The Trump scandal books try to cover every new detail. They need more history. | Arts
The Obama administration’s reset with Russia was based on the belief that Washington could engage constructively with Moscow “without checking our values at the door,” McFaul explains in “From Cold War to Hot Peace.” The two young lawyers shaped by the post-Cold War world, Medvedev and Obama also shared a soft-spoken analytical style and reformist self-image. “I quickly concluded that this relationship was going to kick in,” writes McFaul. Initially it did so, delivering the new strategic arms reduction treaty, sanctions against Iran, and expanded access to Russian supply routes supporting US forces in Afghanistan. “At the start of the reset,” McFaul recalls, “it seemed like all the good things could go together. “
They could not. McFaul refers to the “Medvedev era” as if it really exists, although he knows it better. “Even though Medvedev was a closet liberal – a second Gorbachev – he operated in a very constrained political environment,” McFaul admits. “He worked for Putin. And when Putin ran for president again in 2012 and had to ward off an enemy to rally his followers, the choice was easy. “In the face of growing social mobilization and protests, it has rekindled an old Soviet-era argument as its new source of legitimacy – the defense of the homeland against the evil West, and in particular the Imperial United States, accomplices and threatening. “
NATO expansion and the war in Serbia. The invasion of Iraq. The color revolutions in Eastern Europe. They all substantiated Putin’s account of American perfidy. In addition, the Russian leader “despised” Hillary Clinton, accusing her of having encouraged national protests against him in 2011. “Putin wanted revenge,” says McFaul. And in the 2016 election – with the hacks, the propaganda, the bots – he demanded it. “The goal of Russian efforts in the American media was not only to support Trump and harm Clinton, but also to undermine the truth more generally,” writes McFaul.