The Great Debate

25 years after its fall, Vladimir Putin puts Berlin Wall’s lessons front and center

By Lucian Kim
November 7, 2014

East German citizens climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate after the opening of the border was announced

On Nov. 9, Germans will celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the most beautiful moments in their troubled history: the day that ordinary people, with ordinary aspirations, brought down the Berlin Wall. Not a shot was fired, not a drop of blood was shed, and in less than a year, divided Germany was reunited, paving the way for the reunification of a continent cut in two by the Cold War.

A NATO ally stays on sidelines of fight against Islamic State

By Andrew Finkel
September 18, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as he hosts a bilateral meeting with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan during the NATO Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, in the United Kingdom

Few countries are in a better position than Turkey to help the United States fight Islamic State. The moderate Islamic country shares a 750 mile border with Syria, is a NATO member and a long-time ally of America. But don’t hold your breath for Turkey’s support.

Russians love their children, too – but that alone won’t stop a nuclear war

By Masha Gessen
September 16, 2014


Back when most of today’s Western decision-makers were in college, Sting had a hit song with “Russians.” It began:

NATO could have trouble combating Putin’s military strategy

By David Axe and Robert Beckhusen
September 15, 2014

A Canadian Air Task Force jets CF-18 stands in the Siauliai air base

Since Russian troops seized Ukraine’s strategic Crimean peninsula in late February, and separatists backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin began waging a bloody insurgency in the country’s east, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has walked a fine line.

Plans to stop Russia show NATO and the West are in denial

By Masha Gessen
September 4, 2014


For more than six months now, since Russia annexed Crimea, Western politicians and analysts have been asking what can make Vladimir Putin stop or retreat. It’s the wrong question, and the policies that have flowed from the resulting debate have been misguided, because they are based on the fallacy that the West can do something to influence Putin’s actions.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

World War One: First war was impossible, then inevitable

By Anatole Kaletsky
June 27, 2014

British troops advance during the battle of the Somme in this 1916 handout picture

Why does the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand -- the event that lit the fuse of World War One 100 years ago Saturday -- still resonate so powerfully? Virtually nobody believes World War Three will be triggered by recent the military conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq or the China seas, yet many factors today mirror those that led to the catastrophe in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.

No matter what Putin says — Russian people have no appetite for war

By Matthew Rojansky and Kenneth Yalowitz
June 25, 2014

People attend a rally called "We are together" to support the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea to Russia in Red Square in central Moscow

Russia and the West are again at odds, eying each other with suspicion over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support of armed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Basic rules of the game for security, stability and prosperity in Europe and beyond are at stake. Some commentators are calling this a “new Cold War.”

U.S. v Russia: Searching for Kennan

By Nina Khrushcheva
April 28, 2014

No matter how counterintuitive it may seem, Washington needs to stop lecturing Russian President Vladimir Putin if it wants to resolve problems with him.

To punish Putin, help Ukraine

By Steven Pifer
March 17, 2014

Sunday’s referendum in Crimea and provocative Russian troop maneuvers have raised the Ukraine crisis to new heights.

The power of sanctions against Putin on Ukraine

March 3, 2014

In a crisis moving extremely fast, it is dangerous to say this, but I’m at least somewhat less concerned about this upheaval in Ukraine than other people seem to be, for a couple of reasons.