Streetwise Professor

March 30, 2012

Exclamation Point

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:03 am

US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has had a very rough go of it in his two plus months in Russia.  He has attempted to reach out to the opposition and civil society, such as it is, and has been hounded every step of the way.  It came to a head yesterday, when McFaul accused Russian television station NTV of having access to his schedule, intimating that NTV had broken into his email and phone.  Although the State Department tried to do some damage control, the story has gone viral.

Russian harassment of ambassadors they dislike is not unprecedented.  Indeed, no one should be surprised that this is happening, given Putin’s reascension to the presidency, and the paranoia in the ruling siloviki about the opposition.

But note well that this is the regime of the “Vladimir” that Obama wants the “flexibility” to deal with.  Further note well that this is Putin’s idea of giving our Barry space.

This puts an exclamation point to last night’s post: has Obama whispered a word about the abuse that is being heaped on the official representative of the US government in Russia?  Has he given the faintest indication that this abuse might bode ill for a constructive relationship with Russia?  Has it dawned on him that his behavior and policy invite nothing but derision and scorn from someone like Putin?  That Putin views Obama’s panting desire to make a deal when he has the flexibility to do so as a sign of weakness?  That the provocations directed at McFaul are a test of Obama’s mettle-and that he is failing miserably?

The questions answer themselves.

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  1. Obama is clueless in everything and especially in foreign policy. And Russians show themselves for what they are-uncivilized, ignorant, arrogant third world country!

    Comment by voroBey — March 30, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  2. Once again, pesky facts will not be allowed to interfere with the narrative.

    Comment by sotos — March 30, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Liberty is rising.

    Comment by Mr. X — March 30, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  4. By complaining about this on Twitter McFaul looks utterly naive and guillible. The part that makes everyone in Russia do the roflmao is “what are the laws here?”

    Doesn’t the Ambassador of the United States have a security detail?

    Comment by LL — March 30, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  5. McFaul will quit soon enough. Horrible pick, horrible (or mentally ill) person.

    Comment by andrewi31 — March 30, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  6. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mohandias Ghandi

    Jim Grant to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

    In the not quite 100 years since the founding of your institution, America has exchanged central banking for a kind of central planning and the gold standard for what I will call the Ph.D. standard. I regret the changes and will propose reforms, or, I suppose, re-reforms, as my program is very much in accord with that of the founders of this institution. Have you ever read the Federal Reserve Act? The authorizing legislation projected a body “to provide for the establishment of the Federal Reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper and to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.” By now can we identify the operative phrase? Of course: “for other purposes.”…

    There isn’t time, in these brief remarks, to persuade you of the necessity of a return to the classical gold standard. I would need another 10 minutes, at least. But I anticipate some skepticism. Very well then, consider this fact: On March 27, 1973, not quite 39 years ago, the forerunner to today’s G-20 solemnly agreed that the special drawing right, a.k.a. SDR, “will become the principal reserve asset and the role of gold and reserve currencies will be reduced.” That was the establishment— i.e., you—talking. If a worldwide accord on the efficacy of the SDR is possible, all things are possible, including a return to the least imperfect international monetary standard that has ever worked.

    Notice, I do not say the perfect monetary system or best monetary system ever dreamt up by a theoretical economist. The classical gold standard, 1879-1914, “with all its anomalies and exceptions . . . ‘worked.’” The quoted words I draw from a book entitled, “The Rules of the Game: Reform and Evolution in the International Monetary System,” by Kenneth W. Dam, a law professor and former provost of the University of Chicago. Dam’s was a grudging admiration, a little like that of the New York Fed’s own Arthur Bloomfield, whose 1959 monograph, “Monetary Policy under the International Gold Standard,” was published by yourselves. No, Bloomfield points out, as does Dam, the classical gold standard was not quite automatic. But it was synchronous, it was self-correcting and it did deliver both national solvency and, over the long run, uncanny price stability. The banks were solvent, too, even the central banks, which, as Bloomfield noted, monetized no government debt.

    Yes, Jim Grant mentions Special Drawing Rights as the new currency of the world. Which of course only a tin foil hat wearer believes is being groomed to replace the U.S. dollar. Nevermind that it’s on the new U.S. customs form they will give you at any post office for shipments valued at over $500, right there at the top of the red form next to the “declared value in dollars” column.

    Where are all the shillers of the glories of fiat money that it equals freedom from hated Kremlin-backed goldbugs, anyway? Reggie Quills?

    Comment by Mr. X — March 30, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

  7. Not all news out of Russia is bad:

    Comment by GF — March 31, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  8. It really does say a lot about the state of Putin’s Russsia (state of paranoia) that it can’t even identify who its friends are. Obama has openly said he wants to sell out his country’s interests and McFaul is doing everything it can to help him, yet the Putin regime still can’t do anything but undermine their own best interests. This is exactly the same paranoid, delusional behavior we saw from the USSR, and a major reason why that pathetic country collapsed.

    Comment by La Russophobe — March 31, 2012 @ 7:20 am

  9. The problem is, I think, that McFaul is an academic not a diplomat or even a politician. I say that as an academic, knowing the weaknesses and strengths of the breed. He does look like a whiner.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 31, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  10. +++Not all news out of Russia is bad:+++

    Well, this one actually had a reputation of a decent fellow…

    Comment by LL — March 31, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  11. Nice fellow and KGB? Highly unlikely.

    Comment by Andrew — April 1, 2012 @ 8:13 am

  12. Craig Pirrong ‏ @streetwiseprof
    Reply RetweetedRetweet Delete FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details
    [email protected] Way 2 show your ass. R has more guts than you could ever-ever-hope to have. @LibertyLynx @catfitz

    “Show your ass” seems to be a favorite phrase of SWP and rytb. Worst bunch of self righteous fake liberatian authoritarian blowhards I have ever seen. Unbelievable arrogance. I don’t even think that’s her picture.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 7, 2012 @ 2:38 am

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