Worst Week in Washington
A weekly award honoring inhabitants of Planet Beltway

Who had the worst week in Washington? The State Department’s Victoria Nuland.



This video appears to feature a phone call by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Caution: Video contains profanity.

Anytime modern diplomacy starts to resemble an episode of “The Americans,” the Russian-spy drama set in the 1980s, you know there’s trouble.

That’s what happened this past week when a private phone call featuring the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland, became public on the Internet. In the call, which was first tweeted out by an aide to Russia’s deputy prime minister Thursday morning, Nuland is heard saying “F--- the E.U.”

Worst Week in Washington

Chris Cillizza grants the award to the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers or other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute worst week.

Archive

More from Outlook

How to fix the Second Amendment

How to fix the Second Amendment

Just add five words, says former justice John Paul Stevens.

The battle against divorce

The battle against divorce

Conservative legislators are trying to make it harder for couples to split.

5 myths about the Pulitzer Prize

5 myths about the Pulitzer Prize

Do small newspapers and online reporters even stand a chance?

Bon anniversaire, Eiffel Tower

Bon anniversaire, Eiffel Tower

The structure reflects the hopes and doubts of Paris 125 years ago.

Gallery

Her brutal assessment of the European Union came in the context of E.U. efforts to end the political standoff in Ukraine. In the call, Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, discuss an offer from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to bring two opposition leaders into the government as a way to break the gridlock. One of the opposition leaders is Vitali Klitschko. (Yes, the boxer.)

The Obama administration quickly pointed the finger at Russia for the taping and the releasing of Nuland’s conversation. “The video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government. I think it says something about Russia’s role,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.

Why Russia? Because it doesn’t want the United States entering the Ukraine situation, and poisoning the well with the E.U. is one way to complicate U.S. involvement. The Russians even have a word for secretly recorded conversations: “kompromat,” meaning “compromising materials.” (How Cold War of them.)

Victoria Nuland, for coming off as an undiplomatic diplomat, you had the worst week in Washington. Pozdravlyayem, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

Read more from Outlook, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

 
Read what others are saying