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From Cold War to Hot Peace: Former Ambassador, author Michael McFaul visits Duke

Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, stopped by Duke Wednesday to promote his book "From Cold War to Hot Peace" and discuss U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

In an event sponsored by the Sanford School of Public Policy and the American Grand Strategy Program, McFaul discussed the various methods that Russia used in interfering with the 2016 elections, including social media bots and the property and data theft of American citizens.

“Did Putin want Trump to win? That’s obvious,” McFaul said. “You don’t need a Ph.D. in Russian studies to figure that out.”

The former ambassador also said that he did not think that Putin would be scared to interfere in further elections. This is because of a general lack of security measures put in place in the United States currently. 

McFaul worked for the U.S. National Security Council as special assistant to the president and then as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2012-2014 during the Obama administration. He now serves as a professor of political science at Stanford University. 

This past summer at the Helsinki summit, the prosecutor general of Russia announced plans to interrogate a dozen Americans in response to Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents. 

One of the twelve Americans on the list was McFaul himself.

Ambassador McFaul noted that his recently released book "From Cold War to Hot Peace" is aimed at answering the questions about how the end of the Cold War led to today’s hostile relations with Russia. It is both a personal memoir and an overview of four decades of U.S.-Russian relations. 

Sophomore Victoria Sorhegui, member of the American Grand Strategy Program, said the conversation with McFaul was very insightful.

“I am focusing a lot on international relations in my studies and like to compare history and theory to what is going on right now,” Sorhegui said. “The talk was really interesting to see his perspective as someone who was in the middle of it and what he thought were wrong decisions even in the administration he served in.”  

First-year Zineb Jadi talked about the value of the event.

“I’m possibly interested in public policy and political science and came to learn about current events," Jadi said. "It was nice to learn about his job and what he did in Russia, and it put things in perspective and how it was applied to current events.”

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