Hillary Clinton finally resolved to part ways with her spokesman, P.J. Crowley, whose head was demanded by the Pentagon ever since he took the liberty of criticizing the brutal treatment inflicted on Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged Wikileaks source.

The Secretary of State decided to divide his functions in two: the slot of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs will go to Mike Hammer, while Victoria Nuland (photo), as State Department spokesperson, will conduct the daily briefings and be the point person on dealing with the press.

It marks Nuland’s grand return to center stage. From Deputy Permanent Representative (2000-03), she was promoted to US Ambassador to NATO (2005-08). There she was instrumental in NATO’s invocation of Article 5 of its charter – "an attack on one ally is an attack on all" – in support of the United States after September 11, 2001.

She served as Vice-President Cheney’s Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from 2003 to 2005. Fond of oxymorons, she had elaborated an ideology according to which war would be conducive to the democratization of the Greater Middle East. After Afghanistan and Iraq, she had Lebanon and Syria in her sights.

Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, political scientist and Washington Post columnist. Co-founder of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Kagan is a red-hot neoconservative.

In addition, Ms Nuland is the sister-in-law of military historian Frederick Kagan. Also a member of PNAC, Frederick Kagan was one of the chief advocates of the war in Iraq. As such, he was hostile to the Baker-Hamilton Commission (which included Leon Panetta, recently named Secretary of Defense). He was appointed by General Petraeus (currently CIA boss) as his adviser in the struggle against corruption in Afghanistan.

Victoria Nuland’s appointment as Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson comes at a time when the State Department is seeking a new rhetoric, not to justify the war this time around but the counter-revolution.