Soviet Union

george blake simon kuper book

Before Jihadi John, There Was George Blake

The British KGB double agent was a forerunner of today’s radicalized Western jihadis.

An Afghan man squats while a group of U.S. Army soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division secure the local bazaar in Yayeh Kehl, near Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 14, 2002.

America, the Afghan Tragedy, and the Subcontinent

Four decades of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan have left South Asia transformed—and on the cusp of a realignment.

A man lights a candle at a monument to Chernobyl victims.

Chernobyl Has Become a Comforting Fable

The disaster isn’t just an easy metaphor for authoritarian failures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks on the phone in his office in St. Petersburg on Dec. 15, 2018.

What Biden and Putin Can Agree On

Both sides should take the long view if they are ever to reconcile.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz at the London Economic Summit on June 8, 1984.

Was George Shultz America’s Best Secretary of State?

Reagan’s top diplomat ended the Cold War and reshaped the world.

Activists with masks of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump protest against nuclear weapons in Berlin on Nov. 18, 2017.

Biden, Asia, and the Politics of Nuclear Arms Control

To construct a new balance of power in Asia, Washington needs a better approach to nuclear arms.

A still image from the video game "Sex With Stalin."

‘Sex With Stalin’ Is Surprisingly Dull

A new Russian video game takes transgressive material but does nothing with it.

Riot militia members

Russia’s Recent History Shows How Coups Fail—and Succeed

Without control of the media, military support, and international backing, seizures of power can flop.

Flanked by Afghan soldiers, mujahideen fighters sit atop an armored personnel carrier with rocket launchers about 500 meters from the presidential palace in Kabul on April 25, 1992.

Afghanistan Is Not Doomed to Repeat Its Past

Peace talks in Afghanistan may come down to an agreement between the Taliban and Kabul on an interim government. Here’s how the sides can avoid the pitfalls of 1992 and 2001.

A military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing

China’s Nuclear Program Baffled Soviet Intelligence

Declassified documents show how Moscow struggled to understand Beijing’s efforts.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gives an interview in Yerevan on Oct. 6.

Without Russian Aid to Armenia, Azerbaijan Has the Upper Hand in Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has overplayed his hand by spouting belligerent nationalist rhetoric and refusing to negotiate—and Putin isn’t coming to his rescue.

Republican Vice President Richard Nixon and Democratic Sen. John F. Kennedy

Document of the Week: The Birth of the Televised Presidential Debate Was a Sober Affair. Then Came Trump.

In an earlier age, the Democratic and Republican front-runners reserved their sharpest criticism for the Soviet Union and treated each other with respect.

Then-Afghan President Mohammed Najibullah smiles as he meets Red Army soldiers.

In Afghanistan, the Dead Cast a Long Shadow

With Afghanistan again facing a political crisis, Mohammed Najibullah’s tarnished memory is being rehabilitated by some. But the crimes of the last Soviet-supported president, who was killed by the Taliban, are hardly forgotten.

Sculptures of Vladimir Lenin and other Soviet-era statues and busts sit in a former National Guard Armory in Culver City, California—now the permanent home of the Wende Museum—in 2014.

Tearing Down Statues Won’t Undo History

From the Berlin Wall to Confederate monuments, destroying a historic marker means destroying a learning opportunity.

U.S. soldiers stand guard at the K1 Air Base near Kirkuk in northern Iraq on March 29, during its handover ceremony. The K1 base is the third site U.S.-led coalition troops have left in March.

To Stop a U.S.-Iran War, Finlandize Iraq

By treating Iraqi territory as a neutral zone, Washington and Tehran can avoid conflict.

Various photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin

How Putin Changed Russia Forever

President Vladimir Putin has transformed his country and its relations with the world. We asked 11 leading experts to look back at his 20-year reign and predict what the future may bring.

Bekhzod Tashkenbaev of Uzbekistan participates in the first World High Wire Championships, over the Han River in Seoul, on May 3, 2007.

The United States Forgot Its Strategy for Winning Cold Wars

The plan that worked to defeat the Soviet Union can work today against China—it’s just not what you think.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Russia Kirill lay flowers at a monument in Moscow's Red Square on Nov. 4, 2018.

Selling Your Soul to the Kremlin

A new book chronicles the Faustian bargain that Russians—from holy men to human rights activists—have made with Vladimir Putin’s government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony on the 75th anniversary of the Leningrad siege near St. Petersburg on Jan. 18.

Vladimir Putin Wants to Rewrite the History of World War II

The Russian president’s amateur history lessons are outraging neighboring countries. While he is right to criticize a recent EU Parliament resolution, his historical revisionism doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

An altar with photographs of the victims who were killed in a plane crash in Iran is seen at a vigil in Ottawa, Ontario, on Jan. 9.

Canada’s Path to Justice from Iran Over Shot-Down Flight Will Be Hard

States have been historically reluctant to take responsibility for attacks on civilian planes.