WASHINGTON, Dec. 18.
ITAR-TASS, Vladimir Kalinin
Michael McFaul, who on Saturday became the new American ambassador in Moscow, is a chief specialist in the U.S. in Russia. This opinion was expressed today a number of political observers of local media.
Noting the undoubted merits McFaul as the author of the idea of a “reset” relations with Moscow, commentators draw attention to his difficult path to the current destination. The fact that the assertion of a new ambassador was delayed twice. . The intention of U.S. President Barack Obama to appoint to this post McFaul became known May 29 this year, and to the legislators of his candidacy was submitted on September 15.
However, in November, the International Committee of the Senate postponed the approval of a new ambassador. Against the vote was made by Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who thus tried to get the White House compromise on a number of fundamental issues. Then a Republican from Illinois, Mark Kirk has blocked approval of a new ambassador. As reported by local media then, the position of Kirk’s “significantly complicate the Obama administration attempts to restore U.S. relations with Russia back to normal in a period of increased tensions over / disputes / missile defense.” Senator explained his decision by saying that the U.S. authorities are too open with Moscow on missile defense. Republican suggested that, if approved by McFaul, known for his pro-Russian sentiments, Washington can go too far in sharing information on anti-missile systems and the volume of strategic weapons, and demanded written assurances to the contrary. According to the U.S. Constitution, any senator can block the appointment of a new ambassador for whatever reason and even without any explanation.
However, on Thursday, Mark Kirk still withdrew his objection. The position of the Republican materially affect new assurances from the White House, stressing the impossibility of events described by the senator on defense. In addition, to block the candidacy of McFaul became impractical after the Pentagon’s budget: in this financial statement included a number of politically binding provisions that regulate the exchange of information between U.S. and Russian armed forces.
However, in addition to Kirk, still at least four Republican senators linked their willingness to support the candidacy of the new Ambassador with a variety of conditions that were unfavorable to the White House. According to the magazine “Foreign Policy”, last Thursday McFaul met these lawmakers in the Capitol building and arranged for them a briefing. Apparently, the explanation given to them was sufficient for approval by the Senate of the new American ambassador to Russia.
Currently McFaul is senior adviser on Barack Obama’s Russia in the office of National Security Council in the White House. . He succeeds Ambassador to Russia John Byerly, who was appointed in 2008, even under President George W. Bush. For information on when the new head of the U.S. embassy in Moscow will begin his duties, is not reported.