She’s described as “the top U.S. diplomat for Europe.” And so, when her indiscreet telephone call goes viral on the Internet, it ought to be big news. Victoria Nuland was promoted from her post as State Department spokesperson following the 2012 elections. Now, she holds the coveted post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The specific quote being circulated has an unmistakable Nuland saying “F--- the [European Union]!”
Well, now, isn’t the kind of thing you would expect a seasoned diplomat to be saying? We know she is seasoned because we watched her seasoning. She might have won the Gold Medal for ice dancing around a simple question: Is Jerusalem the capital of Israel?
Last year, she went to extraordinary lengths to avoid stating the obvious fact that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel. Interestingly, there has never been a time when Jerusalem was the capital of anyone else’s country or empire. The Muslim Ottomans controlled Jerusalem for more than half a millennium, but they did not name it as their capital. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, but never made it their capital. This should not have been a hard question.
Nuland might have consulted our own CIA Country Fact Book. It’s readily accessible online. The spooks at the CIA have figured out what the capital of Israel is. But she bobbed and weaved and generally looked ridiculous refusing to answer one of the simplest questions. A follow-up question might have been: Madame Assistant Secretary—Is there any other country whose capital you cannot name?
So now, having thoroughly blotted her copybook on the Mideast, she is promoted to handle still-sensitive relations with Europe and Eurasia. That covers a lot of territory. We learn that the Obama administration has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls.
That certainly is a shock for a president who was the first candidate in history to deliver a campaign speech—before a million adoring Germans—at the Victory Monument in Berlin. President Obama basked in the glow of their adulation as he proclaimed himself a “citizen of the world” in 2008.