What are the major issues confronting Russia?

Dr. Dov S. Zakheim is a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is a leader in the firm’s global defense business, working with U.S. Combatant Commanders and allied and coalition ministries of defense worldwide.

Former United States government official Dov Zakheim was the Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller from 2001-2004 in the George W. Bush administration, and was a foreign policy advisor to that administration during the 2000 election campaign. From 1985-1987, during the Regan administration, Zakheim was Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. An Orthodox Jew, he helped to end the IAI Lavi Israeli fighter program. Previous to his work with the Bush administration, from 1987-2001, Zakheim served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and sat on a number of Defense Department panels, including the Task Force on Defense Reform, in 1997, and the Board of Visitors of Overseas Regional Centers, from 1998-2001. During those years he was also CEO of SPC International, a subsidiary of  System Planning Corporation. Zakheim is on the editorial board of The National Interest Journal and has published a multitude of articles and monographs on defense issues. Zakheim earned his BA in government from Columbia University in 1970 and his PhD in economics and politics from St. Antony's College, Oxford University. He was an Adjunct Scholar at the  Heritage Foundation, and an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College, where he was also Presidential Scholar. He has been a Senior Associate at the  Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the  International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the United States Naval Institute. Zakheim has received many awards for government and community service, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest civilian award.

  • Transcript


Dov Zakheim: Well it’s a number of things. First, clearly the Russians, because they want to show that they have muscle, are muscling people around in a way that probably isn’t good for stability. I mean look what just happened in Estonia. And I suspect that if the Russians were treated the way, I don’t know, we treat the French, the British or whatever, there would have been a way to get the Russians to back down without them losing face. They are very concerned about their sphere of influence. I mean they have their equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine, and they’re worried about that. But yet if you look – I think it’s Turkmenistan – we have bases there and so do they. And in spite of all the friction, the Russians are prepared to have us have missile defense systems in Azerbaijan, which is part of why I think we should grab that idea. Even if it doesn’t work perfectly against Iran, by having those systems there with the Russians, do you honestly think the Iranians will trust the Russians again? I mean just to do that, just to give the supreme leader in Tehran nightmares over whether the Russians are really colluding. And the more the Russians tell the Iranians, “Oh no, we’re not,” the less the Iranians will believe them. So the Russians are prepared to work with us. And if we do that, I think we can temper some of this . . . this desire to be the big bully on the block. I think the way that we get more democracy in Russia . . . The Russians clearly don’t want our NGOs operating there. But again, I mean, I think that’s one that we do have to push, and . . . but we do it in a way that makes it non-threatening, and not all NGOs are threatening.

Recorded on: 7/2/07