According to a veteran South African official who attended meetings with the senior U.S. diplomat in Pretoria, however, Nuland and her team were demonstrably unprepared to grapple with recent developments on the African continent — particularly the military coup that removed Niger's pro-Western government hours before she launched her multi-stop tour of the region. "In over 20 years working with the Americans, I have never seen them so desperate," the official told The Grayzone, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Pretoria was well aware of Nuland's hawkish reputation, but when she arrived in Pretoria, the official described her as "totally caught off guard" by winds of change engulfing the region. The July putsch that saw a popular military junta come to power in Niger followed military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso that were similarly inspired by mass anti-colonial sentiment.
Though Washington has so far refused to characterize developments in the Nigerien capital of Niamey as a coup, the South African source confirmed that Nuland sought South Africa's assistance in responding to regional conflicts, including in Niger, where she emphasized that Washington not only held significant financial investments, but also maintained 1,000 of its own troops. For Nuland, the realization that she was negotiating from a position of weakness was likely a rude awakening.
Serving Both Parties & Advancing Empire, One Regime Change at a Time
Throughout the past decade and a half, Victoria Nuland has established herself as one of the most heavy-handed – and effective – agents of Western-directed regime change ops within the State Department. As the wife of the arch-neoconservative strategist, Robert Kagan, who advised both Republican presidential contender, Mitt Romney, and Democrat, Hillary Clinton, Nuland embodied the interventionist consensus that prevailed across both parties in the pre-Trump era. In fact, her first high-level job came under the watch of Vice President Dick Cheney, when he appointed her to serve as his deputy chief of staff.