Browsing through this week's (August 11) New Yorker on my way to a doctor's appointment, I started reading David Remnick's "Watching the Eclipse: Ambassador Michael McFaul was there when the promise of democracy came to Russia--and when it began to fade." I had a long wait and read the whole thing. I am not a Russian specialist--I am not even that interested in Russia! But....
More than half the essay gives an account of Michael McFaul, both as former recent ambassador and as a Stanford graduate student in the early 1990s. (Remnick, now the editor of the New Yorker was a WashPost correspondent in Moscow from 1988 to about 1992, seems to have know McFaul back then). If Remnick's account of McFaul's career, past and present, is accurate, it is hard to imagine a more incompetent ambassador. Poor George Kennan to be succeeded by this.
Remnick also does a few pages on Putin, then and now. Putin may be outmaneuvering Obama in Ukraine, but there's no getting around his being a thug. On the other hand, Remnick does allow that he is promoting Russia's national interest, as he (and many fellow Russians) sees it. Don't see how that's going to work.
P.S. Susan Rice and McFaul are reported in the article to have been students together at Stanford, and she invited him into the Obama campaign.
Here's the link (or go to your doctor's office and read it):