine before? A few years ago? And that didn’t work at all. Neither did the colour revs in Georgia or Tajikistan. All of which immediately morphed into let’s join NATO (first 2) let’s give NATO a base (last one).

      So I don’t understand what these (neither intelligent nor informed) people think they will gain.
      As to motives? Arrogance? Stupidity? Anti-Russia? Played Risk too much as children? Pretty hard to come up with anything rational other than a hatred of Russia. (I believe that it is often a clue: see what one side accuses the other of doing and that’s what it’s doing itself. Especially among those who cloak their actions in highfaluting motives.)
      Or — a thought — are these the actions of a declining power that is desperately trying to secure as much as it can before it can no longer?

      Ukraine in its present state isn’t really much of a prize is it?

      • “Ukr is very divided and insisting on NATO membership (last time this movie played) or EU membership (this time) is a guaranteed way of splitting the place and raising passions. Conceivably ending in civil war, complete stais, separation who knows.”

        This works both ways though…Ukraine joining the Customs Union with Russia is just as divisive. And if Ukraine must choose one divisive vector or another, probably the one with more support (even if just barely) is the lesser evil.

        • Patrick Armstrong says

          I have not seen anything to suggest that Russia was demanding the kind of exclusive membership of the Customs Union that the EU was apparently demanding in its association. Nor do I understand why Ukraine cannot be allowed to, as Canada has, have an arrangement with the EU and something else (in Canada’s case NAFTA).
          “Apparently” I say because I have no idea what the terms of the EU offer were. Which I find a very revealing lacuna.
          The happiest and most stable future for Ukraine is that it be permitted by its neighbours to remain what it is: a bit of both.
          We know the West is not permitting that; I see nothing to suggest that Russia is forbidding it as well.

          • David Habakkuk says

            Patrick Armstrong,

            As I understand it the Russians proposed tripartite discussions between the Ukrainian government, the EU, and themselves.

            It is not immediately apparent to me why accepting this proposal would not have forestalled any possibility of some kind of ‘exclusive membership’ of the Customs Union being made a fait accompli prior to the forthcoming elections, if such indeed existed, and allowed a proper exploration of whether an arrangement which allowed Ukraine to be ‘a bit of both’ could not have been worked out.

            I also think that, given the degree of resentment against the EU, and economic and political elites in general, which has been building up in many parts of Europe, encouragement of the ‘politics of the street’ on the part of European leaders may be unwise.

            On British attitudes, the ‘best-rated’ comments on an article published by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, under the title ‘Ukraine would be enriched by real democracy back in December in the ‘Telegraph’ are revealing.

            (See )

      • David Habakkuk says

        Patrick Armstrong,

        Some random thoughts on the background to American policy.

        1. Part of the problem has to do with the backgrounds of critical figures in shaping U.S. policy towards Russia. A case in point is Brzezinski. My editor at the BBC, back in 1988-9, had worked for the former British Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, who was involved in the Trilateral Commission, along with the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Apparently Schmidt used to say that he could never work out which of his country’s traditional enemies – Germany and Russia – Brezinzski hated most.

        Perhaps this is unsurprising, if one looks at his family history and upbringing:

        ‘Zbigniew Brzezinski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1928. His family, members of the nobility (or “szlachta” in Polish), bore the Trąby coat of arms and hailed from Brzeżany in Galicia. This town is thought to be the source of the family name. Brzezinski’s father was Tadeusz Brzeziński, a Polish diplomat who was posted to Germany from 1931 to 1935; Zbigniew Brzezinski thus spent some of his earliest years witnessing the rise of the Nazis. From 1936 to 1938, Tadeusz Brzeziński was posted to the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge.’

        (See;wap2 )

        As you know as well or better than I, a lot of people who have been active in shaping U.S. foreign policy over the past decades have roots in Eastern Europe, and frequently very good cause to hate not just the Soviet Union but Russia. Whether this provides a basis for a policy grounded in a reasonably rational view of American interests would seem however something of a moot point (irony intended!).

        2. Your point about tails wagging dogs is critical. What compounds the problem is that, as the incisive former CIA operative Philip Giraldi pointed out recently, both the CIA and the Foreign Service are now possessed by a kind of panic terror of their employees ‘going native.’ Accordingly, they are not training up people like yourself – area specialists who are deeply versed in the language, history and culture of foreign countries.

        At the same time, very many people in the countries with which they are dealing are fluent in English and either have a reasonable idea of how the United States operates, or can draw on the services of people who do. As a result, the ‘tail’ often has a good understanding of how to manipulate the ‘dog’, which has little understanding of the complexities of the situations in which it is frivolously intervening. Compounding the problem is the way that modern U.S. ‘political science’ often appears excellent at equipping people with arrogance, but poor at providing them with the tools required for understanding.

        A classic case is the way that the Iranians, through Ahmed Chalabi, inveigled the Americans into getting rid of Saddam Hussein for them. Another is the way that the Berezovsky ‘tail’ ended up wagging the MI6 ‘dog’ – although the brains behind the operations was probably Alex Goldfarb.

        3. And, as you say, a lot of the people in the Obama Administration are ‘stupid and incompetent’. As I understand it, secure cellphones exist, but are a complete pain to use. But to conduct the kind of conversation which Nuland and Pyatt engfaged in on an unsecured cell phone is quite extraordinary. Meanwhile, to treat the Russian exploitation of this spectacular ‘own goal’ as though it was somehow monstrously unfair, as the State Department spokeswomen Jen Psaki did, indicates a monumental lack of contact with reality. What is going on in Ukraine is a brutal power struggle – if you expect it to be played by Queensberry rules, and to have the rules biased in your favour, you are indeed ‘stupid and incompetent.’

        4. As to Ukraine in its present state not being ‘much of a prize’, I absolutely agree. Indeed, I find the argument made by Ambassador Jack Matlock in the piece just posted on the ROPV site eminently plausible. It does indeed seems likely that the Ukraine will turn out to be the ultimate ‘booby prize’ – if it opts for Russia, the Russians will be blamed for the economic shambles, and if it opts for the EU, the EU will be blamed.

        One qualification, however, which bears upon Russian policy, relates to the Crimea and in particular the basing of the Black Sea fleet. Had there been a realistic prospect of a genuinely neutral Ukraine, then it would seem to me to have made sense for the fleet to have been, at an appropriate moment, rebased so as to be within Russia proper. However, given the nature of the proposed agreement with the EU, it would not in the least surprise me if the Russian government suspected that if they abandon Sevastopol, it will end up being an American naval base. If I am right in suspecting that this is how they may be thinking – and I may be being fanciful – that might provide grounds for embarking on courses of action which otherwise might be judged imprudent.

  10. Patrick Armstrong says

    Another thought on Tyagnibok & Co. Great powers believe that they can control little powers, so in this case the conviction would be that the mighty USA can use T and discard him at will. What they forget in their arrogance and stupidity is that T has his ambitions and that there are plenty more just like him in Ukr and that these people take these ambitions very seriously indeed.
    The big powers are seldom right — the little guy also has strong desires. A recent illustration is that Saakashvili invaded Ossetia expecting US support even though he had been told it would not be forthcoming. But he did it anyway expecting that Washington would have to back him up when he held SO. His miscalculation is that the Ossetian militia held the crappy Georgian invaders up and the Russians got there faster than anyone expected.
    Another case is related in the Road to Ramadan in which Nasser completely fakes out Brezhnev & Kosygin into sending Sov troops to Egypt to man the air defence system.
    Often times the tiny tail wags the mighty dog.

    • The Americans, based on the transcript, seem to prefer to work with Yatsenyuk not Tiahnybok.

      The only way Tiahnybok has a chance of leading Ukraine is if Yanukovoch arranges this, by preventing all the other opposition candidates from running.* Tiahnybok is the least popular of the opposition figures, among the opposition. Polls give him about 4% support int he first round of a hypothetical election.

      *There is a chance of this happening. After Klitschko’s popularity surged, the parliament passed a law banning him from running for the presidency due to his living in Germany too much. Yatsenyuk may be arrested for fomenting rebellion. Poroshenko, a businessman, is likely to face some legal difficulties if he should run (he is currently the second most popular opposition figure). Tymoshenko is of course already in jail. This will leave Tiahnybok vs. Yanukovich. Until recently Tiahnybok was the only opposition candidate who would lose in the second round to Yanukovich, but the latest poll shows that even Tiahnybok would win in the second round. However this might not be a problem for Yanukovoch – if he cheats vs. Tiahnybok or subverts the election by turning the country into a parliamentary republic with himself as prime minister, would the West rush to Tiahnybok’s aid? Tiahnybok might be the one Opposition candidate who could get screwed by Yanukovoch without the West’s protests.

      • David Habakkuk says

        ‘The Americans, based on the transcript, seem to prefer to work with Yatsenyuk not Tiahnybok.’

        Of course they do. The Americans preferred to work with secular Shia in Iraq – and that was the calculation on which the decision to topple Saddam was made, in large measure on the basis of the advice given by Ahmed Chalabi. Unfortunately, it turned out that the secular Shia were almost entirely in the Baath, which, also in large measure as a result of advice from Chalabi, the Americans disbanded. So the eventual beneficiaries of the toppling of Saddam were Islamist Shia linked to the clerical regime in Tehran.

        In Syria, the Americans certainly preferred to work with ‘moderate Islamists’ opposed to the Assad regime. Unfortunately it turned out that these ‘moderate Islamists’ were largely irrelevant, and that the sharp edge of the insurgency was jihadist.

        Of course, it may be that all will proceed smoothly, and that the current coup attempt will proceed without a hitch, and lead to elections in which Yatsenyuk will emerge the victor. It may be that the whole of the east of the country, including the Crimea, will accept the result. It may also be that the results of the economic prescriptions of the EU and IMF will be more unmitigatedly beneficial than they have been, say, in Greece, Spain or Italy. And even if they are not, the seething resentment against these institutions now palpably evident in much of Europe may not manifest itself in Ukraine.

        On the other hand, it may be that American anticipations that they can control the results of ‘regime change’ turn out to be as delusional in Ukraine as they have proved to be in other situations.

        We shall see!

        • Fortunately Ukraine is not a Muslim country. The most popular force among the opposition is not the extreme one, but Klitschko – also, the least anti-Russian one.

  11. Patrick Armstrong says

    And, as a reminder, here’s Nuland’s former boss on Libya. Pretty casual and disgusting, eh? Childish, even.
    First 8 seconds are all you need to watch