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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Michael McFaul: PRO was conceived as a threat factor

Michael McFaul told what would be the U.S. reaction to the installation of Russian missiles in Cuba

22 Feb 2012, 16:33

Text: RT

Printable version

“We do not Finance opposition parties. We don’t pay the leaders of the opposition. We also do not give money to Pro-government organizations, as well as not paid and the election campaign of Putin,” – said U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. In addition, he explained why the us missile defense system does not threaten Russia and why America is “exporting democracy”.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul began his duties early in the year. In that short time he managed to get into the media spotlight in connection with the invitation to the Embassy immediately after the arrival in Moscow of representatives of the opposition and the party “Fair Russia”. In an interview with Russia Today TV channel McFaul explained the purpose of the visit, and also spoke about the prospects of Russian-American talks on missile defence (NMD) and Washington’s position regarding the situation in Syria.

– In addition to meetings with government officials, on the day after arrival in Russia you met with opposition leaders. You are surely aware that not send the best signal.

– As for meetings with the opposition, that is our policy. We have a rule that requires to develop a dialogue in two directions. This rule is formalized in the national security Strategy of the United States, published in 2010. The idea is very simple. The President (Obama) supports the development of dialogue with Russia. He is opposed to conduct against Russia a policy of containment. He is opposed to tarnish Russia. He believes that if the dialogue between our countries will grow, it will contribute to our national interests and security, and the economy.

Need to expand the dialogue. The President maintains an active dialogue with President Medvedev. Was created bilateral presidential Commission, which aims to develop Russian-American relations. This is one aspect of our strategy. Another aspect of the strategy is to establish contacts between public servants and public figures and between American NGOs and Russian NGOs. We do it all the time.

When I first came to Russia as an official (I believe it was in February 2009), the first day we along with William burns met with officials and the second with public figures. By the way, among them were not only politicians, but also businessmen, as a society – is not only politics.

When I came to Russia, President Obama, he is also the first day he met with President Medvedev and other officials. And the next morning, he at first was very interesting Breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Putin, and the rest of the day was devoted to meetings with public figures: businessmen, civil society representatives, students, and then in the evening, he had a meeting with Gennady Zyuganov, Boris Nemtsov and other people. So our policy has not changed. Changed reaction to it. So these people need to ask why they are so nervous.

Of course, you need to meet with the leaders of the opposition. But it was not from your side recklessly to meet them the next day after his arrival? I know that this does not upset your relationship with the Russian authorities – it does not bother them. Outraged ordinary Russians.

– Well, let’s talk about ordinary Russians. Let’s not to generalize and not think that we so well imagine what ordinary Russians think. As far as I know, during the Obama presidency the attitude of ordinary Russians toward America have improved significantly. Last year, as I recall, 60% of Russians answered that relate to America more positively. Yes, now due to some reasons is anti-American campaign.

– Now the election.

– Yes. But personally, I find it strange that to win elections you need to blame America. If it was 30 or 40 years ago, it would be more understandable. But over the past three years and the President of Russia, Prime Minister, and Igor Shuvalov and Sergei Ivanov – almost all participate in efforts to establish a fundamentally new relationship with my country. And I think this work is quite successful. So I don’t understand why you need to get elected to depart from this work.

For my part, I can only say that our position remains unchanged. We are pursuing a policy of “reset”. We remain faithful to it. We’re proud of her. We will not abandon her. By the way, let me remind you that in our country too, soon the elections. But we are not going to abandon what, from our point of view, is to the benefit of the American people, namely from good, mutually beneficial relations with Russia, based on mutual respect. We believe such relationships are good for the American people, and not evil.

– Do you have to prove to the Russian authorities that the US state Department does not support and does not Finance the protest movement in Russia?

– I think that Russian government officials with them through our rational, sober and realistic conversations about the goals and activities of the Obama administration know exactly what we’re doing here and what do not do. What is happening in the press is a separate point, however, I have complete understanding with the Russian leadership in my daily work, aimed at identifying win-win outcomes for US and for Russia.

– In one of interview to the Russian media you said that Washington did support the “color revolution”, but it happened under the previous President remained in the past. Does the Obama administration no longer sponsors of the opposition group in any country in the world?

– We provide financial assistance to public organizations, independent centers that contribute to the spread of universal values such as democracy, human rights, legal state. We do this around the world, including in Russia. We are proud of it, it’s in our blood. We consistently adhere to this position.

President Obama has repeatedly voiced her during his speeches, including at a meeting of the UN General Assembly last year. He very clearly explained the reasons and goals of such a policy. We do it in Russia. We do not Finance opposition parties. We don’t pay the leaders of the opposition. We also do not give money to Pro-government organizations, as well as not paid and the campaign Putin. We do not interfere in politics, in the election process. The citizens themselves make their choice. But the Russian leadership itself has stated that the elections must be free and fair, and we support and where possible contribute to this.

– And how is such a thing as “exporting democracy”? You have not refused?

– Our goal is to contribute to the spread of democratic ideas, and being a teacher, I would characterize this process as educational. Thanks to the exchange programs come to us much Russian, who can look at the elections in America. I was personally involved in this 20 years ago. In 1992, we brought a large group of Russians in Los Angeles, and just then there was a presidential election, won by bill Clinton.

As an educator and political figure I can not imagine that someone could oppose such a teaching. For example, if I read a course of lectures on political philosophy at Stanford, would be the height of absurdity, if I forced students to read books only by American authors. It’s just ridiculous. As well as allow Russian to read Russian publications. This is absurd.

Therefore, our goal is to create a variety of platforms, provide new opportunities, immersion in a different environment, to let people know something new for myself, I learned about Silicon valley, entrepreneurship, innovation, about democracy and human rights. But, by the way, America also has a lot to learn. One day I was present in the oval office when the conversation between the US President and one social activist from Russia.

In the presence of foreign guests from around the world that collapsed at President Obama with criticism. He drew the President’s attention to the events in America, where, in his opinion, violated human rights. Personally, I’m with him could not agree; do not know, agreed the President, but the fact that criticism speaks volumes. As it should be. This means that in our relations all right, and it’s not bad. And if we manage to create favorable conditions for such a dialogue, for introducing people to new ideas and good practices from other countries, it benefits both us and partners around the world.

– In bilateral relations the most controversial issue is ABOUT. What are the prospects here? After all, you may ask, what kind of “reset” is it? This is the main problem, it is still not resolved and we still don’t know how to solve it.

– Let’s not forget that some three years ago, in the fall of 2008, the Russian-American relations were in extremely poor condition. People sometimes forget how far we have since moved. We have been working on a number of issues and achieved great results. The most difficult problems, by definition, remain not yet resolved. Some issues we managed to solve, it now remains the most difficult, including a discussion ABOUT. I am optimistic about the prospects of the decision of a question ABOUT. Let’s not forget that this topic for decades has been the subject of direct confrontation between our countries. And let us speak plainly: the confrontation was intentional. Previous US administrations thought ABOUT it as a threat factor and as the subject of the dispute.

The current administration is another approach. We analyzed this issue and Russian criticism of past practice and are looking for ways of cooperation on missile defense with the Russian side. This is a fundamentally new approach. If we succeed or not, is a separate issue – I will say more later, but our approach is to identify common threats and, therefore, opportunities for cooperation that would benefit the security of both Russia and USA, and our allies and partners.

Since the beginning of the talks was held just a year. In my opinion, on the part of our critics is naive to demand immediate resolution of problems ABOUT. We’re working on it just a year after 30-40 years of confrontation. We are still at the beginning. We need to demonstrate that the missile defense poses no threat to Russia. This is what we have already said a hundred times: the President of the United States has repeatedly stated that the missile defense is not intended to undermine strategic stability between the US and Russia.

We are not interested in the arms race. We commend the Russian military-industrial complex and Russia’s capabilities. We realize that such a competition is a losing strategy and we don’t have the money for it. So we just have to continue our cooperation.

– Imagine that Russia would be seen as a threat in Latin America and has placed its missiles in, say, Puerto Rico. And then assured the Americans that the missiles are not directed against the United States and threaten their national security, without giving any legal guarantees. How would he take it in America? I think it’s a fair question.

– It is a question of region is not policy, and technology. That’s what really matters. I understand that your question is hypothetical. If missiles were deployed… where you say in Puerto Rico?

– Yes. Or in Mexico.

Cuba is probably the most suitable option. So, significant in this case, the question is: how fast is able to move specific interceptors? Are they able to shoot down an enemy rocket on an upward trajectory or not? That would depend, whether we perceive the interceptor as a threat.

Currently in Russia there is a significantly distorted understanding of this issue. I do not blame anyone – we just need to continue the dialogue. Anyway, it argued that the missile defense system designed to shoot down missiles. This is not so. They are designed to shoot down warheads. After the rocket reaches the top point and begins to decline, the interceptor strikes her now as the warhead, not the missile.

Therefore, to protect the U.S. from Intercontinental ballistic missiles from Russia and in General from this part of the world of interceptors should be placed – do you know where? In Alaska! Not where we post items ABOUT. By the way, just so you know, in Alaska such means we also have – launch ground-based interceptors. This is what serves to protect US. So it’s all a question of technique.

The interceptor, located in Europe, could not shoot down Russian Intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s a question of technique. They just can’t do it. I see that you didn’t know that. Perhaps, the Russian people are also not aware of. That is why we need to negotiate and achieve a little more transparency on both sides about what we do or don’t do. It is a matter of negotiations. I myself in all of them participated, and since I know the technical side of the process, I’m sure, when we eventually manage to agree on what can Russia and what can the United States, we can find a mutually acceptable solution.

– And still why the United States does not agree to give Russia legal guarantees on the missile defense system?

– For questions ABOUT the we negotiate with the expectation that their results were beneficial for both Russia and the United States. The obsession with legal safeguards, it seems to us unreasonable. We with Russia have differences of opinion. We definitely announced that it will announce its intentions on missile defense. We also clearly stated that there will be greater transparency.

I wouldn’t want to get ahead of ourselves and pre-empt the negotiations, but personally when I am at the negotiating table, I see options for mutually acceptable solutions. I hear quite realistic proposals from both the Russian and the American side. I can’t promise that the issue will be resolved in the course of this year. Probably this year will not work: we have too many other issues.

However, we still have time to address this question, since the “threats” mentioned by the Russian side, will be relevant even just a few decades. So we have time to rationally discuss and resolve the situation with Russian partners. We must do this so that both the USA and Russia remained in the win. That is the principled approach of President Obama to any issue in the framework of the Russian-American “reset.”

His concept is that if the results of any decision America will win two points, and Russia, these same two points will lose, Russia still does not accept this option. Agreement is possible only if it will bring the two points and the United States, and Russia. On missile defense we are for such a decision is not reached – while the game is zero-sum: Russia loses two points, and the U.S. and NATO are gaining them.

However, I see the prospects of a solution in which both sides get equal benefits, not even two, but ten points each. An important point is that, if our negotiations succeed, we will be able to open a new Chapter in our bilateral cooperation. However, it is a complex problem with a long negative history and many complicating factors. So do not panic due to the fact that we failed to reach agreement over a year of negotiation: in business deal worth 10 million dollars often requires three to four years of negotiations. But there is at stake is only money, and we have such a large and complex issue. We just need to continue to work.

In other words, you are not expecting any breakthrough in this direction during a summit “big eight” and NATO, which will be held in Chicago in may next year, whoever becomes by the time the President of Russia?

– We don’t need breakthroughs, we need a progressive development. We are facing complex issues, burdened by mutual misunderstanding and misconceptions. So here as such a breakthrough is hardly appropriate. Most importantly, we don’t want this issue hung over the entire complex of Russian-American relations, because we face many far more important and urgent from our point of view issues. But to avoid this, we must make clear progress in our negotiations on missile defense, and it is the objective of the efforts of our negotiators.

– What, in your opinion, will the U.S. position on Syria by may of this year?

– We believe that the longer will remain in power, President Assad, the more Syria violence and bloodshed. Thus, the sooner we will be able to break the deadlock through negotiation, the better. I can’t predict the future, but I know that inaction is not a solution.

– Any agreement on Syria should ideally reach US and Russia?

– We already very clearly outlined its position: we support the initiative of the League of Arab States. We hope that Russia eventually recognized the wisdom and expediency of the suggestions contained therein, as well as related or adapted proposals that are put forward at the present time.

– In your opinion, how has Russia changed over the past 20 years? And have you changed at all? Someone thinks that Russia did, in fact, has not changed over the years.

– No, for the last 20 years, Russia has changed incredibly. And, perhaps, the most striking difference is this: when I was in Russia in 1983, letters from America were here for a month and a half. At the time I was a girl.

– In America?

– Yes, now she’s my wife. In 1985, she studied in Italy. So, in order to call her on the phone, I literally had to stand in line for three hours, and even to pay for six minutes of conversation $ 72 – I still clearly remember the whole process. People then were difficult to maintain contact with each other. Now all this has changed dramatically, and mostly for the better, although, of course, there are some negative points. But there is integration of the Russian business community, society and even the state – remember, as 25 years ago Russia was not included either in the “big eight” nor in the “big twenty”.

Today we are actively cooperating with Russia and coordinate our activities through partnerships on a variety of issues for the effective functioning of the global economy. Just a few days ago in Russia there were some representatives of the US in this regard. It also never gets the headlines, but it turns out that Russia and the United States have a common interest in preventing a global economic collapse. And we now employ for these purposes is very delicate and advanced methods of cooperation. In this respect, everything has changed radically.

And ultimately, this integration is important for America. After all, while I only talked about the Russian side, but because America has now become more open towards Russia – ordinary Russians, the ideas of Russia, the Russian athletes. These relationships become the norm, in contrast to the realities of thirty years ago, when the performance of some of the Soviet sports team against the U.S. was perceived as some kind of exotic show with elements of global confrontation: the Soviet Union against the United States, the cold war. Today, if Ovechkin scores a goal that benefits from this Washington team. There was a huge jump in people’s minds.

– When do you think the Russians will get the opportunity to visit the U.S. without a visa?

– As you know, the Obama administration has made great efforts to conclude a new visa agreement with Russia. The process took a lot of effort from both sides: Russian and American officials had to work hard to keep our country came to the current regime – issuance of multiple-entry visas for a period of three years. We hope that one day the wish of the Russians will become a reality. We believe that enabling people to move freely is a good thing.

We believe that it is useful for business relations and to promote our views. And also in terms of the employment of Russians in America. In the “Silicon valley” where I live, according to various estimates, work up to 40 thousand Russians. And they are not immigrants, but citizens of Russia is beneficial for the us economy. After working with us, they return home and thus benefit the Russian economy. So I can’t accurately predict the execution time of this feedback, but I can say that this is one of the most promising goals for the Obama administration. And for the Russian government, I think, too.

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