Sunday, May 29, 2011

Political Scientist Michael McFaul Tapped as Ambassador to Russia

A professor of political science at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. McFaul had an obligatory essay back in 1992, widely assigned on graduate syllabi: "A Tale of Two Worlds: Core and Periphery in the Post-Cold War Era." This is quite an accomplishment for him. At New York Times: "Policy Adviser to Become U.S. Ambassador to Russia":
WASHINGTON — President Obama has decided to send the architect of his so-called Russia reset policy to Moscow as the next United States ambassador there, seeking to further bolster an improved relationship as both countries head into a potentially volatile election season.

Mr. Obama plans to nominate Michael McFaul, his top White House adviser on Russia policy, for the post, according to administration officials who declined to be identified before the formal announcement. Mr. Obama told the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, of his choice during a meeting in France last week, officials said.

In selecting Mr. McFaul, Mr. Obama is breaking with recent tradition in Moscow, where all but one of eight American ambassadors over the last 30 years have been career diplomats. But in choosing someone from his own inner circle, Mr. Obama underscored his determination to keep Russian-American relations a centerpiece of his foreign policy after his early push to reset the relationship following years of growing tension.

“Mike, as the guy who really helped the president establish the reset, is the perfect person to go to Moscow to make sure there’s no lapse in momentum in the relationship,” one of the administration officials said ...

Although not a diplomat, Mr. McFaul, 47, is widely considered one of the foremost American voices on Russia, with deep contacts in Moscow. He was a Rhodes scholar who first traveled to the Soviet Union in 1983 and lived there at several points over the next decade. A Stanford University professor and Hoover Institution fellow, he is the author or editor of more than 20 books, establishing a reputation as a vocal advocate of Russian democracy and sharp critic of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin’s crackdown on dissent.

Mr. McFaul’s friendly ties with neoconservatives at times have generated suspicions among his fellow Democrats, but since joining the White House he has also occasionally been at odds with fellow democracy advocates who have been critical of the reset policy.
He's a good guy. Amazing Obama's not sending some ACORN communist to Mosow.