The next time Michael McFaul comes to Moscow, he should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. If NATO can bomb the Serbian TV tower--knowing civilians were inside--on the pretext that it's a propaganda
Somewhere in the cruise-control synapses of McFaul's beigeist brain, he senses that his arrest and trial is a real possibility. He has to know. Only that could explain his shocking reincarnation two weeks ago as a bitter Yeltsin critic and passionate defender of the victims of reform.
"Yeltsin attacked the White House," he wrote in a May 23rd Los Angeles Times Op-Ed piece, "where Russia's parliament was then housed in 1993, oversaw the deaths of 100,000 of his own citizens in a fruitless and tragic war in Chechnya and presided over one of the greatest economic depressions in modern history, including, most recently, the financial meltdown in August 1998."
Reading that gave me such a spasm that I nearly bled bile from my eyes. Was this guy joking?! It's as crazy as if Clinton were to blame the Littleton Massacre on Hollywood--the very industry he once defended against Quayle and Dole--instead of the violence of his own Balkan War, which one of the kids openly bragged was his inspiration for the massacre. Oh shit... wait a minute... Clinton DID blame it on Hollywood. Well, he IS the president, and as Butt-head once said, "Since you're like the President and stuff, can you like, set a country on fire... and then fly overhead in a helicopter and say, 'I am the President of the most powerful nation on earth. You must bow down before me.' Uh-huh-huh."
Well, heck, Clinton is the President, but McFaul doesn't formally command an army, so he can still be stopped before he successfully convinces the world that he is the very person that he isn't: a long-suffering crusader against the savage Yeltsin regime.
Incredibly, the McFaul quoted above is the exact same McFaul who, exactly one year earlier on May 23rd, 1998, in an Op-Ed piece for the Washington Post, wrote, "One reason for Russian democracy's poor image is that commentary coming out of Russia is dominated by the Russian intelligentsia." The piece was titled "Russia's Image Problem," which he blamed mostly on Russia's intelligentsia, who, he said were "known for gloom and doom, whether talking about the 'fate of Russia' or the weather," as well as their Western counterparts: "[M]any within the American scholarly and policy community on Russia also have a historical predisposition toward accentuating the negative in post-Communist Russia. For those drawn earlier to the field because of a fear of communism and Soviet imperialism, the Russian bear still remains a threat. For those attracted to the field because of a romantic affinity with socialism, Yeltsin and his reforms have destroyed all that was good about the Soviet system."
McFaul's conclusion? "In believing that Russian democracy is bound to fail, those who form Russia's image within the United States might help it to fail." In other words, if you can't get with the program and support my friends in the Kremlin, then shut the fuck up.
He meant that literally. A little more than a week after McFaul's article, I published a piece called Totally Fucked: Russia Explodes In Crisis", which argued that Russia had absolutely no chance of avoiding a meltdown. It had a dash of the ol' gloom and doom that McFaul finds so loathsome. Not surprisingly, a couple of weeks later, McFaul tried to have the eXile banned from the West's most influential Internet list dealing with Russia, the Johnson's Russia List. An anonymous letter--which many think was sent in by McFaul's wife--argued that the eXile should have been banned because our former club reviewer, Johnny Chen, wrote an offensive piece that was alleged to be pro-rape. Before even reading the Chen piece, McFaul demanded that we be censored: "I was appalled by the quote from Johnny Chen's article in Exile sent by 'anonymous' to your list. The Exile writers and editors occasionally have some interesting insights about Russia. I am glad that Exile has the right the publish its views both here and in Russia, but must such a valuable publication as the Johnson List dupe so low as to propagate the ideas and promote the reputations of people who celebrate rape? Why dont [sic] you suggest that Exile set up their own list. Those who want to support the open propagation of violence against women can then subscribe to this list, and spare the rest of us from having to tacitly condone these views by subscribing to your list."
True, McFaul lost in his bid to have us censored after some twenty journalists and academics, who were shocked and appalled, appealed to the Internet editor on our behalf. I had an intense two-week email exchange with McFaul, in which he tried to brand me as a fascist for associating with Limonov. McFaul was obsessed with Limonov's symbolic flirtations with fascism, which I responded to by noting that Limonov hadn't killed anyone, while Yeltsin had killed tens of thousands in Chechnya, overseen the destruction of his nation's economy and a society suffering from one of the worst death-to-birth ratios in recorded history. His reply? "Give me a break!"
Now, he's looking for that break.
I know I'm repeating this, but with McFaul repackaging himself as a democratic crusader, I don't think this incident can be repeated enough. It says so much about the guy, and by repeating it, I increase, if ever so incrementally, the chance that it will be entered as evidence in his upcoming trial.
There is a very chilling conclusion to this three-part play. Right around the same time, people in the Kremlin Administration approached a pair of well-known Western journalists in Moscow and asked them what the local reaction would be if they were to shut down the eXile. You see, it wasn't just McFaul who saw Russia's problem as an image problem. His long-time friend Anatoly Chubais himself had written in same period that "perception is everything."
Now I don't know for certain that McFaul coordinated anything with the Kremlin people, but I do have strong suspicions. Their rhetoric and strategy of trying to snuff out or smear negative news was the same, and McFaul's own colleague at Stanford and the Hoover Institute, Gordon Hahn, once admitted to Matt Taibbi in a private email that McFaul's "biggest mistake" was that he let himself get too close to Gaidar, Chubais and the young reformers.
McFaul is horrible not just because he is a monstrous hypocrite and a whitewasher, but because, when it comes down to it, he's the Man for his time and place. Not just because he's got his foot in every ideological pie (analyst for both the liberal Carnegie Endowment and its arch-rival reactionary think-tank, the Hoover Institute), but because he's the perfect picture of smoke-free health. I hate everything about him, especially that chilling
In a September 24th Washington Post Op-Ed piece, he wrote: "Until the new Russian government has a credible anti-crisis program, Western assistance programs for macroeconomic stabilization such as International Monetary Fund loans must be suspended." Stop there--McFaul might still argue for loans intended to go to the millions of poor and needy made more desperate by his friends' debt-pyramid-induced crisis, right? Wrong. Money should be given all right, but only to the kind of people McFaul is comfortable with: "At the same time, other kinds of assistance aimed at fostering microeconomic reforms should be expanded. For instance, programs that provide small business loans, projects that furnish information about Western markets, business training and exchange initiatives all should be expanded. Similarly, technical assistance projects that facilitate the development of important market institutions such as laws governing property rights, disclosure, bankruptcy, pension funds, taxes and the securities markets also need to increase." In other words, more millions given to Western consultants and young reformers, and fuck the poor. And he did expect poverty on an unprecedented scale: "Prime Minister Primakov and his new team of Gorbachev-era ministers plan to assign a greater role to the state in managing the economy. Strapped for cash after defaulting on its debt, the government will print money and thereby fuel inflation. To control inflation, the new Russian government will introduce wage and price controls; some governors already have done so. Eventually, this set of policies will produce shortages, rationing coupons and a black market."
That never happened, of course--and so much for whining about academic-manufactured "image problems" and "gloom and doom" intellectuals who angle to see a certain government collapse. In fact, so much for a lot of things. Just a couple of months earlier, in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, McFaul had argued, as the bubble was bursting, that Russian debt should actually be converted into American treasury bonds! Once his friends were tossed out, he tried to play his little part in bringing the Primakov regime to heel.
On March 2nd of this year, in a piece titled "The Devil Within", McFaul very literally demonized the man who brought stability back to a nearly-ruined Russia: "The immediate threat to electoral democracy comes from within the government, not from without. Most disturbing is Primakov's idea of reintroducing the practice of appointing governors rather than electing them."
With Primakov the Devil gone, there's nowhere left for McFaul to turn but into himself, and against his own friends. That's where he's found himself.
I have a whole file on McFaul that I'm just waiting to hand over to a prosecutor some day. It's all in his own words, on the public file. So long as I'm around, he won't be able to escape his past.
Like some camp guard kommandante who gets plastic surgery and takes up a new identity, McFaul is out to remake himself in order to escape conviction. But I vow before everyone not to let that happen. I vow to spend as many book-deal-fame-points as I've earned to hound that chicken-shit bastard back into the tract home he belongs in. Hopefully, someday, a real patriotic government will come to power here in Russia, a government that seeks justice, not just ugly corruption deals through half-baked offshore shell companies. Justice. Sure it will suck for me, but maybe, just maybe, they'll send out one of their under-employed FSB agents to hunt down McFaul in Palo Alto, whisk him out of his spiffy two-car-garaged house in the middle of the night, bind and gag him like Abdullah Ocalan, stow him away on a Il-96, try him in Moscow, and punish him by the most extreme measures that the law allows. I can picture it--McFaul covering his head with his Tommy Hilfinger windbreaker to avoid being photographed as he's led from his cell in Lefortovo into an armored jeep... his golfing tan fading with each successive court appearance... desperate pleas to enter into his defense the fact that many of his op-ed pieces contained the usual Rhetoric 1A device of a "however, critics say that..." paragraph 2/3ds of the way down his typical propaganda piece as proof that he was both critical and even-handed towards his subject. But no, the Russians wouldn't be fooled anymore.
Article 7 of the Geneva Convention states that the International War Crimes Tribunal has the authority to prosecute "a person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abbetted in the planning, preparation of ... willful killing, willfully causing great suffering or seirous injury or bodily health, and/or extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly." Of these, Doctor Michael McFaul, perhaps more than any American besides Clinton himself, is guilty. He was the Rosenberg who destroyed, colonized, then abandoned Russia. Now, he's trying to be Kurt Waldheim, a man with no past. Don't let it happen. Those people--they never pay. Maybe this time, just this once, someone will make McFaul pay.