International Relations

The Hope of Partnership

Stephen Cohen is professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and the author of several books on Russia and the Former Soviet Union. He was recently awarded the highest state honor given to foreigners, the Order of Friendship, “for his large contribution to strengthening Russian-American cooperation,” by the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. “In effect, we are in a new Cold War today and we need anti-Cold War presidents… The two sides view each other as enemies. What we have to hope for is that the leadership on both sides has the wisdom, the vision and the power to change that, because in foreign policy, more than in domestic policy, leaders matters most. If they don’t, we are in deep trouble.”  

-- 05/07 >>>

Resetting the Relationship

Blair Ruble is the Director of the Kennan Institute, covering Russia and the surrounding states, at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International scholars. He is also the Chair of the Comparative Urban Studies Project. “Ideology is a lens through which we all act; I don’t think there is any doubt about that. We can say that ideology might not matter, but certainly in terms of Russia and the United States we face very critical and practical issues right now. We don’t have the luxury of putting on ideological blinders and having them lead us through.” -- 04/10 >>>

Who Should Press the Reset Button?

Dr. Stephen Blank is a Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute United States Army War College, specializing in Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe. His two most recent books are Russo-Chinese Energy Relations: Politics in Command, and Natural Allies?: Regional Security in Asia and Prospects for Indo-American Strategic Cooperation. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. “What Russia is demanding right now from the United States is essentially surrender. No missile defense, no NATO enlargement, and recognition of Russia as a hegemon with a privileged influence in the CIS and in Afghanistan.”

-- 03/20 >>>

Soviet Collapse and Russia’s Path to the Present

Stephen Kotkin is a Professor of European history and Director of Russian Studies at Princeton University. He has written a two-volume study on the rise and fall of Soviet socialism as seen through the example of an industrial town—Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization and Steeltown USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era. “Most empires collapse with tremendous violence. So it’s already a big achievement that the Soviet Union collapsed more or less peacefully. That’s a big achievement not just for Russia but for everybody in the world.”

-- 03/13 >>>

The “Great Game” is Over

S. Frederick Starr is a Research Professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is the founding chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program. Starr is the author of 20 books and more than 200 articles on Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia. “Why should Central Asia in the 21-st century be discussed in the colonial terms of the 19-th century? Yet that is exactly what many persist in doing. And where the Central Asians are absolutely united among themselves, and rightfully so, is in their insistence that they be enabled to practice self government on a national and regional basis, without being controlled from the outside.” -- 02/06 >>>

Piracy in Focus: Perspective of a Political Analyst

Peter Chalk (Ph.D. in Political Science, University of British Columbia, Canada) is a senior political analyst at the Rand Corporation, dealing with transnational security threats, evolving trends in national and international terrorism, and international organized crime. “The reason I think that piracy has emerged in the news at the moment is twofold. First, because it’s occurring in a geopolitically strategic area of the world, mainly off the horn of Africa, which has immediate implications for what is going on around the Arabian Peninsula. Second, because the capabilities of the pirates today seem to have expanded considerably from what they were in the past.” -- 01/22 >>>

American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia

Interview with Timotheos Tzouladis, author of “The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia.” A graduate of Oxford, he subsequently pursued a career as a documentary filmmaker and television journalist whose work has appeared on NBC and National Geographic television. “In the Soviet camps, no photography was ever allowed, so it was only this kind of secondary form of documentation by taking pictures of the victims, and these pictures were in the archives and they had been stamped secret, for whatever reason, during the war. And that, for me, was perhaps the lowest moment but also the most insightful, because it gave a very clear meaning to what Stalinism was actually all about.”

-- 01/21 >>>

Future for secessionism

Anne Dos Santos, professor at University of California, discusses the future of  secessionism: “The fact that the United States and about 45 other countries have so easily recognized Kosovo as an independent country does set a precedent for other countries. I’m surprised that Russia has gone ahead and recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia when it has its own Chechen rebels demanding independence from Russia.”

-- 09/26 >>>

The Soviet Car and Stalin’s Role in History

Interview with Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Ph.D, Professor of History at Michigan State University, who is also the author of numerous books about the Soviet history. In one of his last books, “Cars for Comrades: The life of the Soviet automobile” , Professor Siegelbaum comments: “…I was searching for a way of approaching Soviet history that would be different; not so much as it has been traditionally the case, from above, or as social historians including myself had written about Soviet history previously, from below, but, one could say, from the side. It seemed to me that cars were really quite fundamental to the tussle over what a modern Soviet society really should be..."

-- 08/22 >>>

Resurrecting the Second World

Parag Khanna discusses his new book, “The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.” -- 07/25 >>>