MCFAUL SPEAKS ON AMERICA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH PUTIN'S RUSSIA
FSI director Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, testified in front of the House Foreign Relations Committee on June 14, 2016. Invited to provide his perspective on how the U.S. should move forward diplomatically with Putin's Russia, McFaul made a forceful case for deliberate and strategic engagement with the Russian government, its citizens, and Ukraine. "The best way to support reform, and those who care about democracy and markets in Russia, is to have Ukraine succeed," he said.
Watch the full hearing below, with McFaul's remarks at the 23-minute and 1-hour marks:
Prof. McFaul also provided written testimony to the Committee (available here). In it, he emphasizes the domestic factors that influence Russian foreign policy, particularly Putin's internal political concerns and the situation with Ukraine and Crimea. U.S. foreign policy does not need a "correction," in this case, he writes. Instead, he argues, we should hold fast to President Obama's current policy of supporting the current international order and refusing to condone Russia's territorial expansions.
In all the remarks, Prof. McFaul was careful to separate the policies of the Kremlin from the needs of the Russian people. "Many Russians in the government, business, and society quietly believe that Putin’s current course of confrontation with the West does not serve Russia’s long-term economic and strategic interests," he writes in the conclusion of his testimony. "The United States and our European allies should increase efforts to engage directly with the Russian people, including students through exchanges and scholarships, peer-to-peer dialogue with non-government organizations, and allowing Russian companies not tied to the state to continue to work with Western partners."