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Michael McFaul, the Russia specialist on the National Security Council, was a top political adviser to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. He also is widely credited with the so-called “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations, which some conservatives fear signals a softer approach to Moscow on issues ranging from national security to human rights.
“McFaul is a young man, very close to Obama and a devoted support of his policy,” Alexander Konovalovof Moscow's Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis told Rianovosti, an official Russian news agency.
“Since McFaul is a person from the presidential staff, his appointment would show that Washington pays special attention to Russian politics.”
Rianovosti commentator Dmitry Babichadded that Mr. McFaul, 47, “is not a career diplomat, but a former Stanford University political science professor” and expert on Russia. He added that Mr. McFaul is noted for proposing “creative solutions” to U.S.-Russia problems.
“Creative solutions are what U.S.-Russian relations have lacked over the past 10 or 15 years,” Mr. Babich wrote. “If the new U.S. ambassador offers them, his mission to Moscow will be an undeniable success.”
Human rights activist Oleg Kozlovskycriticized Mr. McFaul for adopting the approach of “many Realpolitik-infected diplomats, who call on the West to turn a blind eye on Russia slipping down to dictatorship.”
Asked about Mr. Obama’s views on human rights there, Mr. McFaul was quoted as saying, “We came to a conclusion that we need a reset in this respect, too, and we should give up the old approach that had been troubling the Russian-American partnership.”
SAY IT IN SWAHILI
Another of President Obama’s political appointees is making news in Kenya, where retired Air ForceMaj. Gen.Scott Gration is impressing local reporters as the new U.S. ambassador to the key East African nation.
“I love Kenya and … I’m happy to be back in a country I consider my second home,” he told the Standard newspaper in Nairobi.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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