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Jonathan Marshall – How ‘Obscure’ Bureaucrats Cause Wars

History isn’t just made by impersonal forces and “great men” or “great women.” Sometimes relatively obscure men and women acting in key bureaucratic posts make a real difference.

Thus, the international crisis in Syria traces back in part to the decision of President Barack Obama’s first ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, to reject peaceful rapprochement with the Damascus regime in favor of “radically redesign[ing] his mission” to promote anti-government protests that triggered the civil war in 2011.

In much the same way, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland did her best to foment the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch against the democratically elected Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych, “while convincing the ever-gullible U.S. mainstream media that the coup wasn’t really a coup but a victory for ‘democracy,’” as journalist Robert Parry wrote last July.

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