President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia
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President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia



On November 26, Ambassador McFaul gave a presentation, “President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia,” to students at Moscow International University.

On November 26, Ambassador McFaul gave a presentation, “President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia,” to students at Moscow International University.



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  • I read these slides with great interest. However I can identify a few issues with the 'innovation' part. The slides emphasize Skolkovo-MIT deal and Intel, but they ignore the US-created obstacles with export control and unreasonable scrutinizing business and scientific visitors to the US.

    Let's enumerate some of these issues:

    1. The reaction of people in scientific and technological community to Skolkovo-MIT deal is not entirely positive. One issue is a transparency in spending $302M of Russian taxpayer's money. Another issue is the value of abstract classes on 'multidisciplinary entrepreneurship' and 'innovation' - versus more traditional classes on computer architecture, system on chip design, embedded systems and other real stuff Silicon Valley is quietly doing under the flashy PR events of Intel and Apple.

    2. As far as I know Intel is mostly doing compiler and other software work in Russia. It is not clear whether Intel can drive the development of Russian chip design and related hardware areas.

    3. The current practices of US export control, governed by Bureau of Industry and Security, are not transparent. The hitech business community at large still has no clue about the reasons of BIS blacklisting a Russian supercomputer company T-Platforms that had customers even in the United States.

    4. Many Russian scientists and business people working in semiconductor, embedded systems, computer vision and other areas - face significant delays when they are trying to get visas to go to US conferences and to meet with US partners. Apparently some recent laws (back in 2008? under Obama?) made these problems worse.

    5. The actions of the US government create an impression that the US government would like to suppress the technological development in Russia in certain areas to avoid creating another China ('modernization without democratization'). This is consistent with the following statements from the book of Michael McFaul 'Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can':

    Michael McFaul: 'In the developing world over the past 50 years, there is no correlation between modernization and democratization'

    Michael McFaul: 'In the economic growth race in the developing world, autocracies are the hares and the snails, while democracies are the tortoises. On average, democracies have a slower rate of growth than the best autocratic performers but a much better rate of growth than most autocratic regimes'

    Michael McFaul: 'Over the past 10 years, economic modernization in Russia has undermined, not promoted, democratic development.'
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President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia Presentation Transcript

  • Michael McFaul U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Spaso House 12/16/2013 Twitter: @McFaul
  • President Obama’s Worldview: Implications for Russia
  • Philosophy • Win-Win, Not Zero Sum • Mutual Respect • Most Issues Are Transnational – Values – Security – Economic Development
  • “The pursuit of power is no longer a zero-sum game -progress must be shared.” -President Obama, Moscow, July 2009
  • Respect “To begin with, let me be clear: America wants a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia. This belief is rooted in our respect for the Russian people, and a shared history between our nations that goes beyond competition. Despite our past rivalry, our people were allies in the greatest struggle of the last century.” - President Obama, Moscow, July 7, 2009
  • Mutual Respect: Commemorating Our Shared Past February 2013
  • Policy Priorities • • • • • 1. Ending Wars 2. Fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists 3. Asia-Pacific Rebalance 4. “Prague Agenda” on Nuclear Weapons 5. Expanding Markets – Trans-Pacific Partnership – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – Means for strengthening US economy • 6. Supporting Universal Values
  • Universal Values “So we stand up for universal values because it’s the right thing to do. But we also know from experience that those who defend these values for their people have been our closest friends and allies, while those who have denied those rights -- whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments -- have chosen to be our adversaries.” -President Obama, UN General Assembly, September 23, 2010
  • Motivations for Promoting Universal Values “America supports these values because they are moral, but also because they work… The arc of history shows that governments which serve their own people survive and thrive… Governments that promote the rule of law, subject their actions to oversight, and allow for independent institutions are more dependable trading partners… Democracies have been America's most enduring allies.” -President Obama, Moscow, July 7, 2009
  • Means for Achieving Outcomes • Engagement – with Friends (strengthening alliances) – with Partners – with Foes • Strengthening International Institutions – United Nations Security Council – Human Rights Council – Regional organizations • Restoring America’s Image Abroad • Use of Force Only as Last Resort
  • Engagement “We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.” - President Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 2013
  • Practice of Engagement with Russia Between: • Leaders • Governments – Bilateral Presidential Commission • Businesses • Societies – Government engagement of society – Peer-to-peer connections
  • Engaging Leaders, 2013 • Then-NSA Tom Donilon in Moscow, April • Secretary of State Kerry in Moscow, May • Secretary of Security Council Patrushev, in DC, May • Obama-Putin meeting in Northern Ireland, June • Lavrov and Shoigu in DC, August • NSA Susan Rice and Ambassador Ushakov, September • Obama visit to Russia, September • Kerry-Lavrov, multiple meetings and calls
  • Government to Government Engagement: Bilateral Presidential Commission
  • Engaging Business Obama and Medvedev Meeting with Russian and American CEOs
  • Engaging Civil Society
  • Engaging Youth
  • Engaging Political Society
  • Engaging Religious Leaders
  • Fostering Peer-to-Peer Contacts Between: • • • • • • Universities (USRF) Scientists NGO leaders Students Sports Musicians
  • Fields of Unnoticed Cooperation • • • • Arctic Space Health and Science Environment and Energy – Smart Grid Partnership Program – Bering Strait Region
  • RESULTS (The U.S. Perspective)
  • 1. Ending Wars Iraq – Russia supported American military withdrawal – Russia involved in economic development in Iraq Afghanistan – – – – Northern Distribution Network Counternarcotics cooperation Fuel supplies Mi-17 helicopters and small arms
  • Afghan Transit and Northern Distribution Network (NDN) • Strategic Flexibility for U.S. and ISAF Partners • 3,500 total U.S. flights as of August, 2013 – 660,000 U.S. personnel and troops transited Russia • Expanded ground and rail transit through Russia, including reverse transit – 53% of sustainment cargo goes through the NDN – 75% of supplies transiting NDN go through Russia – Over 50,000 containers shipped across Russia
  • 2. Fighting Terrorism • Common Enemies, Common Goals • Cooperation – Afghanistan – Boston – Shared Commitment to Secure Sochi Olympics • Some Analytic Disagreements – Arab Spring – Afghanistan
  • Preparing for Future Cooperation Russian and American Troops Training Together
  • 3. Asia-Pacific Rebalance • United States is rebalancing and sees potential for win-win outcomes with Russia in Asia • Russia and U.S. are both Pacific powers and have common interests • Cooperative efforts – APEC in Vladivostok – Russian membership in the East Asian Summit
  • 4. “Prague Agenda” • New Start Treaty • Close Cooperation on Iran – UNSC Resolution 1929 – P5+1 • Shared interests in North Korea • UNSC Resolution 1874 (June 12, 2009) • UNSC Resolutions 2087 and 2094 (January and March 2013) • Syria –eliminating chemical weapons together
  • 5. Expanding Economic Ties • Russian Membership in WTO • Granting Russia PNTR, Repeal of Jackson-Vanik • New Visa Regime: Visas for Russians up 20% since 2012 and 51% since 2010. Over 250,000! • 123 Agreement (Civilian Nuclear Cooperation) • BPC, including new Innovation and Rule of Law Working Groups • G-20
  • U.S.-Russia Bilateral Trade U.S. Exports to Russia hit a record $10.7 billion in 2012. Russia continues to enjoy bilateral trade surplus. 50.0 45.0 40.0 35.0 30.0 Exports (U.S.) 25.0 Imports (U.S.) 20.0 Bilateral trade 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
  • Value of Russian Investments in U.S.  Russia is the 30th largest source of FDI in the U.S.*  As of 2012, Russian companies hold $7.3 billion in FDI stock in the U.S.*  Russian affiliates employ more than 13,200 Americans in the U.S. (per 2010 statistics) *Data from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Value of U.S. Investments in Russia  U.S. is the 3rd largest source of FDI in Russia*  As of 2012, U.S. companies hold $14 billion in FDI stock in Russia*  U.S. affiliates employ more than 112,000 Russians in Russia** *Data from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis **Conservative estimate based on employment statistics the 13 largest U.S. investors in Russia.
  • Top U.S. Investors in Russia Company Name Investment Industry ExxonMobil $10 billion Oil & Gas Boeing $7 billion Aircraft Chevron $4 billion Oil & Gas Conoco Phillips $4 billion Oil & Gas Pepsi $4 billion Consumer Coca-Cola $3 billion Consumer Ford $2 billion Auto General Motors $2 billion Auto John Deere $500 million Manufacturing Intel $500 million* Technology
  • Major Russian Investors in the US Company Name Investment Industry Severstal North America $3.5 billion Steel Evraz $2.46 billion Steel TMK Pipe $1.2 billion+ Steel Pipe Digital Sky Technologies $1.08 billion ICT (Facebook, Twitter, etc) Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) $1 billion Steel RusNano $760 million Medical Mechel $436 million Coal
  • Innovation Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index 2013: U.S. 1st; Russia 14th Why cooperate: •Facilitate connections •create opportunity •share ideas on increasing the •competitiveness of both innovative economies How: •Private partnerships: -U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group: •Developing connections between innovative regions •Improving the legal framework for innovation •Sharing best practices on commercialization -Spaso Innovation Series: •U.S. innovation thought leaders to Russia -Skolkovo- MIT
  • 6. Supporting Universal Values: Challenges • Arab Spring • Internal Developments in Russia – Ouster of USAID – Information campaign against U.S., inflaming antiAmericanism – Problematic laws (NGO registration laws, treason law, LGBT legislation) – Renunciation of adoption agreement – Ban on U.S. Parents Adopting Russian Children
  • Where Are We Now? • Fundamentals of the US approach to Russia are the same now as before. • We honestly assess differences with Russia, e.g. antiAmericanism, human rights, bilateral disputes over Magnitsky, Snowden, etc. • However, as we are demonstrating on the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons or Iran’s nuclear program, our leaders are able to work together even on these most contentious issues.
  • Near Term Agenda • Resolving the Syria crisis • Nonproliferation (Iran and North Korea) • Reducing Nuclear Stockpiles • Missile Defense Cooperation • Increasing Trade and Investment • Increasing Society-to-Society Ties
  • Syria Shared Objectives – End the bloodshed and ease the humanitarian crisis – Eliminate Syrian chemical weapons – Foster political transition – Avoid state collapse – Address threat of extremism Different Perspectives, but New Momentum – Presidents at G20, Kerry-Lavrov in Geneva in September – The structure of Geneva II Dialogue, and Asad’s departure are unresolved issues, but – UNSCR 2118 – Unanimous Agreement to Eliminate Syrian CW, is a product of U.S.-Russia diplomacy and collaboration with OPCW and key international partners.
  • Iran Diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure -a future in which we can verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon. – President Obama November 23, 2013
  • Key points of the agreement: Iran has committed to: • Halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%. • To neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium. • Not install additional centrifuges of any type and to limit production of centrifuges to those needed to replace damaged machines. • To provide daily access by IAEA inspectors at Natanz and Fordow. •
  • Key points of the Agreement continued In return for these steps, the P5+1 have committed to: • Not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, if Iran abides by its commitments under this deal, to the extent permissible within their political systems. • Suspend certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran's auto sector, and Iran's petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue. • Allow $400 million in governmental tuition assistance to be transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students.
  • Missile Defense • U.S. global architecture designed to protect U.S. and allies from North Korea and Iran • United States has no intention nor capability to undermine strategic stability with Russia • Cooperation with Russia on missile defense will make both countries more secure
  • The Long Term Agenda • Avoiding Zero-Sum Competition • Managing Differences over Values • Sovereignty and Universal Values • Obama, NES, 2009: “State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order.” • Obama, NES, 2009: America has an interest “in democratic governments that protect the rights of their people.” • Getting Beyond Cold War Stereotypes
  • Let’s keep talking @McFaul