• Articles,  Blog,  Publications,  Washington Post

    Alexander Vindman: Soviet emigre and decorated U.S. Army officer wanted to be as American as can be. Now the president questions his motives.

    By Marc Fisher November 8, 2019 at 4:31 p.m. EST His father gave up everything to escape from communism, an overbearing government, anti-Semitism and the painfully narrowed opportunities that Jews faced in the Soviet Union. Alexander Vindman grew up in Brooklyn, determined to be as American as can be. Now Vindman is suddenly a crucial figure in a controversy that could lead to the impeachment of President Trump — hailed by many of Trump’s critics as a patriotic truth-teller yet dismissed by the president and some of his allies as a disloyal tattler who is somehow not fully American. Vindman and his identical twin, Yevgeny, were not quite 4 when they landed…

  • Articles,  New York Times,  Publications

    Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and the Questioning of an American Jew’s Patriotism

    One June evening in 2013, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time, welcomed his guests from the GRU (Russian military intelligence) for a dinner in the American embassy compound in Moscow. General Igor Sergun, head of the GRU, arrived with two of his generals and an interpreter at the embassy home of Army brigadier general Peter Zwack, who was the American defense attaché. That night, Russian and American military intelligence officers, who had long been suspicious of one another, tried to put a good face on things. At the time, the Obama administration’s initiative to “reset” relations with Russia was floundering. Pro-democracy protests in Moscow had President…

  • Articles,  INSS

    Russian Challenges from Now into the Next Generation: A Geostrategic Primer

    U.S. and Western relations with Russia remain challenged as Russia increasingly reasserts itself on the global stage. Russia remains driven by a worldview based on existential threats—real, perceived, and contrived. As a vast, 11-time zone Eurasian nation with major demographic and economic challenges, Russia faces multiple security dilemmas internally and along its vulnerable and expansive borders. Exhibiting a reactive xenophobia stemming from a long history of destructive war and invasion along most of its borders, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and perceived Western slights, Russia increasingly threatens others and lashes outward. However, time is not on Russia’s side, as it has…

  • Articles,  The Hill

    Pearl Harbor and the fallacy of inevitable war: The Thucydides trap

    More than 2,500 years ago, Greek historian Thucydides summed up the origin of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) in a single sentence: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this inspired in Sparta that made war inevitable.” I contemplated that last word — inevitable — during a recent visit to the Arizona battleship memorial at Pearl Harbor.

  • Articles,  The Cipher Brief

    Russia and China’s Growing Military Interaction; Surprised?

    Why does Russia place such emphasis and media attention on incredibly large military exercises with China? Russia and China’s Growing Military Interaction; Surprised? The drums are already rolling for the upcoming Russian “Vostok” (east) wargames commencing on September 11. With its focal point in the Trans-Baikal region of eastern Siberia adjoining Chinese Manchuria and Mongolia, this is a nationwide Russian military and societal event.

  • Articles,  National Interest

    These Are the High Stakes of the NATO and Trump-Putin Summits

    Trump and America’s allies must stand firm while also not sleep-walking into war. The summit between President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin scheduled for July 16 in Helsinki is now a certainty. While all such encounters between the United States and Russia carry strategic weight, this one is crucial. The Russian meeting is preceded by Trump’s fraught attendance at the July 11–12 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit and a next-day visit to an uneasy United Kingdom. This means the Helsinki summit will climax what may prove to be the most-important six-day period so far this century. Every foreign power —not least, China—will watch closely. President Vladimir Putin’s …

  • Articles,  The Cipher Brief

    Russia’s Looming Military Exercise: A 21st Century Trojan Horse?

    Beginning Thursday, as many as 100,000 Russian and Belarusian troops will launch major military exercises along the border of three NATO countries. Russia’s upcoming Zapad military exercise, which will simulate a response to an attempted overthrow of the Belarusian government by an insurgency unfriendly to Russia, has European countries and the United States on edge at a time when relations between the NATO alliance and Moscow are colder than ever. Zapad has the potential to be the country’s largest military exercise since the Cold War – despite Russian claims that only roughly 13,000 troops will participate, Western defense officials have put forward estimates closer to 100,000. Many suspect the Russians…