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Michael McFaul, what have YOU done to help improve US-Russia relations?

It was the summer of 2013 when I had my first and only encounter with Michael McFaul, then-US Ambassador to Russia. It was a Saturday afternoon, and a black sedan pulled into the parking lot of the prestigious Anglo-American School, a private learning facility located in the outskirts of Moscow where foreign diplomats and corporate executives enroll their kids.

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A burly driver opened the door and into the scorching sun appeared, in all his excellency, Michael McFaul. After exchanging brief pleasantries, the ambassador strolled to the bleachers on the opposite side of the field to await the beginning of a children’s baseball game; a bit of an anticlimactic turn compared to the grand entry. I remember thinking to myself at the time, as he took a seat by himself across the pitch, ‘There goes the loneliest man in the world.’

Sooner than I would have imagined, my impression of the ambassador and his unenviable situation in Russia was confirmed. Several months later, McFaul abruptly resigned from his government post after just two years on the job, returning to the dusty halls of academia from where he had first emerged to work in the Obama administration.

Despite his retirement, and being banned from Russia, McFaul continues to elicit inflammatory opinions on ‘Putin’s Russia’ on a regular basis. Few of these verbal fusillades prove helpful at injecting some semblance of sanity back into the US-Russia relationship.

This week, for example, McFaul went head-to-head against Steven Seagal, the Hollywood actor and martial arts expert who was just appointed as Russia’s ‘special representative on humanitarian relations with the US.’ Seagal’s work includes, among other duties, “promoting bilateral ties in a wide range of fields including culture, art, science, education, sports, public and youth exchanges.”

Considering the basement-level status of the US-Russia relationship, it would seem that any attempt to forge bonds between the two nuclear powers deserves some applause, even if it’s just a polite golf clap. That logic doesn’t apply if you’re Michael McFaul. Following the appointment, McFaul promptly fired up his Twitter account to pedantically slam Seagal for using British spelling as opposed to American while announcing his new post. Our esteemed academic, however, broke the first rule of social-media sparring by failing to ensure that his own tweet was grammatically sound.

In any event, McFaul went on to predict that Seagal would ultimately fail to “achieve any success in improving Russian-American relations,” not only because the Hollywood actor has “almost no influence” in the United States, but because – wait for it – “he has no experience in diplomacy.”

As the attentive reader will recall, the lack of diplomatic credentials was precisely the main argument against McFaul’s two-year stint as US ambassador. Not only was the Stanford professor the first non-career diplomat to serve as US ambassador to Russia, he arrived in Moscow with a rather odd CV, which included a doctorate dissertation devoted to the “theory of revolution in an international context.” To complicate his stay in Russia even more, one of McFaul’s very first orders of business in Moscow was to meet with members of the Russian opposition – and at the very same time street protests and color revolutions were becoming all the rage. How’s that for diplomacy?

The story gets better. Judging by a recent request put forward by Russia’s general prosecutor’s office, in which it specifically named Michael McFaul as a person of interest in the criminal case against Bill Browder, the British financier who is wanted in Russia for illegally moving $1.5 billion out of the country, it would suggest that the ambassador was not limited to just meeting with political agitators. McFaul, however, has denied any wrongdoing.

This was just the later innings, as it were, of what appears to have been a doubleheader the professor was playing. Before being nominated to the position of US ambassador, Michael McFaul was a senior adviser of the Obama administration, where he went on to become the architect of the much-maligned US-Russia ‘Reset.’

You know a program is doomed from the start when not even the US State Department is able to correctly translate the idea into Russian. For a man who is so concerned with proper spelling, you’d think he would have gotten that one right.

Yet it was much more than just poor translating skills that ensured the demise of the ‘Reset;’ the failure was a result of Washington’s absolute refusal to cooperate with Russia on the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. Any serious discussion on the US-Russia bilateral relationship is incomplete without mentioning this part of the story.

Initially pledging to “shelve” the brainchild weapon system of the Bush administration (just months after McFaul’s ‘Reset’ is announced in March 2009), the Obama administration shifted gears, telling the world it would opt for a scaled-down version of the system instead, all the while holding out the carrot of cooperation to Moscow.

However, unless the Obama administration committed itself to a real partnership with Russia, McFaul’s ‘Reset’ would have to be interpreted for what it arguably was: an elaborate smokescreen to soften up Moscow into believing the White House had honorable intentions. As events strongly indicate, it did not. Fortunately for Russia, it did not fall for the ruse. It got to work developing ways to balance the military scales that were beginning to dangerously tip due to a US-made weapon system on its very doorstep.

That much was underscored by Vladimir Putin’s recent state of the nation address in which he revealed the introduction of advanced weapon systems that make “obsolete” any missile defense shield in the world. Had the Obama administration not taken a cynical and deceptive approach to its ‘diplomatic’ relations with Russia, as demonstrated by McFaul’s fake ‘Reset,’ the world would not be perched on the precipice of disaster as it is today.

These days, the former US ambassador continues to muddy the bilateral waters, dispatching tirades against Russia via Twitter to his 339,000 followers, many of whom share the same jaded views, which has a tendency to occur whenever ideas are cultivated in an echo chamber.

It may go down as the tragedy of our days that the Obama administration, believing Russia was down for the proverbial count, dispatched to Moscow a non-diplomat at the precise moment when diplomacy between the two nuclear powers was more important than ever. In hindsight, it was a dangerous move on the global chessboard that will have ramifications on international politics for many decades to come. Nevertheless, Russia not only survived the challenge, but it looks quite capable of defending its long-term interests.

It is a regrettable conclusion, but I would argue that Michael McFaul and his colleagues in the Obama administration view Russia’s stunning revival, as witnessed on both the military and economic fronts, as a genuine ‘failure of diplomacy’ on their part. Faced with that sort of cynical, duplicitous approach to Russia, the bilateral relationship needs many more sincere ambassadors of peace, like Steven Seagal, working tirelessly on behalf of friendship between the two countries.

Via RT

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Seán Murphyfranz kafkaVera GottliebGuyBassan17 Recent comment authors
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Seán Murphy
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Seán Murphy

So McFoul is now excoriating people for using correct English instead of the mangling and bastardisation of the language used in the USA? How low can you go, when you have no arguments left against your opponents, that you have to critise their – correct- use of language? McFoul seems to belong to the same school of language as John Wayne, when, in his Western movies, he used to tell the Spanish speaking Mexicans to “talk American”.

franz kafka
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franz kafka

Whether he knew it or not (And what can psychopaths be said to really ‘know’ since they are developmentally arrested at the age of 3?) McFail was a CIA hit-man and a stooge for Westerm Talmudo-Satanism.

I feel truly sorry for his students and hope that any University he teaches at has massive insurance against the kind of molestation that a diseased character like McFail is likely to unleash on their charges.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

For that matter, generally speaking, what has the West done to improve relations with Russia. Washington’s puppets roaming the world.

Guy
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Guy

I had never really paid attention to this guy McFaul before.Quite the piece of work ,isn’t he .

Bassan17
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Bassan17

I would think that a successful diplomat needs to exhibit a whole range of qualities, including goodwill, openness, integrity, restraint, levelheadedness, respect of other cultures, bravery, and so forth. In addition to strong moral fiber and diplomacy, experience would seem preferable but probably insufficient by itself. So what do the tone and language in Mr. McFaul’s tweets appear to say about him? At the very least, some lack of restraint…

franz kafka
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franz kafka

George Bernard Shaw once spelled the word ‘GHOTI’ on a blackboard and defied his audience to pronounce it.

The correct answer was ‘fish’.
GH as in laugh.
O as in women.
TI as in motion.

Not one of those oddities was corrected by McFail’s absurd and sorry nation. All the sorrier for having ‘Professor’ McFail in it.

But as I like to point out, a dog in Moscow is a professor in the USA.

Brewerstroupe
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Brewerstroupe

It is indicative of the deep, systemic failure of America’s political culture that this soft-brain was appointed in the first place – obviously for ideological purposes rather than ability or acumen. Even his pathetic attempt at pedantry is a failure – pedants point to traditional, time-honoured usage, not sloppy, bowdlerized versions of the language invented by those whose spelling ability has not progressed beyond the simple phonetically based lessons taught to 6 year olds. McFaul’s declared stance as “a harsh critic of Putin” is the very antithesis of diplomacy as is his support of known fraudster Browder. His refusal to… Read more »

franz kafka
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franz kafka

Because McFool is clearly a simpleton, sort of an American Borish Johnson (they even look alike), this Tweet of the Twit:
“Michael McFaul
@McFaul Hey WH press Corps, can you confirm tomorrow with @PressSec that Putin discussed me personally in his one on one with Trump? Did he suggest that I was part of some alleged money laundering scheme? And did Trump push back on this completely invented , whacko idea?” makes me all the more certain he aided and abetted Bill Browder.

Taras77
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Taras77

The neo cons who control us foreign policy (and prob much of domestic policy) appointed mcfaul. Agreed, with comments below, the fact that he was so obviously ill equipped in any aspect of “diplomacy” is telling as to how unimportant obama and cabal viewed the post in Russia. It also says a lot about obama and his cabal but that is another story. It is a very interesting question as to the extent of mcfaul’s involvement with browder. Methinks there is a hell a lot more there than meets the eye. He was clearly hysterical when putin requested an interview… Read more »

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

I strongly urge reading ‘The Rape of Russia’, an Interview with F. William Engdahl. F. William Engdahl has been writing about energy, finance, geopolitics, and oil since the early 1980s, and his writing about Russia, a country which he travels to frequently, has been simply excellent. It paints a picture of CIA orchestration in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Americans moved in quickly to advise a crash course transforming from Communism to Capitalism. There are many prominent American names involved in the US attempt to completely destroy Russia once and for all Time. Russia came back under Putin, and… Read more »

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