• Articles,  Publications,  War on the Rocks,  Wilson Center

    OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF FREE INQUIRY AND DISCUSSION

    WOTR STAFF We, the undersigned, watched with worry the recent flurry of media and social-media speculation about a possible appointment to the National Security Council. This concerned Matthew Rojansky, the Director of the Woodrow Wilson’s Kennan Institute, a leading national center dedicated to the study of Russia and Eurasia. The personal attacks on Mr. Rojansky were intended simultaneously to damage Mr. Rojansky’s reputation and to shut down policy debate. We see all of this as very dangerous. The media coverage and the social-media activity on this topic failed to meet the criteria of real journalism and of reasoned public debate. Baseless accusations were levied, some outlandish (of Mr. Rojansky as…

  • Articles,  Wilson Center

    The Russian Military Buildup on Ukraine’s Border | An Expert Analysis

    For the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, pressure has been building up at several levels over recent years. At the macro level, Russia’s relations with the United States (and, by extension, NATO) have deteriorated significantly as a result of the continuous flow of Russian disruptive and adversarial actions since its invasion of Ukraine in 2014. These actions include the U.S. presidential election hacks of 2016 that especially polarized the U.S. democratic landscape regarding Russia; Russian actions in Syria; the undermining of European institutions; the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom; the poisoning, arrest, and incarceration of dissident Alexei Navalny; the SolarWinds hack; and reports of specific meddling in…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Urgent: Extend New START treaty with Russia now

    I was heartened to see the new Biden administration publicly announce its strong interest to immediately extend the strategic New START nuclear treaty with Russia that is set to expire next week, on Feb. 5. This came after Biden announced his commitment to philosophically and substantively reenter the multi-national world by rejoining The Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. Undoubtedly the White House is consulting closely with our close NATO allies, who are almost certainly greatly relieved by President Joe Biden’s accession to office. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also stated several times Russia’s openness to extend the treaty. Other than the ongoing battle with the implacable Coronavirus and grappling with our…

  • Articles,  Uncategorized,  Wilson Center

    Biden Administration to Seek Five-year Extension on START

    With the onset of the Biden Administration we are at an early pivotal moment with Russia. So it was good to hear the Biden team’s interest in extending New START, as well as the Putin regime’s interest. While relations are terrible and distrust high, the imminent expiration on February 5th of the strategic nuclear New START treaty provides a fleeting opportunity for Moscow and Washington to together seize the high ground on a truly existential issue facing our nations and the world today. Both Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, no strangers, deeply distrust one another based on jagged prior history.  Despite this, they have within their mandate, the opportunity…

  • Articles,  Publications,  The Hill

    Closing the remaining US consulates in Russia is shortsighted

    Lost in the swirl of American post-election chaos, culminating in the appalling storming of the U.S. Capitol, and the reported major Russian cyber hacks was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s notification to Congress on Dec. 10 about the State Department’s decision to close its remaining two consulates in Russia. The U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East (RFE) distantly located from Moscow, would be fully shuttered, while the other in centrally located Ekaterinburg, suspended. The cited staffing issues relate to the 2017 tit-for-tat downsizing of diplomatic personnel and missions in the U.S. and Russia, as well as related cost challenges. To be clear: This is a unilateral U.S. decision. It must be emphasized…

  • Articles,  Defense One,  Publications

    Donald Trump is No Jack Kennedy. Or Khrushchev.

    The president lacks the experience, character, credibility, and confidence to navigate our country through a Cuban Missile Crisis. We need Joe Biden. By CHARLIE MARTINEZ, NANCY SODERBERG and PETER ZWACK The world teetered on the brink of nuclear catastrophe 58 years ago this month. The 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962 tested the maturity and wisdom of the nuclear-armed United States and Soviet Union at a time when mutual distrust and suspicion ruled the day. One of us was a boy in Miami then and still has strong memories of how close we came to nuclear war. What ultimately saved us all was a deep appreciation by President…

  • Articles,  Politico

    Is President Donald Trump a Flight Risk? Yes, this sounds like a B-grade spy novel. But consider the evidence.

    He said it. Earlier this month, at a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, President Donald Trump mused aloud to the crowd about what he might do if he loses the election on November 3. “Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know,” Trump said. Was the statement merely a sour-grapes throwaway line by a cantankerous candidate facing potential defeat? Or was it a signal that Trump might actually abandon—some would say flee—our shores and seek refuge elsewhere if he is routed by a Joe Biden victory? During my long military intelligence career I spent countless hours with my peers working on diverse “What if … ?” contingency scenarios…

  • Articles,  CNN,  Publications

    Two men whose fates differed under Trump’s twisted take on justice

    Rachel Vindman’s CNN interview on Monday was a tour de force of grace, courage and patriotism. After her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, testified during the House impeachment hearings in October 2019, the Vindmans became the target of vile threats and thuggish retaliation that no American family should have to endure. The most vocal detractor was President Donald Trump, who took aim at Vindman for daring to speak up. In the year since the impeachment hearings, the Vindman family has been harassed and threatened online and by mail by Trump supporters. “What happened to us could happen to anyone,” Rachel Vindman calmly warns listeners in a new political ad by The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican campaign organization.…

  • Articles,  National Interest,  Publications

    The Nuances of Navigating a Politically Charged Northeast Asia

    Seventy-five years ago, on Sept. 2, 1945, dignitaries from nine Allied Powers boarded the USS Missouri to bear witness to history. Three days earlier, the magnificent warship had entered Tokyo Bay. It was flying the same flag flown over the White House on December 7, 1941, the day of the surprise Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II. Now, almost four years after the attack, a small Japanese delegation joined the gathering on the deck of the USS Missouri and, at the invitation of Gen. Douglas McArthur, two members signed a brief document proclaiming “unconditional surrender … of all Japanese armed forces.” In twenty-three minutes, with a few pen strokes and polite ceremony,…