Our New Confrontation with Russia: Causes and Consequences.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Michael McFaul speaks at Hoover's 2014 Fall Retreat
Image credit: 
Rod Searcey

At Hoover's 2014 Fall Retreat, Michael Mcfaul, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at Hoover, discussed the US-Russia relationship in a talk entitled “Our New Confrontation with Russia: Causes and Consequences.” McFaul began by giving an overview of the US relationship with Russia, ultimately arguing that explanations focusing on the international balance of power or US foreign policy are insufficient and that one must consider Vladimir Putin’s particular ideological orientation as a primary cause for the current tensions.  He emphasized that Putin views the world in zero-sum terms, and gave an in-depth analysis of Putin’s personal character and mind-set.  McFaul acknowledged that this perspective on Russia has the advantage of avoiding inevitable and continued conflict with Russia in the long term but that it also means that conflict will most likely continue in the short term as long as Putin remains in power.  In the topic of Russia's current military strength was raised in the Question and Answer period. McFaul recommends this article on the topic, which uses the data to which he referred in his answer.