U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel travelled to Kiev, Ukraine; Riga, Latvia; and Brussels, Belgium on May 12-16. As the State Department reported, he used his trip «to stress the need for greater regional engagement to support Ukraine’s upcoming May 25 elections, push back against efforts to delegitimize them and ensure that all Ukrainians are given the chance to decide their future for themselves».
In office since February 11, 2014, Richard Stengel is a new face in the Foggy Bottom. The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is a position that is intended to help ensure that public diplomacy is practiced in combination with public affairs and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security. Richard Stengel leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism. The Under Secretary oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, as well as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and participates in foreign policy development. In short he is responsible for coordination of propaganda efforts. He is dry behind the ears in whatever is related to media. An American editor, journalist and author, Stengel is famed for being Time magazine's 16th managing editor. While best known for his work for Time, he has written a number of books including collaboration with Nelson Mandela on Mandela's autobiography. Prior to taking up his role as managing editor of Time in 2006, Stengel was the president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center. In 2012, Stengel received a News and Documentary Emmy Award for his work as executive producer on Time.com's Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience and, on behalf of Time Magazine, The film showed the US in brighter light.
The visit was barely highlighted to make one pause. The State Department’s website provided little information, just a few words describing the events in general terms.
For instance, in Kiev Stengel had to state the US support for the Ukraine’s interim government and the elections slated for May 25, «His visit to Kyiv underscores U.S. support for Ukraine’s new interim government as it works to build an inclusive, transparent, and accountable system of government that is responsive to the needs of all Ukrainians. In Riga, he will focus on further strengthening the robust government-to-government and people-to-people relationships that exist between the United States and Latvia».
In Brussels Under Secretary Stengel was «to engage with a wide spectrum of European media and think tank leaders to discuss the current crisis in Ukraine; highlight U.S support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine; emphasize the importance of ensuring Ukraine’s upcoming elections are free, fair and transparent; and reaffirm the value America places on the Transatlantic partnership».
Kiev always paints the visits of high standing US officials as diplomatic achievements, but this time it did its best to avoid public attention. None of Ukraine’s official websites, neither the president’s, nor the parliament’s, nor the government’s ever mentioned the fact that the visit ever took place. It was only reported that Stengel will meet Ukraine’s Ministry of Education officials to discuss the special program for Ukrainian government and the Ministry’s employees.
Besides the Under Secretary visited the journalists and staff at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kyiv Bureau where he emphasized that the May 25 election is the issue in focus while the tour was also devoted to anti-Russia efforts. He mentioned the excessive influence of Russian media on Ukrainian (and sometimes Western) public opinion. He never said anything about who he met in Kiev having spent at least two days there. He was supposed to meet the representatives of «civil society», but no names were given. He just tweeted about sharing his experience with journalism students at the University of Kiev Mohyla Academy and some «young leaders of Ukraine».
It’s hardly a mistake to say that the purpose of the visit was to orchestrate the anti-Russian information campaign. The junta was to be introduced to information warfare priorities, something the United States is trying to impose on Europe too. That’s why Brussels was also included into the trip.
Recently the Kiev junta has lost support in Europe. Stengel went to Belgium to rectify the situation. There is little information about the Brussels leg of his European tour. No matter highlighted, all the planned meetings did take place. Was the visit a success? We’ll see it soon. It all depends on the presidential election in Ukraine on May 25. Will the US-supported election take place?
It is an obvious fact that if the election takes place now, then the country will ultimately split. It’s impossible to adopt a reviewed constitution, something all parties to the conflict demand. Kiev goes on imitating the constitutional process without providing details. Just a few days ago it was reported that some «constitutional reform group» submitted amendments to the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters. No matter Russia and the European Union insisted on the transparency of the process, the Kiev government does not disclose the information. Then what national dialogue is the Kiev regime talking about?
The US supports the putschists’ plans to hold the election on May 25. It looks like an attempt to create a small puppet state on Ukrainian soil. Ignored by a large part of potential voters, the winner will become the president of only western and partially central parts of the country with Donbass and south-eastern regions excluded. Talking about its support of the country’s integrity, Washington leads the country to division in order to create a fortified springboard at the Russian border.
The United States will do its best to pour fuel on the burning conflict in the south-east. Regional destabilization exacerbated by civil conflict is what will make the Kiev regime dependent on Washington.