Anne-Marie Slaughter on Russia

Anne-Marie Slaughter, is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is presently on leave, serving as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State. She was Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University from 2002-2009.

Slaughter came to the Wilson School from Harvard Law School where she was the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program. She is also the former President of the American Society of International Law, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Drawing from this rich interdisciplinary expertise, Slaughter has written and taught broadly on global governance, international criminal law, and American foreign policy. Her most recent book is The Idea that Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World, published in 2007 by Basic Books. She is also the author of A New World Order, in which she identified transnational networks of government officials as an increasingly important component of global governance. Slaughter has been a frequent commentator on foreign affairs in newspapers, radio, and television. She was also the convener and academic co-chair of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multi-year research project aimed at developing a new, bipartisan national security strategy for the United States, and was a member of the National War Powers Commission.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Slaughter:    Russia is a tricky, trick country and it’s made all the harder because we think we know Russia ‘cause we think we, at least, the Cold War generation thinks we know the Soviet Union.  We have lots of stereotypes that we’re not even aware of and the new generation of policy makers has no experience with Russia.  Russia wasn’t even on their radar screen.  So, you have a real lacuna of experts who are thinking about the country Russia is today, not the country Russia was in 1980 or 1990 or 2000 and who are genuinely expert.  That means we need to proceed with real care.  It would be wonderful if President Obama could find the way simultaneously to give Russia some of the acknowledgement it so craves as a great power, but at the same time, draw some real red lines, ‘cause that’s got to be our policy.  We have to make very clear, very clear where those lines are, but we also have to listen to the Russians.  I mean, the Russians have actually been pretty frank about what they thought were red lines and they were very clear with respect to Georgia that they were going to look at Ossetia and South Ossetia and Abkhazia, those were enclaves that they were not going to let Georgia take over.  We have to pay attention when they say that.  We have to treat that as we would if China or the EU or any other major power told us these are our vital interest, we have to pay attention ‘cause we expect them to pay attention to us.  We also have to acknowledge where, in fact, the current Russian government has improved a lot of the Russian people and we have to avoid looking at the current implosion of the Russian economy and thinking, well, that’s great.  They’re going to go down again.  That’s trouble for us.  That’s major trouble, because in the end, the Russian government is not going to stand by and lose support. 


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