Lying effectively is “an ideal practice for real-world diplomats,” says Michael McFaul.
Washington has deliberately lied about Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO, acknowledging that the former Soviet republic is not a legitimate competitor to qualify for membership in the Western military bloc, admits Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia.
The veteran diplomat unveiled a public policy forum in Toronto earlier this month, in a half-yearly munk debate. In partnership with Polish MEP Radoslaw Sikorski, McFaul fought Harvard International Affairs Professor Stephen Walt and politician John Meyersheimer on May 12 for the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The two scholars argued that the conflict was avoidable and arose out of US and NATO action, while McFull and Sikorsky took the position that only Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions were to blame.
Walt questions why Washington continues to push for Ukraine’s NATO membership, despite Moscow’s security concerns. “In 2021 we continue to repeat that Ukraine is going to join [NATO],“He said.”We keep saying it.“
McFaul interrupted the professor, suggesting that Washington had never really been serious about such a possibility. “And what did you believe?” Asked the former ambassador.
“So are our diplomats lying?“Walt fired back.
“Yes! Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.McFull replied, drawing the audience’s laughter.
“Our diplomats lie all the time, yet the Russians should believe them when they are assured,“Walt noted the applause from the audience.
Russia invaded the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the first Minsk agreement, signed in 2014, and the final recognition of Moscow’s Donetsk and Lugansk’s Donbas republics. The German- and French-brokerage protocols were designed to give special status to isolated territories within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral state that would never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv has insisted that the Russian invasion was completely unpopular and has denied claims that it is planning to forcibly retake the two republics.