Lee Feinstein

From KeyWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Lee Feinstein

Lee Feinstein a former senior official in the Obama and Clinton administrations, was the United States ambassador to Poland from 2009 to 2012.

Moscow sojourn

Lee Feinstein studied at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow in Jan-March 1980 with a group of about 2 dozen college students from around the United States. The party arrived there just days after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The situation was very tense and some students tried to get news from a shortwave radio that one of the other students had brought. One student diaried that Lee Feinstein (who was about 20 or 21 at the time) told them not to listen to BBC or VOA because it was a bunch of propaganda.

Feinstein met a girlfriend, Yulia, within a couple of weeks after the party arrived in Moscow. He said she was the daughter of a senior government or Communist Party official , and he spent a lot of time at their apartment. Feinstein said she was half Jewish, and that she had been the girlfriend of Russian ballet star Alexander Godunov, who had defected to the US several months earlier. Yulia spoke very good English. When the party left Moscow, Lee Feinstein was already making plans to return there that summer. He was the only student from the group who was planning on returning so soon.


Feinstein was Assistant Director for Research at the Arms Control Association in Washington from 1989 to 1994 before joining the Clinton administration in February 1994. Feinstein was Senior Advisor for Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1995 at the Department of Defense before joining the Department of State, where he served as Principle Deputy Director and Member of the Policy Planning Staff from 1995 to 2001.

Feinstein joined the Carnegie Endowment Non-Proliferation Project as a visiting scholar in April 2001. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1994, Feinstein also has served CRF as Deputy Director of Studies, Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy and International Law, and Executive Director of the Task Force Program from 2002 to 2007. He also served as co-director of CFR's nonpartisan Enhancing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations Independent Task Force.

Feinstein was also an advisor to the congressionally mandated Task Force on the United Nations, chaired by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Senator George Mitchell, now Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.

In 2008, Feinstein joined the Brookings Institution as Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies. From 2007 to 2008 he was national security director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and was later an outside foreign policy advisor to the Barack Obama campaign. Feinstein went on leave from the Brookings Institution in 2009 to become Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary under Secretary Clinton in the new administration of President Barack Obama.

Feinstein is admitted to the bars of New York and Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Kosciuszko Foundation in New York and a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He is also a member of the international commission to build a Memorial to Poland's Righteous at the site of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. [1]

Obama appointment

In July 2009 Lee Feinstein was nominated[2]by the Obama administration for the position of Ambassador to Poland in the DOS.

On July 17, 2009, President Obama announced that he intended to nominate Feinstein as Ambassador to Poland. Feinstein's appointment was notable in that he is viewed as a Clinton loyalist, and the Foreign Policy blog had earlier speculated the post would go to Obama advisor Mark Brzezinski. Feinstein was formally nominated on July 20, 2009 and was confirmed by the Senate on September 22, 2009 by unanimous consent. On October 20, 2009, Ambassador Feinstein presented his credentials to the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński.

During his tenure, Feinstein signed an agreement to establish a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachement in Poland, the first permanent presence of U.S. forces in the country. He also signed an agreement, witnessed by Secretary Clinton, to establish missile defenses in Poland under the NATO Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense. Feinstein co-sponsored with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski an international conference on the potential development of Poland's natural gas resources.

Feinstein served as ambassador in Poland from October 2009 to October 2012, announcing in July 2012, that he would be retiring from his position. The embassy announced that Stephen D. Mull would be his replacement


Feinstein has written widely on foreign policy and national security. He is the author of "Means to an End: U.S. Interest and the International Criminal Court" (Brookings, 2009) with Tod Lindberg of the Hoover Institution. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Princeton University Professor John Ikenberry said, “Books of this sort are all too rare. Two experienced policy intellectuals, one liberal, one conservative, have come together to find common ground on a controversial foreign policy issue.” [3].

An international lawyer, Feinstein wrote the Council on Foreign Relations report “Darfur and Beyond: What Is Needed to Prevent Mass Atrocities,” which was featured in the Emmy Award-winning multimedia council project "Crisis Guide-Darfur."

Feinstein is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and op-eds, and he is a frequent commentator for the national and international media. His writings include “UN Divided” in the National Interest and “A Duty to Prevent,” written with Anne-Marie Slaughter in Foreign Affairs. His book chapters include: “Darfur and Beyond: What Is Needed to Prevent Mass Atrocities” in Beyond Humanitarianism (Council on Foreign Relations, 2007) and “Beyond Words: U.S. Policy and the Responsibility to Protect” in The Responsibility to Protect: the Global Moral Compact for the 21st Century (Palgravem 2008).

Feinstein was a principle author and human rights expert appointed to the 2005 congressionally mandated Gingrich-Mitchell task force on the United Nations, which issued the report: “American Interests and UN Reform: Report of the Task Force on the United Nations," United States Institute of Peace. Feinstein also was co-director with Adrian Karatnycky of the “Report of the Independent Task Force on the United Nations,” co-sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and Freedom House, and co-directed by Rep. David Dreier and Rep. Lee Hamilton (2003).


  1. [ "Zygmunt Rolat on Poland's Righteous Gentiles Memorial - See more at: http://www.thenews.pl/1/6/Artykul/153546,Zygmunt-Rolat-on-Polands-Righteous-Gentiles-Memorial#sthash.XvpQw4mE.dpuf". Polskie Radio. Retrieved 12/3/13.]
  2. Nominations and appointments
  3. [Ikenberry, G. John (May/June 2010). "Means to an End: U.S. Interest in the International Criminal Court". Foreign Affairs]