Writing on Foreign Policy, Russia scholar Leon Aron takes Russia to task for brutally “tormenting” the new American Ambassador, Michael McFaul.
Even though Aron is wrong to fail to acknowledge he has not one but two fatal biases when writing about McFaul (he admits McFaul is a personal friend but doesn’t stop to wonder whether he can write objectively about him, and he himself is an academic like McFaul and therefore has a vested interest in arguing that academics can be successful diplomats), and even though Aron’s piece is utterly one-sided (it doesn’t contain a single word of criticism of McFaul’s policy or of the Obama administration where Russia is concerned), the article still contains an important truth about McFaul and Russia.
McFaul is one of the best friends the Kremlin ever had. He is aggressively seeking to rationalize the “reset” policy he helped to engineer, dealing with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as if he were just another world leader and not a proud KGB spy bent on American destruction. He is faithfully carrying out the partisan agenda of his lord and master Barack Obama, whose goal is to make Americans believe he has turned Russia from a dangerous enemy into a friend and thereby win votes in November. Yet Russians can’t see this. Ruled by a proud KGB spy and seething with contempt for America and her values, Russians simply can’t help but view every move McFaul makes through their crazy, paranoid lenses, and they can’t help attacking anything they perceive as different. McFaul holds out a hand of friendship, and the Russians bite it off.
It’s just too bad that, undoubtedly because of his biases, Aron doesn’t follow this truth to where it should lead him: Obama and McFaul have promised us over and over again, using their promises to justify their policy, that Russia would not act this way. They’ve promised us that Russia doesn’t hate and want to destroy us, that Russia is a reasonable country that, if treated reasonable, can be our partner.
But the Kremlin’s treatment of McFaul shows this is a lie. Russians hate Americans and their values, and any other view of Russia is just wishful thinking, the kind that Neville Chamberlain liked to engage in. Just as Obama and McFaul lied to us when they told us Dmitri Medvedev was a real political force in Russia, rather than a sham figurehead, they are lying to us when they tell us Russia can be trusted, can be brought around by their “reset.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The reset policy is only seen by the Kremlin as a sign of weakness and an invitation to exploitation.
McFaul’s approach to Russia has proven an absolute failure. Russia has opposed American policy throughout the Arab world despite America’s unilateral withdrawal of missile defense in Eastern Europe. Medvedev has admitted his presidency was sham, and Putin has rolled back to power as president for life on Obama’s watch. Putin’s blitzkrieg on American values within Russia has continued unabated while Obama and McFaul turn a blind eye, and America has lost he moral high ground it used to hold where such issues are concerned.