By DAVID BROOKS
Published: May 13, 2013 424 Comments
Twenty years ago, when she was a young Foreign Service officer in Moscow, Victoria Nuland gave me a dazzling briefing on the diverse factions inside the Russian parliament.
So, that's why David Brooks' opinions on who were the good guys and who were the bad guys in Russia in 1993 turned out to be so on the money.
Now she is a friend I typically see a couple times a year, at various functions, and I have watched her rise, working with everybody from Dick Cheney to Hillary Clinton, serving as ambassador to NATO, and now as a spokeswoman at the State Department.
Over the past few weeks, the spotlight has turned on Nuland. The charge is that intelligence officers prepared accurate talking points after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, and that Nuland, serving her political masters, watered them down.
The charges come from two quarters, from Republicans critical of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi and intelligence officials shifting blame for Benghazi onto the State Department.
It’s always odd watching someone you know get turned into a political cartoon on the cable talk shows. But this case is particularly disturbing because Nuland did nothing wrong.
For instance, does anybody expect her career to take a hit because her policy of Bear-baiting in the Ukraine contributed to a violent putsch that set off a large and predictable but basically pointless international crisis?