Articles and Essays

McFaul in the Quad

The following are selected academic articles and policy essays.

June 26, 2023

Why He May Soon Be Remembered as “Putin the Weak”

Journal of Democracy
May 5, 2023

Russia's nonsense about an assassination attempt is a sign of its desperation

MSNBC Opinion

Vladimir Putin finds himself needing to invent new arguments to rally the public’s support for the country’s war on Ukraine.

March 14, 2023

How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests

Foreign Policy

And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.

February 24, 2023

Why all Americans have a stake in what happens in Ukraine next


Today, the world marks the tragic anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The good news is that Ukraine won the first year of this war. The bad news is that the war continues, with no plans from Russian leader Vladimir Putin to retreat or negotiate. He’s playing a long game, expecting the collective West to eventually lose interest. We cannot allow that to happen. Indeed, it is in America’s interest to stay the course and help Ukraine achieve victory.

February 1, 2023

Why Vladimir Putin’s Luck Ran Out

Journal of Democracy

For twenty years, the Russian autocrat enjoyed a string of good fortune in coming to power and cementing his rule. He had raised Russia’s standing in the world. Then he invaded Ukraine.

January 30, 2023

How to Get a Breakthrough in Ukraine | The Case Against Incrementalism

Foreign Affairs

Nearly a year after he invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed to achieve any of his major objectives. He has not unified the alleged single Slavic nation, he has not “denazified” or “demilitarized” Ukraine, and he has not stopped NATO expansion. Instead, the Ukrainian military kept Russian troops out of Kyiv, defended Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and launched successful counteroffensives in the fall so that by the end of 2022, it had liberated over 50 percent of the territory previously captured by Russian soldiers that year. In January, Putin removed the

November 4, 2022

After Putin | Less Repression at Home, More Engagement Abroad

The Wall Street Journal

For two decades, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a fantastic run. An accidental president plucked from obscurity by former President Boris Yeltsin in 2000, he came to power at the perfect moment, when oil and gas prices soared after a decadelong economic depression.

October 23, 2019

Trump’s Gift to Putin | The President’s Privatized Foreign Policy Is a Boon for Russia

Foreign Affairs

For decades, if not centuries, scholars have debated which matters more in international affairs: structural forces, such as the relative power between states, or the ideas and decisions of individual leaders. But at least as far as the United States is concerned, President Donald Trump may put the debate to rest.

June 17, 2019

Securing American Elections: Prescriptions for Enhancing the Integrity and Independence of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and Beyond

Freeman Spogli Institute

With Bronte Kass | Understanding Putin’s Intentions and Actions in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election | According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the United States is a hostile power and a serious threat to Russian national interests. From his KGB days, Putin developed an analytical framework with regards to international politics, which cast the United States as the central enemy of the Soviet Union. His ideas evolved over time. After September 11, 2001, for instance, Putin pivoted towards greater cooperation with President George W. Bush in a common fight against terrorism. During

April 18, 2019

Q&A: ‘The Biggest Piece Mueller Left Out’

Foreign Policy

Michael McFaul served as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and was a key architect of former President Barack Obama’s Russia strategy. McFaul later had strained relations with the Kremlin and was banned from traveling to Russia; he also played a cameo role in U.S. President Donald Trump’s notoriously compliant Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last year, when Putin floated the idea of allowing his investigators question McFaul in exchange for U.S. access to Russian military intelligence officials from the GRU indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team for