John W. Parker joined the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in January 2010, transitioning to adjunct status in January 2013. From 1971-73, he worked for the U.S. Information Agency and was attached to the cultural exchange exhibit “R&D – USA” in the Soviet Union for all of 1972. From 1974-2010, he served in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), where he was Deputy Office Director and Chief of the Division for Caucasus and Central Asia in the Office for Russian and Eurasian Analysis beginning in 1992. Dr. Parker has served two tours at the American Embassy in Moscow, 1978-80 and 1989-91, and was a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1999-2000.

Project Summary

The project will analyze the underlying principles, motivations, and swings in Russia’s reaction to the Arab Spring, assessing the shifting mix of domestic and external drivers, equities, and dynamics. By way of background, it will review Russian policy toward the Middle East during Putin’s first two terms, both before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and after the Iranian-supported Lebanese Hezbollah war with Israel in 2006. It will also examine what to expect next, implications for U.S. policy, and areas of overlapping interests that could be the basis for U.S.-Russian cooperation going forward. It will draw upon the author’s interviews with Russian experts, press reporting and analysis, and secondary literature.

Major Publications

  • “Russia and the Iranian Nuclear Program: Replay or Breakthrough?” INSS-NDU, March 2012.
  •  Persian Dreams: Moscow and Tehran Since the Fall of the Shah, Potomac Books, 2009.
  •  Kremlin in Transition (2 vols), Unwin Hyman, 1991.

Previous Terms

Oct 1, 1999-Sep 1, 2000, "Russia-Iran-Tajikistan" | Looked at the evolution of Russian-Iranian relations throughout the 90s, and assessed prospects for the future. Focused on how both countries balanced their competition in Tajikistan with their cooperation in nuclear technology and weapons sale.