David J. Kramer
President Obama Should Skip Moscow and the Sochi Olympics

Media reports indicate that the White House is rethinking President Obama’s travel to Moscow in early September for a bilateral meeting with Vladimir Putin immediately before Russia hosts the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. Obama indeed should not go to meet with Putin, but the reasons for such a cancelation go well beyond those suggested […]

Here We Go Again: Falling for the Russian Trap

Nearing the end of his second term, George W. Bush sought to salvage Russian-American relations with a visit to Sochi in April 2008, but then a few months later, Russia’s invasion of Georgia brought the bilateral relationship to its lowest point in twenty years. President Obama came to office intent on repairing the relationship and […]

The Crisis in the West

A year ago, the world was abuzz with talk of the euro crisis and the feared disintegration of the European Union. By the end of 2012, the discussion has shifted to the crisis of the liberal democracy model itself. The debate is no longer “Keynes vs. Hayek” or expansionary vs. austerity fiscal measures. At the […]

What the Magnitsky Act Means

Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old lawyer who was beaten, deprived of vital medical attention, and left to die in a Russian prison nearly a year after uncovering a massive fraud allegedly committed by Russian officials to the tune of $230 million. The very people whom Magnitsky implicated in the fraud arrested him in 2008; a […]

Germany and Russia: The End of Ostpolitik?

Germany’s role in the ongoing Euro crisis is a reminder of its economic superpower status in Europe. But Germany plays another leading role: defining European policy toward Russia. Brussels and other European capitals often follow Germany’s lead when it comes to dealing with Russia. And with the United States distracted with its recent election and […]

After the Elections, All Eyes on Georgia

For a small country located in a very tough neighborhood, Georgia has not received lots of attention since 2008, when Russia invaded the country and declared South Ossetia and Abkhazia independent. And with the world’s attention focused elsewhere (elections in the U.S., the humanitarian disaster in Syria, the challenge of Iran), many might have missed […]

Obama vs. Romney: Who Would Putin Pick?

In his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president, Mitt Romney vowed to take a hard line in dealing with Russia. “Under my administration,” he said, “our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.” Earlier in the campaign, Romney had cited Russia as “our number […]

Dealing with Morsi’s Egypt

During a visit to Cairo in late July, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised the relationship between newly elected President Mohamed Morsi and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the longtime Defense Minister who had ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power. Ten days ago, Morsi radically changed that relationship, announcing the retirement of Tantawi […]

Ukraine, Russia and Two Horses

Nearly twenty years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, “Russia can be either an empire or a democracy, but it cannot be both. . . . Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” Uninterested in becoming a democracy, today’s Kremlin has not given […]

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