Disarming Syria. Asylum for Edward Snowden. Arming Iran. Is Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles, while our own president fades into the background of world politics, or is it all a global game of smoke and mirrors? Russia is one of the world's largest oil producers and has the power of veto on the U.N. Security Council, but it remains an authoritarian state, rife with corruption and economic struggles. Is our toxic relationship something to worry about, or is Putin's Russia fading in importance?
Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, and served as U.S. ambassador to India, presidential envoy to Iraq, and the administration’s coordinator for U.S. policies regarding Afghanistan and Iran. From 1989 to 1990, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush for European and Soviet affairs. Blackwill is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Aspen Strategy Group and is on the board of Harvard’s Belfer Center. He was co-chairman of the Task Force on Russia and U.S. National Interests, co-sponsored by the Belfer Center and the Center for the National Interest, which produced the report “Russia and U.S. National Interests: Why Should Americans Care?”
Dr. Ian Bremmer
Mr. Ian Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm.
In 1998, Mr. Bremmer founded Eurasia Group with just $25,000. Today, the company has offices in New York, Washington, and London, as well as a network of experts and resources around the world. Eurasia Group provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and insight on how political developments move markets.
Mr. Bremmer created Wall Street's first global political risk index, and has authored several books, including the national bestsellers, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World and The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? He is a contributor for the Financial TimesA-List and Reuters.com, and writes "The Call" blog on ForeignPolicy.com. He has also published articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Affairs. He appears regularly on CNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, and other networks.
He has a PhD in political science from Stanford University (1994), and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He presently teaches at Columbia University, and has held faculty positions at the EastWest Institute and the World Policy Institute. In 2007, he was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. His analysis focuses on global macro political trends and emerging markets, which he defines as "those countries where politics matter at least as much as economics for market outcomes."
He grew up in Boston, and now lives in New York and Washington, DC.
John Donvan is the moderator for "Intelligence Squared U.S." He is an author and correspondent for ABC News. He has hosted "Nightline," "World News," "Good Morning America," and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” in addition to producing “My Generation” for PBS. He has also served as ABC’s Chief White House correspondent and held postings in London, Jerusalem, Moscow and Amman. Recognized by the National Magazine Awards for his 2011 Atlantic profile piece “Autism’s First Child,” he is currently writing a book on the history of autism to be published by Crown in 2013.
Peter Hitchens, an author and journalist, is currently a columnist for the London Mail on Sunday. He also publishes a blog on current affairs and moral, cultural and social issues. He was a resident correspondent for the Daily Express in Moscow from 1990 to 1992, and in Washington, D.C. from 1993 to 1995. He has spent many years as a foreign correspondent, reporting from Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Gaza, South Africa, Venezuela and Cuba. He has also revisited Russia and other former Soviet republics several times. In recognition of his foreign reporting, Hitchens was awarded the Orwell Prize in 2010. He is the author of six books, including The Rage Against God (2011), The Abolition of Britain (1999) and The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment’s Surrender to Drugs (2013).
Edward Lucas is the international section editor at The Economist, the world’s foremost newsweekly, where he has covered the central and east European region for over 25 years. He is the author of The New Cold War (2008), a prescient account of Vladimir Putin’s Russia; Deception (2011), an investigative account of east-west espionage; and The Snowden Operation (2014), which was published as an e-book. He is a regular contributor to BBC’s Today and Newsnight, and to NPR, CNN and Sky News. Lucas is regularly cited by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 Twitterati. For many years a foreign correspondent, he was based in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Moscow and the Baltic states. His weekly column for European Voice (Brussels) has appeared since 2005; he also writes for the Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Foreign Policy and Standpoint. As well as working for The Independent, the BBC and The Sunday Times, he co-founded an English-language weekly in Tallinn, Estonia: The Baltic Independent.
Ian Bremmer argues that the behavior of the United States shows that Russia is not taken seriously as a world power. Robert Blackwill counters with evidence that the international community pays Russia special attention.