Michael McFaul served as US ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama from 2012 to 2014. In an interview with FRANCE 24, he discussed the divisions within the Trump administration on Russia policy. He also warned of the risks of organising a summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, arguing that the US president shouldn't rush to meet with autocrats without clearly outlining US interests and demands. Finally, he discussed today's parallels - or lack them - with the Cold War.
Michael McFaul, who has just published a book entitled "From Cold War to Hot Peace," pointed out the clear divisions on Russia policy within the Trump administration, noting that the president was the only senior US official to call "out of the blue" for the G8 be revived to include Russia. "There are two policies towards Russia in the Trump administration", he explained.
The former US ambassador said it was crucial that the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia be completed, in order to establish whether Vladimir Putin has "compromising material" on Donald Trump. However, "we know clearly that Putin intervened in our elections to try to help Trump win", McFaul said.
Finally, he noted that recent events such as the Russian annexation of Crimea, the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK and the Russian meddling in the US elections have no parallels in the Cold War period, saying they constitute elements of a "hot peace" that are "worse than the Cold War".