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Russia is Becoming Our Enemy Again

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Debate Details

Upon meeting Vladimir Putin in 2001, President George W. Bush announced that he had looked the Russian leader in the eye and found him to be “straightforward and trustworthy.”  Since then, we have witnessed the rise of an authoritarian state, bolstered military capabilities, and growing antagonism toward the West. Could this be the start of a new Cold War, or do strategic differences mean a cold peace, and nothing more?

The Debaters

For the motion

Claudia Rosett

Staff Journalist-in-Residence at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Among other positions at the Wall Street Journal, Rosett served as a member of the editorial board (1997-2002) and reporter and bureau chief in the... Read More

Bret Stephens

Deputy Editor, Editorial Page and “Global View” columnist, The Wall Street Journal

Bret Stephens writes “Global View,” the foreign-affairs column for the Wall Street Journal, for which he won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for... Read More

J. Michael Waller

Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair in International Communication at the Institute for World Politics

Waller is the vice president for Information Operations at the Center for Security Policy and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies... Read More

Against the motion

Nina Khrushcheva

Senior Fellow of the World Policy Institute and Professor of International Affairs at The New School

Nina is the granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. She is an editor at Project Syndicate and has written numerous articles for... Read More

Robert Legvold

Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Political Science at Columbia University

Robert specializes in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He was director of The Harriman Institute at Columbia (1986-92), taught... Read More

Mark Medish

Vice President for Studies of Russia, China and Eurasia at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Among other positions, Medish was special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Russia’s focus on modernizing its military capabilities, including building an intercontinental ballistic missile force and nuclear submarines, does not reflect a nation seeking peace with the West.
  • To deflect attention from their increasingly autocratic policies and practices, Russian leaders are stoking nationalistic sentiment against American values and customs.
  • The Russian government's lack of diligence in addressing incidents like Alexander Litvinenko's suspicious death represent an apathy toward diplomacy with the West.
Against The Motion
  • The ideological divide that consumed global affairs during the Cold War era is over; America can disagree with a nation’s internal politics without declaring that nation an enemy.
  • Russia’s growing push for influence in global affairs and demands of national sovereignty make Russia a challenge to some American interests, but not an enemy.
  • Russia and the United States have a shared interest in combating security issues, such as the rise of Islamic extremism, and it remains in both nations’ best interest to work together.

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