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McFaul: Trump's Order to Shut Down Russian Consulate a Good Move

Image: McFaul: Trump's Order to Shut Down Russian Consulate a Good Move
(David Goldman/AP)

By    |   Friday, 01 September 2017 03:44 PM

The Trump administration's order to shut down the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and offices in New York as retaliation for the Kremlin's demand for the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia was a good reaction, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Friday.

"It's not good, in my opinion, when we don't have our embassies and consulates at full strength," McFaul told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "[When] Vladimir Putin asked us to shut down, release 755 employees, we had to respond. I would have liked to see a bigger response, but this response is better than no response at all.

On Friday, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised a "tough response" to the order against the Russian diplomatic holdings.

Meanwhile, McFaul said it's been remarkable to him that despite what President Donald Trump said while campaigning for office, there has been no noticeable change in U.S.-Russian relations.

"The goals should be concrete objectives, security objectives about the economic wellbeing, about the American people that are good for us," said McFaul. "Then we figure out a way to achieve them."

There are some shared interests though, between Russia and the United States, including on terrorism and arms control, said McFaul.

"We signed when I was in the government the New START treaty reducing by 30 percent the number of nuclear weapons in the world," said McFaul, referring to the 2011 treaty between the two countries. "That is going to come up for renewal in the next couple of years. We should be working on that. Their new ambassador was the negotiator of that treaty, so we can work with him."

The two countries also share a common interest in dealing with North Korea, said McFaul, which will be a complicated matter.

"In order to do it in a multilateral fashion, which I believe is the only way to do it," he said. "We need Russia on board. We need to cooperate with Russia. There is an agenda, it's smaller than before, but we should try to work on it."

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The Trump administration's order to shut down the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and offices in New York as retaliation for the Kremlin's demand for the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia was a good reaction, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said...
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Friday, 01 September 2017 03:44 PM
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