U.S. Politics

American Politics Caught in a “Russian Trap”

Well-informed American friends once told me that a campaign that highlighted “getting along” with Russia and heaped praises on a Russian leader would be impossible in the United States. There is no constituency that wants it, I was told, and there are lots of constituencies that do not want it: Baltic, Polish, Ukrainian communities; former Cold Warriors among the punditry; and all kinds of people influenced by the bad press Russia habitually gets.

A “Trump Doctrine” on Russia and Ukraine?

As part of its “mainstreaming Russia expertise” project, the Kennan Institute is sending experts on Russia to the 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions to assess the potential new administrations’ vision for their relationship with Russia and Ukraine. E. Wayne Merry is a Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council and former Political Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

In DNC's Russia Controversy, Finger-pointing Trumps Analysis

As part of its “mainstreaming Russia expertise” project, the Kennan Institute sent experts on Russia to the 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions to assess the potential new administrations’ vision for their relationship with Russia and Ukraine. E. Wayne Merry is a Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council and former Political Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

A New Era in US-Cuba Relations

A new era in US-Cuba relations began in 2014 when Presidents Obama and Castro announced a process of normalizing the relationship between the hemispheric neighbors following decades of tensions. National Security Advisor Susan Rice visited the Wilson Center to announce the latest steps in that process. She also discussed the historic significance of the new era with Wilson Center Director, President and CEO, Jane Harman.

Speakers
Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, Wilson Center
Ambassador Susan E. Rice, National Security Advisor

The Stunning Audacity of Putin’s Cash Demands

The standard policy prescription for Washington’s dealings with Russia is situational: Agree to disagree on certain issues, but try to find areas where cooperation is possible.

The areas where the two nations can cooperate, however, have drastically diminished over the past week.

The United States on October 7 demanded a war crimes investigation of Russia for its air strikes in Syria, particularly in Aleppo. Washington also formally accused Russian government-sponsored hackers of direct interference in the U.S. presidential election.

America’s Russia Policy Has Failed

By any number of measures, Washington’s Russia policy has failed. While ostensibly suffering from diplomatic and economic isolation under a U.S.-led international sanctions regime, Moscow has succeeded in challenging a wide range of American interests, most notably in Ukraine, Syria, and cyberspace. Coming up with a new approach on Russia should therefore be a top priority for either President Hillary Clinton or President Donald Trump soon after Jan. 20, 2017.

Election 2016: Russia and the Next US President

Beyond the campaign, a new US President will need to deal with Vladimir Putin’s Russia with more than rhetoric. Kennan Institute Director Matt Rojanksy frames the challenge facing the next administration.

Going Beyond Sanctions to Denuclearize North Korea

Summary 

While denuclearization should remain the goal of U.S. policy, freezing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs should be a priority. However, sanctions alone will not be enough to get North Korea to freeze these activities.

Policy Recommendations:

Recognizing the limits of sanctions on North Korea:

U.S. Policy in South Asia: Imperatives and Challenges

Summary

Sustained bilateral and multilateral U.S. engagement in South Asia is of the essence. Three major factors amplify the importance of placing South Asia on the crowded front burner of U.S. foreign policy priorities: Threats to stability emanating from the region, the overall strategic significance of South Asia, and several notable geopolitical shifts. These shifts are the U.S. combat withdrawal from Afghanistan, an accelerating American rebalance to Asia, and resilient and expanding global terrorist networks.

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