The US President Donald Trump, apparently, finally decided on a candidate for the new US Ambassador to Russia. If the sources of the Reuters agency are not mistaken, then 56-year-old Stephen Biegun will replace the 59-year-old John Huntsman, who in October leaves for his native State of Utah to take part in governor’s elections.
Since August of last year Biegun, as was reported, performed the functions of the US special representative on North Korea and was responsible for negotiations on nuclear disarmament. He, in particular, prepared the February meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. But, as we know, the leaders of the two countries could not agree on anything at the time.
The candidacy of the current ambassador in Germany Richard Grenell — the one who blackmailed German businessmen with trouble for their participation in the “Nord Stream- 2” project — already, probably, is not being considered because of the diplomat’s self-withdrawal, because he did not express interest in the new position. Earlier the American “Wall Street Journal” newspaper wrote about the possible transfer of Grenell to Russia. It then mentioned Biegun as the second candidate for the position of the head of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow. And, according to the sources of Reuters, in this respect it is necessary to wait for a final decision in the near future.
It is necessary to say that unlike Huntsman — a Sinologue who almost does not speak Russian, Biegun not only perfectly knows Russian, but he is also considered to be a specialist in Russia. In 1984 he graduated from the University of Michigan where he, according to his official biography, learned precisely Russian and political sciences.
He has experience of business management in Russia too. Since Biegun worked in the Ford Motor company, he had to go repeatedly to our country for Ford-Sollers joint venture. But, perhaps, the earlier period of the activity of Stephen Biegun, which falls between 1992−1994, when he headed the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute, is after all more interesting.
Officially this non-profit organisation, working in close contact with the US State Department and Agency for International Development (USAID), recites assistance to certain countries for the building of democracy. Actually, it is a conductor of the foreign policy interests of Washington. Through this structure, in particular, financing not only “fifth columns” worldwide, but also real coups d’etat — in Latin America, North Africa, in the Middle East, etc., is carried out. Because of which, actually, in Russia the activity of this institute was recognised as undesirable a few years ago.
At the same time it is necessary to recognise that the position of the ambassador of the States in Russia in the present American administration, perhaps, is one of the most difficult, considering, to put it mildly, the current difficult period in bilateral relations.
In this regard “Svobodnaya Pressa” asked the doctor of political sciences and professor of the faculty of political science of Moscow State University Andrey Manoylo to evaluate the results of the work of the departing Huntsman and the prospect of Biegun being in the embassy, What role will the new owner of the Spaso House be appointed to implement: as a specialist in disarmament? Or a specialist in “colour revolutions”?
“Biegun is a personnel intelligence agent,” explained the expert. “He is an experienced CIA employee who has worked in reconnaissance for god knows how many years. Initially his specialisation was just the Eastern bloc. I.e. — the pro-Soviet countries of Central and Eastern Europe and also the Soviet Union. Then, after the collapse of the USSR — the Russian Federation.
So he knows Russia well. But his main skills not that of a diplomat or negotiator, but as an officer of a US intelligence agency who for many years worked under cover. Including, as a part of the American-Russian Business council. And in all other organisations where his career happened.
By the way, before his appointment as the special representative to North Korea, Biegun held the vice president’s post in the Ford Motor Company corporation. It would seem that it is a completely civil organisation. But intelligence agents of this sort also work just very often under cover of civil positions in the civil organisations. And in Ford Motor he was responsible for the development of relations with other countries.
I.e., without being an expert in the automotive industry, Biegun could not develop Ford. But here he can develop relations. That’s precisely the CIA’s specialty.
Therefore here it is necessary to understand after all who succeeds the serious economist and, in general, large statesman Huntsman.”
“Svobodnaya Pressa”: Was Huntsman such a significant figure? It seems that there were no special breakthroughs in Russian-American relations during his two ambassadorial years…
“Huntsman is an expert in emerging economies. His first diplomatic business trip coincided with the economic revolution in Singapore. At exactly this time (1991−92) he worked as the ambassador in Singapore, he was on friendly terms with Lee Kuan Yew, the creator of the Singapore economic miracle and participated in all these processes. And very actively too.
The second time as ambassador he went to China. He also got there just at the exact moment (2009−2011) when the Chinese economy sharply soared.
Huntsman is an expert in developing economies. And he (although under different administrations and different US Presidents) was sent to those countries where sharp economic recovery was expected and where it was important to the Americans to derive maximum benefit for their own country. I.e., if somewhere, in some country, the economy makes a breakthrough — to intercept, so to say, this breakthrough. Not to slow down, but to receive the most favourable contracts. To use the rise.
Here Huntsman was and remains an expert in this. And the fact that such a figure leaves Russia is very sad …”
“Svobodnaya Pressa”: Why is it sad?
“Because this figure could just serve the historical mission of repairing bridges between Russia and the United States. Huntsman was completely imprisoned by it.
If at the same time there was also the will of Congress and Trump — then here there would be a real chance.
By the way, Huntsman cursed Trump constantly. Because he in general is his ideological opponent. This, however, did not prevent Trump from appointing Huntsman as the ambassador in Russia.
Now he is being replaced by a CIA staff recruiter. What in this regard can be expected? Nothing good!”
“Svobodnaya Pressa”: And in more detail, if you can?
“Stephen Biegun may not be an expert in ‘color revolutions’, he also is not a master of these technologies, but he is able to conduct secret-service work in the countries of residence under a cover story. Therefore, I think that he will continue that line of work started by Bolton, who came to Russia several times and carried out intelligence surveys with representatives of the Russian political elite regarding just how loyal they are to current government in Moscow. And it is here, in this vein, that the new Ambassador will act.
Everything boils down to this. And he will most likely not have the time to improve relations between Russia and the USA. Because he regards Russia as an enemy that should either be put on its knees or cheated very cunningly.
Well, like how they tried to cheat North Korea. Although the US gained nothing from this.”
Svobodnaya Pressa, Svetlana Gomzikova
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