Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War

January 26, 2016

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Santa Monica


Marvin Kalb, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Former Moscow Correspondent and Bureau Chief
Interviewed by Jerrold Green, President and CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy



Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War

As a former Moscow correspondent and bureau chief, Marvin Kalb has a keen understanding of Vladimir Putin and his plans to expand Russia's regional and global influence. In his new book "Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War," Kalb provides historical context to the conflict in Ukraine and explains Putin's rise and the roots of Russian nationalism. Kalb goes back centuries to explain the events that created the tension between Russia and Ukraine and led to Putin's invasion of Crimea. Kalb argues that the decision was not as sudden as it appeared. Soon after the pro-Western demonstrations in Ukraine in late 2013, Putin realized military action would be required to prevent Ukraine from joining the West.

The effect of Putin's actions on East-West relations raises more than a few questions about the future world order. The need for Western scholars and policymakers to understand Putin, his motives and his goals is greater than ever. "Putin, like most leaders, has short-term goals and long-term goals, sometimes pursuing both at the same time," Kalb writes. "In pursuit of his goals, he improvises, he plays games, he feints, he prods and pokes, and, when necessary, he pauses and maybe retreats. But he does have a strategy, propelled by a narrow vision of Russian history, and he pursues it with an odd mix of rigidity and occasional flexibility."

Will Washington and Moscow stumble into a confrontation leading to an unwanted conflict? How did we get to this point? Kalb provides carefully considered answers, calling for a policy based on realism. He also outlines options for what we should do next, and explains their likely consequences.


Marvin Kalb

Marvin Kalb is a nonresident senior fellow with the foreign policy program at Brookings Institution. He also serves as a senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and is a Murrow professor emeritus at Harvard University. In his long and distinguished career, he served as the chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC, Moscow bureau chief and the host of NBC's "Meet the Press." Kalb studies the impact of media on public policy and politics and is also an expert in national security, with a focus on U.S. relations with Russia, Europe and the Middle East.


Jerrold Green

Jerrold Green is the president and CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy. He also is a research professor of communications at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, Green held multiple positions at RAND Corp., including director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy, and taught at the Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan. He also was director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. Green holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

"Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War" will be on sale after the Forum, and the author will be available to sign copies.

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