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MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. Former US ambassador Michael McFaul, currently on the sidelines of big politics, has resorted to hardline anti-Russian rhetoric, apparently hoping it may work as a reminder of his existence and help him get back into a future US Administration, should Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton emerge the winner in the forthcoming presidential election. This is the gist of what experts polled by TASS said following McFaul’s interview in the Estonian newspaper Postimees, in which he calls for "curbing" Russia and for NATO’s further eastward expansion.
McFaul accused Russia of "annexation" of Crimea and of undermining the Ukrainian economy. He argues that the West should do its utmost to counteract. He added that Russia wished to scare NATO’s newly-adopted members in Eastern and Central Europe by dangerous flights over the Baltic Sea and threats against Romania for its consent to host the US anti-ballistic missile defense.
Deputy Director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies, Valery Garbuzov, recalls that the idea of containing Russia was not new in the United States. But in the wake of Crimea’s re-unification with Russia and the Ukrainian crisis this call has been made with amazing regularity. McFaul has just repeated it once again to cater to the US ruling circles’ tastes.
"NATO is the main instrument of Russia’s containment, so McFaul has appealed to the intention of the alliance’s leadership to deploy more battalions in East European countries. As NATO has begun a large-scale exercise in Poland with 10,000 US troops taking part, McFaul argues that the alliance should strengthen its positions in the east in view of a threat coming from Russia. Moreover, it should be remembered that Warsaw will host a NATO summit in July, so McFaul is keen to formulate its anti-Russian agenda in advance," Garbuzov told TASS.
Russian State Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov has recalled that McFaul, who held the post of US ambassador to Russia in 2012-2014 under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was one of the champions of "resetting relations" between the two countries. "But the ‘reset attempt’ failed and McFaul got back to his habitual Russophobic stance. He was one of the architects of NATO’s eastward expansion and an ideologist behind the government coup in Ukraine. He published quite a few articles on that theme to provide a number of reasons why the United States was so much interested in the change of power in Ukraine," Nikonov said.
For his part, Garbuzov believes that the idea of relations reset had undergone revision in the United States long before the Ukrainian events. Washington began to describe that idea as a one-way street because it decided that Russia needed the reformatting of relations more than the United States. "The US establishment now claims that Russia and Putin sensed the weaknesses of the US president and decided to build up their presence in the post-Soviet space. Hence the transition to the policy of Russia’s containment McFaul is now pressing for," Garbuzov said.
"Michal McFaul holds no official posts. He is just a professor at Stanford University and is absent from the Democratic Party’s most influential select few. With a view to the presidential election in the United States due in November McFaul may have decided time was ripe for coming out with some sort of a reminder in attempt, should Hillary Clinton win the election, to get back into big politics and get a diplomatic appointment," Nikonov told TASS.
Garbuzov, too, does not rule out that McFaul was interviewed by the Estonian newspaper as a private person, but he formulated his opinion in line with the current US foreign policy vector, hoping to get into the new team after the presidential election.