• Articles,  National Defense University

    Deep Scars on the Russia Soul

    Russia’s geography is primarily terrestrial, without significant warm water access to large bodies of water or strategic waterways. This factor drove some of its earliest Czarist-era and Soviet expansionist behaviors. The melting Arctic ice, with the gradual opening of the Northern Sea Route, was not part of this earlier calculus. Ever since the Mongols erupted out of Asia in the 1200s and overran much of the west, including slaughtering and enslaving medieval Rus, the site of present-day Kyiv, the Russians have been in an existential, land-centric wedge beset by threats from every quarter. This was brought about, in part, by its own expansion that, by the late 1500s, had tenuously…

  • Articles,  PRISM

    Russia’s Contradictory Relationship with the West

    Peter Zwack is the Senior Russia-Eurasia Research Fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute of National Security Studies. He is a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and served as the U.S. Defense Attaché in Moscow, Russia from 2012 – 2014. Prelude: Recalling Operation Long Thrust On August 20, 1961, an American armored battle group of the 18th Infantry Regiment stationed in West Germany crossed the heavily militarized border at Helmstedt and rolled its way approximately 100 miles along the autobahn across Soviet-controlled East Germany into West Berlin. Too small to be an offensive threat, but formidable enough to be serious, Operation Long Thrust skirted the fine line between resolute deterrence…