Wes Mitchell: A new anti-Russian 'hawk' appointed to replace Nuland

Author : Oleksandr Ilyushchenkov

Source : 112 Ukraine

Mitchell is known as an active supporter of the idea of ​​supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, as well as strengthening anti-Russian sanctions
11:05, 3 October 2017

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In late September, the US Senate has approved a new Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Well-known in Ukraine Wes Mitchell has come to replace Viktoria Nuland.

Nuland was remembered by her active criticism of Russia in the key international issues. She supported Ukraine during the conflict with Russia, actively lobbying the extension of anti-Russian sanctions.

Her successor, Mitchell, is an adherent of an even tougher policy towards Russia.


Victoria Nuland and Jeffrey Payatt distributing food to the protesters on Maidan. December 2013

According to our sources, close to the negotiation process with the United States, Mitchell is known as an active supporter of the idea of supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, as well as strengthening anti-Russian sanctions. It is expected that he will insist on supporting nationalist and paramilitary formations in the Baltic, Poland, and Finland in order to "fight against the Russian threat", as well as providing military assistance to Ukraine.

Related: Nuland’s successor Kurt Volker – US new special representative in Ukraine

In addition, Mitchell will have an important mission to reduce the level of support for pro-Russian forces in the zone of Russia’s direct influence, such as the pro-Russian Moldovan president Igor Dodon, as well as the Bulgarian president Rumen Radev. In addition, he will pay special attention to cooperation with the Hungarian authorities, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban is pursuing a frankly pro-Russian policy against Ukraine and the whole European Union.

Mitchell will also have a special mission in the South Caucasus, where Tillerson's new assistant will try to help bring back Azerbaijan into the sphere of American influence. He might use some proposals in the field of pipeline projects and the problems around Nagorno-Karabakh.

"While the post-Cold War West may have hoped that Russia might eventually become a supersized version of Poland," Mitchell wrote about Russia, "with liberal institutions and a de-militarized foreign policy, what we got instead was a latter-day version of Carthage — a sullen, punitive power determined to wage a vengeful foreign policy to overturn the system that it blames for the loss of its former greatness" - Strategic Culture quotes Mitchell.

30-year-old Mitchell is known as director of the Center for Analysis of European Policy (CEPA) with headquarters in Washington and Warsaw.

Related: Volker, Surkov to meet in early October, discuss UN mission in Donbas

According to forecasts, given CEPA's relationship with the leading US defense companies and oil and gas corporations, Mitchell will pursue a policy of promoting arms supplies to Ukraine, launching projects that will maximize the load of American and British military-industrial complexes, sales of American liquefied natural gas to Eastern Europe.

The new assistant secretary of state is also known as co-author of "The Unquiet Frontier: Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies, and the Crisis of American Power" and “The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable.” Hoping that the fall of the United States is real, such countries as Russia, Iran and China, test the determination of Washington, aiming at the vulnerable allies of the States. The book "The Unquiet Frontier" says that the US needs a new strategy with strong border alliances.

During the presidential campaign of 2012, Mitchell was an adviser to the presidential candidate Mitt Romney, also known for his "hawkish" stance towards Russia.

Related: McCain says Trump is slow on enforcing sanctions law

In a motivational letter to the Senate in the summer of 2017, Mitchell also spoke about the situation in Ukraine and other countries that affected the Russian aggression:

"I urge Moscow to stop destabilizing activities in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and the Balkans and to stop supporting hostile regimes in Syria and Iran, and I will also support efforts to reduce the vulnerability of our allies and partners to corruption, disinformation and other forms of malign influence, used by Russia to weaken the institutions and civil societies."

Related: Trump continues cultural and educational sanctions against Russia

Thus, the new Assistant Secretary of State became another "anti-Russian" hawk, who took the post in the Russian direction of US foreign policy. In parallel with this, the US appointed a new ambassador to Russia. It is the ex-governor of Utah John Huntsman, who is not Russia’s sympathizer.

AP photo

John Huntsman

During the hearings in the Senate on the approval of his candidacy, Huntsman said that the United States should take into account the continuation of the threat to the security and stability of Europe on the part of Russia. According to him, Moscow's current policy is one of the main foreign policy challenges for the United States. Huntsman also stressed that one of his main tasks during the work in Russia would be the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine "on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and restoration of the territorial integrity of this country," Voice of America writes.

In 2012, Huntsman ran for the presidency of the United States. Then he criticized the "reset" of US-Russian relations, calling this approach wicked and "based on lies."

Another recent appointment of the White House in the foreign policy area concerning Russia, was the State Department's special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker.


The Financial Times

Special Representative of the US State Department in Ukraine Kurt Volker

Volker is known for his calls for international cooperation to counter the challenges of Russia. "Russia is trying to destroy the order established after the Cold War in Europe, changing borders with the use of military force. Russian troops occupied part of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Brazenly demonstrating strength, Russia has just annexed Crimean peninsula," Volcker claimed in his testimony at the hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 7, 2017. During his tenure, Volker has already managed to support the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine. "Defense weapons, which will allow Ukraine to protect itself and, for example, withdraw tanks, will help to stop Russia's threats to Ukraine," Volcker said.

Related: Kurt Volker: There is no difference between Crimea and Eastern Ukraine

As we might see, Trump’s Administration has placed the Republican hawks who are severely criticizing the Russian Federation and directly advocating the return of the situation in the east of Ukraine to the legal channel to all the key positions, somehow connected with holding negotiations with Russia. None of the appointees agree with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, some support giving Ukraine weapons or loans. Trump himself mentioned Ukraine in his speech to the UN, albeit in conjunction with the South China Sea, but this is one of the key points of his interest.

Is it possible to say that these appointments will help solve the crisis in the east and south of Ukraine? Definitely not. However, they will certainly support the initiatives of Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine, Georgia are not ready to join NATO, - Volker

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