Michael A. McFaul

2022 Michael McFaul Headshot

Michael A. McFaul, PhD

  • Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies, Department of Political Science
  • Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

Biography

Michael McFaul is Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. Dr. McFaul also is as an International Affairs Analyst for NBC News and a columnist for The Washington Post. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014).

He has authored several books, most recently the New York Times bestseller From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. Earlier books include Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective (eds. with Kathryn Stoner); Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (with James Goldgeier); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. He is currently writing a book called Autocrats versus Democrats: Lessons from the Cold War for Competing with China and Russia Today.

He teaches courses on great power relations, democratization, comparative foreign policy decision-making, and revolutions.

Dr. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European Studies from Stanford University in 1986. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his D. Phil. In International Relations at Oxford University in 1991. His DPhil thesis was Southern African Liberation and Great Power Intervention: Towards a Theory of Revolution in an International Context.

publications

Policy Briefs
July 2008

Strategic Leadership: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy

Author(s)
cover link Strategic Leadership: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy
Policy Briefs
June 2008

New Day New Way: U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century

Author(s)
cover link New Day New Way: U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century
Policy Briefs
January 2007

Should Democracy Be Promoted or Demoted?

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cover link Should Democracy Be Promoted or Demoted?

Current research

In The News

Amichai Magen, Marshall Burke, Didi Kuo, Larry Diamond, and Michael McFaul onstage for a panel discussion at Stanford's 2023 Reunion and Homecoming
Commentary

At Reunion Homecoming, FSI Scholars Offer Five Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration

FSI scholars offer their thoughts on what can be done to address political polarization in the United States, tensions between Taiwan and China, climate change, the war in Ukraine, and the Israel-Hamas war.
cover link At Reunion Homecoming, FSI Scholars Offer Five Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration
Ukrainian forces test drive a repaired Russian tank in the Kharkiv region on September 26 2022.
Commentary

The War in Ukraine Will Continue to Evolve. Here's How.

Steven Pifer and Francis Fukuyama join Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast to discuss Ukraine’s progress in the war, Crimea’s strategic importance, and the ongoing need for Western support in the conflict.
cover link The War in Ukraine Will Continue to Evolve. Here's How.
The flag of Taiwan flies over a military monunment in Kinmen, Taiwan.
Commentary

Understanding the Stakes in Taiwan

Larry Diamond and Oriana Skylar Mastro join Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast to discuss China’s ambitions against Taiwan, and how the U.S. and its allies can deter Beijing.
cover link Understanding the Stakes in Taiwan