William Courtney

Photo of William Courtney
Adjunct Senior Fellow; Executive Director, RAND Business Leaders Forum
Washington Office

Education

Ph.D. in economics, Brown University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

More Experts

Overview

William Courtney is an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation and executive director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum.  In 2014 he retired from Computer Sciences Corporation as senior principal for federal policy strategy.  From 1972 through 1999, he was a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State.  He co-chaired the U.S. delegation to the review conference that prepared for the 1999 Summit in Istanbul of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  He advised on the reorganization of U.S. foreign affairs agencies, mandated by the Foreign Affairs Reform Act of 1999.  Earlier he served as special assistant to the President and senior director of the NSC staff for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; ambassador to Georgia, Kazakhstan, and the U.S.-Soviet Bilateral Consultative Commission to implement the Threshold Test Ban Treaty; and deputy U.S. negotiator in the U.S.-Soviet Defense and Space Talks in Geneva.  He served abroad in Brasilia, Moscow, Geneva, Almaty, and Tbilisi.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where in 1977-78 he was an international affairs fellow.  He is a member of the board of trustees of the Eurasia Foundation, and is a member and served on the boards of directors of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the World Affairs Council of Washington DC.  He graduated from West Virginia University with a B.A. and Brown University with a Ph.D. in economics. 

Languages

Russian

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC; CGTN, China Global Television Network; CNBC Cable Network; CNN International Online; CTV News, Canada; Fox News; KNX-AM; KPCC-FM AirTalk - Southern California Public; KPCC-FM Online; PRI, Public Radio International; Radio Free Europe; Voice of America, Georgian Service; Voice of America Radio Network Online

Commentary: Foreign Policy Concepts; Fox News Channel; The Moscow Times; The National Interest; Newsweek; Politico; Reuters; U.S. News & World Report; War on the Rocks; The Woodrow Wilson Center

Commentary

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Fox News after a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018

    Walking a Fine Line on Russian Sanctions

    The United States and its allies are increasingly frustrated over malign activities by Russia. This week the U.S. unveiled new sanctions, and is expected to impose even more in the future. But choosing sanctions requires care. Their purpose should be to penalize Russia for misbehavior, but not to isolate Russians.

    Aug 22, 2018 Reuters

  • Voters voting in polling place

    Here's How Russia Will Try to Interfere in the 2018 Elections

    Russia will threaten U.S. midterm elections in November, although by how much is unclear. Moscow might be more restrained this year, but it could be wilier.

    Aug 14, 2018 Fox News Channel

  • A Russian soldier near the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria, July 7, 2018

    Russia's Wars and Trump

    At the July 16 summit in Helsinki, President Trump might stress that the West will persist in imposing costs on Russia for current and any future malign interventions. At the same time, he could offer to work with Putin in the search for peace in Syria and Ukraine if Moscow were to decide to withdraw its forces.

    Jul 11, 2018 The Hill

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin walks before an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 7, 2018

    Western Unity Is Best for Russian Summitry

    In preparing for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump could benefit from a coordinated Western approach toward Moscow as a prelude. Absent this, his hand will be seriously weakened.

    Jul 5, 2018 The American Interest

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Trump and Putin Should Start Small at Helsinki Summit

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first formal summit on July 16. Their agenda will likely include the main sources of strain in relations, but they might find it easier to make concrete progress if they start with lower-profile issues as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan did at their first summit.

    Jul 2, 2018 Reuters

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2018, and in Panmunjom, South Korea, April 27, 2018, respectively

    Six Lessons for Today from Past Summits

    To prepare for possible meetings with his North Korean and Russian counterparts, President Trump can learn lessons from decades of high-profile summits between U.S. presidents and Kremlin leaders.

    Jun 5, 2018 Fox News Channel

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) shakes hands with Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the State Department in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2018

    Where Is Georgia Headed?

    Since its renewed independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has made steady progress toward full European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and stabilized relations with Russia. Continuing on this path is a key test of whether it is still possible for reforming former Soviet countries to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community.

    May 23, 2018 The National Interest

  • Vladimir Putin is sworn in as president during an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2018

    How Russia's Blunders Abroad Have Galvanized Europe

    Russia overrates the efficacy of the military and underrates political and economic assets. Through this outdated prism the Kremlin sees Europe as America's weak sister. This miscalculation has led Russia repeatedly to err, as shown by decades of frustrated efforts to divide Europeans and split them from the U.S.

    May 10, 2018 The Moscow Times

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin walks down the stairs after an inauguration ceremony in Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2018

    Russia Chooses Autarchy—and Isolation—Over Cooperation

    Russia says it is ending a centuries-long quest to join the West and preparing for “100 years of geopolitical solitude.” If Russia goes this way it will be because of its own unwise policies, not a Western cold shoulder.

    May 7, 2018 The Cipher Brief

  • A police notice is attached to screening surrounding a restaurant which was visited by former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia before they were found on a park bench after being poisoned in Salisbury, Britain, March 19, 2018

    Arms Control Hostage to Skripal and Syria Attacks

    Two prominent poisoning assassination attempts and Kremlin denials of gas attacks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad raise doubts about Moscow's commitment to the purposes of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Never has the future of negotiated arms control involving Russia been at greater risk.

    Apr 19, 2018 RealClearDefense

  • The U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2018

    Moscow Is Going Too Far

    Russia has become more daring with the West with its retaliatory expulsions and may face a high price. An angered West could turn from expulsions to economic countermeasures.

    Apr 3, 2018 The Hill

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with co-chairs of his campaign office at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2018

    Putin Can Learn from Gorbachev on How to Gain from Future U.S. Talks

    Vladimir Putin has won a flawed election to a fourth term as Russia's president, and Donald Trump has suggested the two will likely meet soon. For the Kremlin leader, however, a summit may draw shortcomings into sharper relief. If the two presidents meet, several key issues will await them.

    Mar 22, 2018 The Hill

  • People walk next to an election campaign poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Stavropol, Russia, March 14, 2018

    Putin's Boasting About Nuclear Weapons Won't Help Him in the Russian Election

    In a March 1 address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked Soviet-era exaggeration, proclaiming barely feasible economic and social goals and boasting of nuclear arms that are unlikely to change the strategic balance. Continued exaggeration could sap public confidence in the legitimacy of Russia's ruling system and leaders.

    Mar 15, 2018 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with scientists, representing the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Novosibirsk, Russia February 8, 2018

    Free Lunches for Adversaries

    When leaders take actions that are unpopular with wide audiences, propagandists have it easy. While Western leaders should not make propaganda potential the primary factor when weighing policy decisions, neither should they wholly disregard the opportunities that unpopular policies will offer adversaries.

    Feb 13, 2018 U.S. News & World Report

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, November 1, 2017

    Iran's Efforts to Create Instability Abroad Have Led to Protests at Home

    Iran has spent billions of dollars in its quest to be a regional leader, but its main achievement has been to spark instability across a wide swath of the Middle East. Ordinary Iranians are struggling and protesters are urging a retreat from costly foreign fights and more aid at home.

    Jan 12, 2018 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Gennady Timchenko, founder and owner of a privately held investment vehicle Volga Group, visit a new concert hall of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2017

    Not All Russian Oligarchs Are Alike

    The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury must report to Congress the main “oligarchs” in Russia, judged by their closeness to the “regime” and net worth. This broad approach, not aimed at specific wrongdoers, poses several risks.

    Jan 8, 2018 The Hill

  • Rates of currencies are displayed at a currency exchange in Warsaw, Poland, on June 24, 2016, the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union

    Why Political Risks May Dampen World Economies in 2018

    The world economy has reached its strongest point since the global financial crisis a decade ago. But rising political risks may cloud prospects in 2018 and perhaps beyond.

    Jan 7, 2018 Fox News Channel

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria, December 11, 2017

    Russia Trapped in Syria

    Russia alone can neither guarantee the future security of Syria nor mobilize the resources to enable it to recover and rebuild. Only by linking arms with the international community to edge out Iran, forge broader-based governance and spur economic growth can Russia hope to achieve lasting success in Syria.

    Dec 20, 2017 The Cipher Brief

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a briefing for reporters at the end of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017

    Kremlin Untruths Boomerang

    The main sources of strain in Moscow's ties with the West are actions, such as Russia's aggression in Ukraine. But untruths add fuel to the fire and can provoke stronger Western reactions and impede the search for solutions.

    Dec 4, 2017 Real Clear World

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron meet during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 8, 2017

    Europe's Hour Is Here

    Since World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom have played disproportionate roles in dealing with Russia. Now continental Europe must assume more of the burden in advancing Western values and interests with an unpredictable and at times unruly Moscow.

    Sep 16, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Georgia's President Georgy Margvelashvili walks after addressing the first session of the newly elected parliament in Kutaisi, Georgia, November 18, 2016.

    Georgia Wants Reassurance That America Will Help Deter Russia

    Georgia is an emerging democracy in a difficult region with mainly authoritarian regimes nearby. To overcome severe challenges from Russian military occupation and economic weakness, it deserves sustained Western support.

    May 25, 2017 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Moscow, June 29, 2015

    How the West Can Press Putin to Keep Assad in Order

    Moscow has achieved tactical successes in Syria, but without Western and regional help, its long-term strategic interests could be at risk. Denying strong evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with sarin gas makes it harder for Moscow to obtain the Western and regional help it needs to secure its interests there.

    Apr 24, 2017 Newsweek

  • Law enforcement officers walk during a gathering denouncing the new tax on those not in full-time employment in Minsk, Belarus, March 25, 2017

    Belarus: Between Russia and the West

    Public demonstrations in Minsk and across Russia hint that winds of political change and disillusionment with stagnation and corruption may be reaching both countries. Their leaders will blame the West, try to ride out the protests and, despite differences, will likely stick together.

    Mar 29, 2017 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference in Moscow, March 10, 2017

    How Putin Ensnares

    President Vladimir Putin is Russia's charmer-in-chief, with years of experience in high-level diplomacy. As part of Russia's influence operations, Putin may seek to entice or suborn Western leaders. How might he try to win them over?

    Mar 18, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Moscow, Russia February 23, 2017

    How to Partner with Putin

    Improving relations with Russia is a worthy goal. President Donald Trump could seek to partner with Moscow on some issues, like North Korea, while keeping up heat on others, such as aggression in Ukraine.

    Mar 4, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2016

    No Quick Fix with Russia

    A series of small steps is more likely to improve Western and Russian security than an attempt at a total reset. At the same time, sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and NATO actions to reassure and protect allies, must continue.

    Jan 3, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016

    Can Trump Make a Deal with Putin?

    If executed properly, President-elect Trump's diplomacy could help reverse a destabilizing downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations and create a vision of what normal relations might entail.

    Dec 5, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Donald Trump arrives at his election night rally at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, November 9, 2016

    Can Trump Really Do Deals with Vladimir Putin?

    Russia is a declining economic power whose foreign policy has led to isolation and criticism. But Putin may have an inflated sense of Russia's importance and expect one-sided U.S. concessions. If so, diplomacy could run into headwinds early in the Trump administration.

    Nov 21, 2016 Newsweek

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013

    Righting Relations With Russia

    Russia's current anti-Western stridency coincides with rising internal repression. That may limit what the next U.S. president can do to improve relations.

    Oct 31, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • The sun sets over Aleppo, Syria as seen from the rebel-held part of the city, October 5, 2016

    Only the U.S. Can Save Syrians

    Washington must act soon to raise the costs of Syrian and Russian killing in Aleppo. Otherwise, the quarter-million people who live there could be in danger, and the Kremlin might think that it can mount further challenges to the West.

    Oct 6, 2016 USA Today

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a visitors' book at the former home of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana, September 8, 2016

    Russian Propaganda Is Pervasive, and America Is Behind the Power Curve in Countering It

    Even as Washington pursues cooperation with Moscow on Syria and other issues, America should expose Russia's obsession with propaganda and disinformation.

    Sep 13, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin watches honor guards during a wreath-laying ceremony near the Kremlin in Moscow, May 9, 2016

    The West Must Do Far More to Keep Putin at Bay

    Russia is more willing than the West to use military power, even though it has less of it. The West should reconsider whether its efforts to deter Russian military interference are enough.

    Aug 27, 2016 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2016

    How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West

    Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.

    Aug 1, 2016 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2016

    Putin Is Trying to Bully Europe into Dropping Sanctions

    Seeking relief from Western sanctions, the Kremlin is waging a campaign of public distortion and intimidation to split Europe from America, and Europeans from each other. But many of its tactics are clumsy and self-defeating.

    Jun 11, 2016 Newsweek

  • The Ukrainian national guard Azov regiment and activists of the Azov civil corp protest local elections in pro-Russian rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine under the Minsk peace agreement, May 20, 2016

    Russia's Great Power Choice

    The Donbas occupation is straining Russia's economy, world power status, and relationship with the West. Only by pulling out of eastern Ukraine and reforming its economy can Russia gain broader acceptance and reach its potential as a great power.

    Jun 1, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Paratroopers parachute into the opening ceremony of Exercise Noble Partner in Vaziani, Georgia, May 10, 2015

    Georgia's Delicate Foreign Policy Dance

    Given the dangerous environment and the small size and relative military weakness of Georgia, it wisely pursues a good neighbor policy in all directions. Still, the country must improve its defense posture and for Georgia, the main security balancer is the United States.

    May 25, 2016 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting dealing with the commissioning of military products at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, March 11, 2016

    How Russia Undermines Nuclear Security

    Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.

    Apr 1, 2016 The National Interest

  • The Moscow Kremlin, Russia

    Russia's Great Power Future

    A penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens Russia's stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.

    Mar 21, 2016 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 14, 2016

    The West Should Accommodate Russia to Secure Peace with Assad in Syria

    Effective and enduring political settlements result from quid pro quos, not irrational pursuit of one-sided advantage. Recognizing that contending parties have legitimate interests in the complex Syria conflict could help bring an end to a destructive war in a volatile but vital region.

    Mar 18, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • A civil defence member works at a site after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held Douma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, February 14, 2016

    Is a Syria Truce in Putin's Best Interest?

    Moscow remains ambivalent but the West and its Arab partners could improve cease-fire prospects in Syria. They will have to drive the peace process to maintain pressure for political accommodation and also do more to help the rebels they back avert a military imbalance.

    Feb 18, 2016 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin greets spectators at the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk

    The Tide Is Going Out on Putin

    Russia is losing ground in domestic politics, economics, and foreign policy. It could take steps to strengthen its position, such as withdrawing from Ukraine, privatizing inefficient state enterprises, and improving the investment climate.

    Jan 25, 2016 Newsweek

  • Georgy Kvirikashvili, who was nominated for the post of Georgia's prime minister on December 25 after Irakly Garibashvili resigned, delivers a speech on December 28, 2015

    Georgia Needs Support from the U.S. and the West

    Georgia is poised to make big changes to reinvigorate its democracy and economy, but it needs support to deter risks and advance progress. With one-fifth of its territory occupied by Russia and facing risks every day, Georgia needs more Western aid, including military training, technology, and defensive arms.

    Jan 5, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R), and UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura address the media in Vienna, Austria, November 14, 2015

    Bosnia Was Hard, Syria Is Harder

    To find peace in Syria, cooperation among outside powers will be an essential first step. But before going forward, the great powers should soberly assess prospects for an enduring peace accord, as well as the resources required.

    Nov 16, 2015 Foreign Policy Concepts

  • The remains of a Russian airliner that crashed are found near Al-Arish, Egypt, October 31, 2015

    Could the Russian Jet Crash in Egypt Prompt a Change of Direction for Putin and Russia?

    If ISIS was responsible for the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger jet, this may alter the strategic equation for Moscow.

    Nov 9, 2015 Fox News Channel

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, October 22, 2015

    The West Needs to Take a Tougher Line with Putin

    By responding more robustly to Russia's interventions, the West could reduce military asymmetries in Ukraine and Syria and improve prospects for negotiated outcomes.

    Nov 1, 2015 Newsweek

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, September 30, 2015

    What Is Putin Really Up to in Syria?

    Russia wants to be sure that it's not ignored if and when the West succeeds in implementing a broader, more effective solution to the Syria-Iraq-ISIL problem. This is a task far beyond Russia's capabilities, but one that America, the West, and regional powers may be able to accomplish.

    Oct 2, 2015 Politico

  • The three main members of the Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, meet in Astana March 20, 2015

    Eurasia Facing Tough Choices for the Future

    There is much to be said for Eurasia's rich ethnic, national, religious, and cultural diversity. In the economic sphere, however, Eurasians should reassess bad habits, such as weak property rights, centralized state control, and associated corruption.

    Aug 13, 2015 The Moscow Times

  • Protesters wave Armenian national flags during a rally against a hike in electricity prices in Yerevan, Armenia July 1, 2015

    It's Time to Reboot Our Relationship with Russia and Iran's Neighbors

    In implementing the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, the West cannot forget its engagement in the vulnerable South Caucasus. The Iran deal changes the equation for all three countries and perhaps opens new opportunities.

    Jul 28, 2015 Newsweek

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015

    Iran Deal or No Deal

    A U.S. rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement would send the wrong message, not only to Iran but also to America's closest allies, and it would not serve American interests in the region.

    Jul 22, 2015 War on the Rocks

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov (R) in Moscow, May 9, 2015

    Will Putin Gamble All on a Broader Ukraine Invasion?

    If the Kremlin is contemplating further action in Ukraine, it faces a tough choice. The decision could have an enduring impact on Russia's fortunes.

    May 26, 2015 Newsweek

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping at their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 8, 2015

    How Durable Is the China-Russia 'Friendship?'

    Though China and Russia share key economic interests and oppose what they claim to be a U.S.-dominated world order, their relationship over time promises to be uneven and tense.

    May 13, 2015 Reuters, The Great Debate blog

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015; he said Russian military forces were not in Ukraine, denying allegations that Moscow is providing troops and support for pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine

    Ukraine Crisis Is a Geopolitical Game Changer

    Russia's aggression abroad and repression at home have altered the basic assumptions of earlier Western policy. By misjudging the tolerance for aggression in Europe, Moscow is bringing on the encirclement it fears. The West is now better prepared to deal with any further aggression and more confident that Ukraine's future will be as part of an enlarged Europe.

    Apr 17, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, France's President Francois Hollande, and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko at peace talks in Minsk, February 11, 2015

    The Next European Flashpoints

    The West's most pressing task is to help Ukraine defend itself and survive economic catastrophe. But the West also needs a broader strategy to discourage future Russian coercion of neighbors, help them protect themselves, and counter President Vladimir Putin's false narrative about Western intentions and lack of political will.

    Feb 17, 2015 The National Interest

  • Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on armoured personnel carriers near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 12, 2015

    RAND Experts Discuss the Options for Ukraine

    A cease-fire agreement could stop the fighting in Ukraine by Sunday. RAND experts William Courtney and Olga Oliker discuss what was accomplished during the summit in Minsk, whether the U.S. should arm Ukraine, and what other options exist for supporting Ukraine.

    Feb 12, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanges documents with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, December 22, 2014

    Can Eurasian Energy Compete?

    Cheaper oil, government interference, and market dynamics jeopardize the future of Russian and Caspian energy. To be globally competitive, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan should let the private sector play a greater role and make more decisions on commercial, rather than political grounds.

    Jan 16, 2015 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014

    How Russia Can Recover from Its Economic and Strategic Decline

    Few expect that Moscow will cede Crimea or end its opposition to NATO expansion anytime soon. But Russia can still begin to reverse its strategic decline. Expanding opportunities for Russia's people, reforming the economy, and improving relations with neighbors are the way forward.

    Dec 24, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a speech at the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Nov. 26, 2014, during which she accuses Russia of violating international law with its interventions in Ukraine and said resolving the conflict would require patience

    The Greatest Challenge to U.S.-European Security Cooperation Today: The Ukraine Crisis

    Germany and America are leading Western policy in addressing the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The basic strategy is to support Ukraine and pressure Moscow to halt aggression, while leaving the door open to diplomacy. Sustaining Western unity is essential, but may not be easy to achieve.

    Dec 8, 2014 The National Interest

  • Georgia's President Georgy Margvelashvili waves while flanked by Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili (2nd L), Parliament speaker David Usupashvili (R) and Patriarch Ilia II during celebrations for the signing of an association agreement with the EU in June 2014

    Rough and Tumble of Building Democracy in Georgia

    Leadership squabbles and instincts for retribution are testing Georgia's democracy. If leaders do not come together to strengthen the political system and governance, Georgia's future could hang in the balance.

    Nov 26, 2014 The Woodrow Wilson Center

  • Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev meets with U.S. President Barack Obama during a nuclear security summit in April 2010

    Celebrating the Success of Project Sapphire

    Twenty years ago this week, the United States transported over 600 kilograms of at-risk, weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Kazakhstan to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for safekeeping. Kazakhstan had the courage to trust its new relationship with the U.S. to help prevent the proliferation of dangerous material to countries that might seek to build nuclear weapons.

    Nov 21, 2014 The National Interest

  • A destroyed T-72 tank, which presumably came from Russia, is seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled Starobesheve in eastern Ukraine October 2014

    Hitting the Pause Button: The 'Frozen Conflict' Dilemma in Ukraine

    Frozen conflicts describe places where fighting took place and has come to an end, yet no overall political solution, such as a peace treaty, has been reached. Ukraine is likely to host such conflicts for some time, in Crimea and the Donbas region. Georgia's experience offers lessons for Ukraine.

    Nov 7, 2014 The National Interest

  • People walking near the Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

    One Day in the Life of Russia

    Russia faces major challenges, some self-inflicted. Freedoms vital to the creation of a modern civil society are declining. Dominant, state-controlled energy and aerospace companies are losing ground, weakening a strained economy. Russia's relationship with Europe, its most important economic partner and a cultural beacon, is fracturing.

    Sep 23, 2014 The National Interest

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Minsk, August 26, 2014

    A Diplomatic Solution for Ukraine

    Despite uncertainty about Russian military plans and the outcome of Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists, it's not too soon to consider how to lay the foundations for a negotiated solution. If Moscow were unwilling to reach a fair settlement, the West would have options to increase its leverage.

    Aug 27, 2014 The National Interest