Michael McFaul and the future of the “reset”

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Casper, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Casper
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    Casper Member

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    Special Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director of Russian and Eurasian Affairs Michael McFaul has been appointed United States Ambassador to Russia. This is an extraordinary event in Russian-U.S. relations and in U.S. foreign policy in general. After Robert Strauss, McFaul will be only the second U.S. ambassador to Russia who is not a career diplomat. Strauss was U.S. ambassador first to the U.S.S.R. and then to Russia in 1991-1992, some of the most pivotal years in the history of this country. That much is symbolic in itself. President George H.W. Bush appointed Strauss to the position at a time that was decisive for our bilateral relations, for the United States, and for the rest of the world. The Soviet Union was still an influential superpower, and Strauss, a seasoned politician and businessman, was a better choice than a career diplomat used to strict subordination and waiting for State Department instructions on every matter of course. Moreover, he was a politician from the rival party, a prominent Democrat and an influential figure in the Carter administration, but also the kind of man who could facilitate Russia’s democratic transformation at a turning point in its history. At that moment, Strauss was the man for the job.

    Today, McFaul is primarily thought of as the theoretical and practical advocate of the “reset,” a man whose name is largely associated with the high dynamism of recent Russian-American cooperation and the general positive spirit of their bilateral ties. In this context, his potential nomination as U.S. ambassador to Russia will symbolize the continued effort of the Obama administration to pursue the “reset” and further develop these relations during a second term. Obama is likely to be reelected despite economic difficulties in the United States, if only because, first and foremost, the Republicans have been unable to find a competitive candidate due to the party’s strong general drift to the right.

    Like Strauss twenty years ago, McFaul will become an ambassador to Russia at a time when both the country and its relations with the U.S. are at a crossroads. The presidential elections in Russia will take place in March 2012, but it is already obvious that the two main claimants – Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin – have different views on relations with the United States and, most likely, on domestic development as well.

    Full version of this article was originally published on valdaiclub.com
     
  2. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    What in your opinion, ought the relationship between Russia and the USA look like?

    And which Russian hopeful, in your opinion, is most likely to support that relationship?
     

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