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Time for a New “Long

Telegram” on Russia


anagement of the strained relation-

ship with Russia will be at the top

of the new administration’s foreign policy

to-do list.

Prominent Russia experts Thomas

E. Graham—a former FSO and former

National Security Council senior director

for Russia, now with Kissinger Associates

and Yale University—and Matthew Rojan-

sky—director of the Wilson Center’s Ken-

nan Institute and former deputy director

of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the

Carnegie Endowment for International

Peace—have put forth cogent suggestions

on how to proceed.

Graham’s “The Sources of Russian Conduct,” published in August by The

National Interest

, is a call for a new way

to approach dealing with Russia. He

presents a detailed analysis of Moscow’s

predicament today and the changed

global context for U.S.-Russian relations.

Graham urges policymakers to

abandon the “failed tropes of the past”—

namely, the tendency to view Russia

through the lens of Vladimir Putin, who is

variously painted as a cartoonish villain

or an ally-in-waiting.

Washington must let go of the post-

Cold War assumption that Russia would

be integrated into the West, Graham says.

But he also reminds us that Russia is not

the Soviet Union: It plays a lesser role, and

U.S.-Russia relations will no longer define

the multipolar international system.

Graham argues for creating a “sus-

tainable balance of power that advances

American interests by promoting peace

and security, and fostering collaboration

among geopolitical rivals in addressing

global transnational threats.”

In a second article, “America’s Rus- sia Policy Has Failed,” co-authored by

Graham and Rojansky and published



Foreign Policy

on Oct. 13, the authors

note that attempting to isolate Moscow

diplomatically and economically through

sanctions has not worked: “Moscow has

succeeded in challenging a wide range

of American interests, most notably in

Ukraine, Syria and cyberspace.”

Graham and Rojansky offer the new

U.S. administration seven recommenda-

tions for dealing with Russia “as it really

is,” while aiming to construct a “web of

interactions, both cooperative and com-

petitive, that yields the most beneficial

balance for our national interests.”

Here are their recommendations:

Understand That It’s Not Just About


Problems with Russia are geopo-

litical, and the tendency of recent U.S.

administrations to treat them instead as

tied to the personal political leadership of

Vladimir Putin ignores history and is not


Stop Ukraine from Becoming a Frozen


The United States should encour-

age adherence to the Minsk II peace deal

signed by Ukraine, Russia, France and

Germany in 2015. While flawed, the deal

provides a legal and political commit-

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—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor