Ambassador McFaul, driver of US-Russia 'reset,' becomes his own obstacle
US Ambassador Mike McFaul has been a Kremlin target since his arrival – most recently being slammed as 'unprofessional' and accused of spreading 'blatant falsehoods.'
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But Mr. McFaul attracted a new level of ire this week, with the Russian Foreign Ministry taking to the relatively new medium of Twitter and also issuing an old-fashioned official statement to angrily assail Mr. McFaul for his "unprofessionalism" and his penchant for spreading "blatant falsehoods through the mediasphere."
Many experts express bafflement at the unprecedented targeting of McFaul with highly personal official criticism, which is getting to be a regular and embarrassing distraction from his job of keeping the troubled US-Russia "reset" of relations on track.
Some suggest newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin would prefer to deal with Mitt Romney, whose attitude toward Russia is frankly hostile, and has licensed the Russian establishment to go after McFaul, who is not merely US ambassador but also a member of Mr. Obama's inner circle and a key architect of the "reset." In this view, the Kremlin is fed up with deadlock over missile defense, Syria, and other issues, and has decided to turn its foreign policy focus eastward toward the former Soviet central Asian countries and China.