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Reset: U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul Announces Resignation

His appeasement policy led to Putin's rekindling of the USSR spirit.

by
Kim Zigfeld

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February 4, 2014 - 10:06 am
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In November of 2013, Russian media reported that U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul would soon resign; McFaul emphatically denied he was going anywhere. Yet today, he announced his resignation. Izvestia and Gazeta.ru reported the news back in November. Igor Morozov, first deputy of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, commented:

During his tenure as ambassador he has achieved nothing, and the relationship between the countries has become much more complex: the Magnitsky List, the Dima Yakovlev Law, Georgia, North Korea, Iran, Syria. There have been many fundamental divergences of opinion. His resignation is an objective judgment by the American side; Russia requires a professional diplomat.

The resignation announcement by McFaul, posted in Russian and English on his blog, came as quite a shock given that McFaul had responded to the Russian reports in November with a tweet firmly proclaiming: “I’m staying put”; he told Russian news outlets the same.

McFaul cannot leave office a moment too soon. (I covered his wrongheaded advice to Obama when he was in the White House, and called for him to be rejected by the U.S. Senate when nominated to be ambassador. I also reported on his epic policy failures once given the appointment.)

McFaul is the chief architect of Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, a policy that diagnosed Vladimir Putin not as a dangerous foe of the U.S. but as a misunderstood statesman who had been alienated by Republican policies inspired by Ronald Reagan. In practice, “reset” was McFaul’s euphemism for appeasement. The results of this policy were completely predictable: sensing weakness, Putin attacked.

Today, Russia is increasing its military expenditures more than any country in the world as a percentage of its spending, and is expanding its nuclear arsenal while blatantly violating its treaty commitments. It is sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East in the hopes of causing fossil fuel prices to skyrocket. It is doing all it can to recreate the Soviet empire, particularly by seeking to destabilize and overpower Ukraine and Georgia.

This is the legacy of Michael McFaul: as he leaves office, America, its values, and allies are weaker as they relate to Russia, whereas Putin and his anti-American allies are stronger.

I had a telling exchange with McFaul on Twitter not long ago. McFaul tweeted: “More Americans should know about history of Leningrad blockade.” I asked McFaul whether he also sought to teach Russians about American heroics during World War II, since they are at least as ignorant on the topic as Americans are about the blockade.

McFaul’s response: “Yes, whenever I get the chance, especially Lend-Lease, which is not well known here.”

McFaul’s response indicated that he was perpetuating stereotypes about Americans, namely that they didn’t perish on the battlefield like Russians, but only contributed money and equipment. I asked him when he last discussed American casualties to an audience of Russians; he did not respond.

Soon after McFaul’s comments about Leningrad, the last remaining significant independent TV broadcaster in Russia — called “Rain” (“Dozhd” in Russian) — conducted a poll asking readers whether Russia should have surrendered Leningrad the way the French surrendered Paris, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives. The Kremlin pounced, using the poll as an excuse to shut down the station as it has shut down every other significant critical voice across the country.

Dozhd only reached a small segment of the Russian population, but even that was much too much freedom of information for the Kremlin, particularly with the Sochi Olympics right around the corner. As one Russian reporter put it: “You may have a storm, a twister, and even a 9-Richter-scale earthquake; still, we have to write that all skies are clear over Sochi.”

Top Rated Comments   
That's an adolescent nyah! nyah! nyah! comment.

Russia is a country based upon the survival of the thug-ist. Look at their history, violence, violence, violence. Crowns made no difference. The Bolsheviks came along and stomped on the Romanov's crown, leveling just about everything down as far as possible, but things haven't changed much since.

Gorbachev broke this sequence, remember that picture of him with his hand on Reagan's casket and his head bowed? I thought not.....selective, eh?

Naturally, Putin's opportunistic ascent was on bloody shoulders. How else?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think another ambassador would have made any difference.
Putin is Putin, and Obama is...a disaster.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
In an earlier age, you'd be making excuses for Stalin's bloody regime. Putin, is not benevolent and is not benign. He's a corrupt, power hungry tyrant. And if he's not a thug, he certainly behaves like one.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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my friend's ex-wife makes $85 /hr on the computer . She has been without a job for eight months but last month her pay was $16032 just working on the computer for a few hours. have a peek here.......http://www.work71.com
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
> McFaul is the chief architect of Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia

What a childish outlook on life you have, Kim. Thinking of McFaul as the "chief architect" in Obama's Russia policy is like viewing Neil Armstrong as "the head scientist in charge of NASA".
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be great if you studied the facts before pontificating in an extremely misleading manner. Michael McFaul advised Obama on Russia even before Obama became president, and Obama relied entirely upon his advice in crafting his Russia policy. When things started to go bad in Russia, Obama tapped McFaul to actually live in Russia in hopes of implementing the "reset" policy more effectively. Before meeting McFaul, Obama knew almost nothing about Russia. McFaul was the sole architect of the "reset" policy and was personally responsible for implementing it.

You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts, and your childish, gratuitous personal insults show that you are not an individual who can be taken seriously.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
McFaul’s response: “Yes, whenever I get the chance, especially Lend-Lease, which is not well known here.”

I distinctly remember Solzhenitsyn acknowledging Lend-Lease, especially the Ford trucks that they got via Lend-Lease, as having an important role in the Soviet war effort. Solzhenitsyn served in the Red Army as an artillery officer and knew whereof he spoke. I have to believe that any of the surviving veterans would have seen the Ford logos on the trucks that took them to the front lines (or back for medical care or redeployment). It's very hard to imagine Lend-Lease being unknown to the generation that fought the war.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder why this is happening just before the Olympics? Odd timing.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
hopefully he will defect to the USSR as did Snowden
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
1. There is no USSR.

2. Our founders would be thanking Snowdwn for blowing the whistle on the unlawful activities of our government.



10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

A small point perhaps, but back in the '70s, I spent sometime in Murmansk and there was a monument (with a small artillery piece on top) paying respect to the Americans who died in those convoys that resupplied the Russians.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment

FWIIW, McFaul is nothing like "the chief architect of Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia" -he's simply a particularly incompetent attempt at a colonial ambassador. He couldn't even get away with bribing Putin's opposition without being caught on camera doing it. His incompetence would be on the order of ... the Russian ambassador being caught on CBS news bribing Ted Cruz.

Our resident slavering slavophobe, ziggy would hate any Russia not led by a kleptocratic puppet, she's not real long on facts.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Russians are more than a bit irrational when it comes to the memory of the Great Patriotic War. Consider an America which no longer celebrates its national holidays because the entire basis of the United States turned out to be a fraud. That's what Russia faced after the Communists left. The only damn thing that they did right during the 20th Century was to beat the Nazis. That is why their most important holiday in the post-Communist era has become VE Day.

Obviously it is more complicated than that. Molotov-Ribbentrop made them accessories to the crime that is WWII before the fact. Soviet tactics placed human life at the bottom of any list of values. None the less, they did endure horrific casualties however "earned" and to try to talk them into admitting that the Western Allies also bled would be futile.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think another ambassador would have made any difference.
Putin is Putin, and Obama is...a disaster.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who is a greater threat to America...Putin or Obama? Draw your own conclusions.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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