Deputy Director for Research at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. Member of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Previous positions: International correspondent for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2002-2004); Coordinator of the Russia-U.S. program of the Institute of Foreign and Defense Policy (2003-2004).
Research interests: Regulation and manageability in the international system and in U.S. foreign policy, U.S. global strategy, Russian-U.S. relations; problems of European and Atlantic security, Russia’s foreign policy, relations between Russia and the European Union.
Selected Publications: Co-authored over 150 analytical papers for government agencies concerning the internal development of the European Union and relations between Russia and the European Union; Main contributor of monthly analytical reviews on Russia-EU relations. Co-authored a number of books, including: “Where and How Russia Can Benefit from the Global Economic Crisis”(Moscow, GU-VShE, 2009), “Russia and the World: A New Era” (Moscow, 2008), “Global Politics” (Moscow, 2008),“The World Around Russia: 2017” (Moscow, 2007), “An Asian Polygon”(Moscow, 2007).
In several years from now the US-Russia relations might find themselves in a situation where the positive cooperative agenda will shrink or marginalize, while the negative one will grow both in size and importance, and Russia could again color the US as a major threat to its military and political security.
Criticism by Congress of Russia on human rights issues will increase. This dependence is not very important for it (even the House Democrats almost unanimously supported the bill banning the acquisition of Russian helicopters by the Pentagon, although the White House is resolutely against the ban, which points to objective U.S. interests in such transactions). Congress and the Republicans in particular will invariably turn up the heat as the November elections draw closer.
With all its domestic political liberalism and abundance of foreign policy liberals, the Obama administration is pursuing the most realistic and least ideology-driven foreign policy in U.S. history since the end of the Cold War. It was Washington's refusal to pursue an overly ideological foreign policy that has made the reset policy between the U.S. and Russia possible.
No fundamental changes in the Russian-American dialogue on human rights have occurred since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidential office in Russia. Putin's comeback has not changed the dominant realistic approach to the foreign policy pursued by the Obama administration, which still seeks not to make relations with Russia dependent on its democratization.
One hopes that the wise decision of Moscow and Washington to prevent the ballistic missile defense (BMD) issue from hindering the improvement of their relations will ultimately help them to see the unimportance of their BMD deadlock and to focus instead on the issues that really matter. If they do, they will not have to cancel any more summits in the future.
While developing their counter-terrorist cooperation, Russia and the United States should remember that, like in the 2000s, it will not be sufficient to ensure a stable strategic partnership. Failure to overcome the philosophy of mutual deterrence will mean that Russia and the United States are unable to reach a level of cooperation where backsliding is no longer possible.
McFaul’s appointment shows that U.S. policy on Russia will retain the same high level of priority for Obama in 2013-2016 that it did during his first term. As the president’s special assistant, McFaul has already fulfilled his mission by introducing the “reset.”