What It’s About: Under the guidance of President Vladimir Putin, Russia has roared back onto the international arena in recent years. It has deftly manipulated Middle Eastern politics to become a key power broker in that region, outmaneuvered the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe, threatened the post-World War II democratic order on the continent, and made itself a player in America’s domestic politics by attempting to undermine it with disinformation. But Russia is also weak – and getting weaker. Beset by Western sanctions, its economy is ailing, the country suffers from a massive demographic crisis that threatens to transform the character of the Russian state, and mounting domestic unrest suggests that the Kremlin’s hold on power may not be as unassailable as often portrayed. Against this backdrop, the presenter will look into what Putin is attempting to achieve on the world stage, list the key drivers of Russian conduct, and explain how the United States can best manage an increasingly adventurist, aggressive Russia.
Presenter: Ilan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense, and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of other governmental agencies and congressional offices. He has been called one of America's "leading experts on the Middle East and Iran" by CNN. Mr. Berman is a member of the Associated Faculty at Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, and a frequent writer for the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, USA Today, and many other publications. He is the editor of four books and the author of four, including Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America.