US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has announced today that he will step down from his post in Moscow and will leave the Obama Administration entirely. He stated that he wants to spend more time with his family.
McFaul leaves behind a legacy of damaged US/Russia relations due in no small part to his blundering, undiplomatic diplomacy. The week of his arrival in Moscow, as an opposition unable to win at the ballot box had taken to the street in attempt to change the electoral result, McFaul met extensively with opposition leaders, raising suspicions that he had been sent to help foment a "color revolution" in Russia.
There is much suspicion over the motives of US foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, and feverish conspiracy theories can arise of those suspicions and even spiral out of the realm of the possible.
However, when the author of "Russia's Unfinished Revolution" appears on the scene just as revolution seems to be on the minds of street protesters, Russians can be forgiven for excessive caution. Was he there to finish that revolution, people understandably wondered.
Indeed, McFaul's meetings that first week included US government-funded NGOs who were clearly identified with the political opposition in Russia that had taken to the streets. What would Washington have done in such a situation, had protesters in the streets seeking to change the result of an election been openly encouraged by the representative of a foreign government?
His desire for regime change in Russia was no secret. Earlier he had written that “even while working closely with Putin on matters of mutual interest, Western leaders must recommit to the objective of creating the conditions for a democratic leader to emerge in the long term.”
He was an expert on color revolutions and regime change, having served as an official or board member of the chief US-government funded regime change organizations. As Pat Buchanan wrote at the time McFaul assumed his post:
In 1992, McFaul was the representative in Russia of the National Democratic Institute, a U.S. government-funded agency whose mission is to promote democracy abroad.McFaul's tenure as ambassador has been a failure. In foreign policy, however, failure and mistakes are usually "punished" with a promotion. McFaul for Secretary of State under President Hillary Clinton, anyone?
The NDI has been tied to color-coded or Orange revolutions such as those that dethroned regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Lebanon. The project miscarried in Belarus.
The NDI is one of several agencies, dating to the 1980s, that were set up to subvert communist regimes. With the end of the Cold War, however, these agencies were not decommissioned, but recommissioned to serve as something of an American Comintern.
Where the old Comintern of Lenin sought to instigate communist revolutions across the West and its empires, post-Cold War America decided to promote democratic revolutions to remake the world in the image of late 20th century America.
UPDATE: Senator McCain is outraged that the Russian government did not take kindly to Ambassador McFaul's meddling in Russian affairs! He encourages the US president to replace McFaul with an even stronger meddler:
I have been deeply disturbed by the campaign of harassment the Russian government initiated and supported against Ambassador McFaul throughout his admirable service in Moscow... I urge the Administration to make clear that similar treatment of any of our diplomats will not be tolerated and condemn such actions in the strongest terms.Perhaps we can send McCain?