U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, Obama's man in Moscow, who just took up his post, has received a rude reception. And understandably so.
In 1992, McFaul was the representative in Russia of the National Democratic Institute, a U.S. government-funded agency whose mission is to promote democracy abroad.
The NDI has been tied to color-coded or Orange revolutions such as those that dethroned regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Lebanon. The project miscarried in Belarus.
The NDI is one of several agencies, dating to the 1980s, that were set up to subvert communist regimes. With the end of the Cold War, however, these agencies were not decommissioned, but recommissioned to serve as something of an American Comintern.
Where the old Comintern of Lenin sought to instigate communist revolutions across the West and its empires, post-Cold War America decided to promote democratic revolutions to remake the world in the image of late 20th century America.
In 2002, McFaul wrote a book: "Russia's Unfinished Revolution."
Vladimir Putin's men are not unreasonably asking if he was sent to Moscow to finish that revolution. Putin has already accused Hillary Clinton of flashing the signal for street demonstrations to begin -- to protest Russia's December's elections.
Nor is it surprising the Putin's people are suspicious of McFaul, who added to his problems by meeting with anti-Putin dissidents the day after he presented his credentials.
McFaul says this is part of his "dual-track engagement" with Russian society. Before leaving for Moscow, he told NPR's "Morning Edition": "We're not going to get into the business of dictating (Russia's) path (to democracy). ... We're just going to support what we like to call 'universal values' -- not American values, not Western values, universal values."
But what, exactly, are these "universal values"?
And who are we to impose them on other nations? Did Divine Providence assign us this mission? Who do we Americans think we are?
After all, we do not even agree ourselves on what is moral and immoral, good and evil. Indeed, our own deep disagreements on what is moral and what is not are at the root of the culture wars tearing this country apart.
In America, women have a constitutional right to an abortion. Scores of millions have availed themselves of that right since Roe v. Wade. Yet traditionalists of many faiths -- Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Orthodox and Jewish -- reject any such woman's right and regard it as a moral abomination.
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