The Shadow War between America and Russia

Summary

Western analysts and media often assess the prospect that Moscow might use nuclear weapons as the war in Ukraine grinds on, possibly to a flailing Russia’s disadvantage. George Beebe, though, injects a less-familiar element into this grim dynamic: What are the chances that Washington might resort to nukes, should the direction in the war turn sharply against U.S.-backed Ukraine? Or enter the conflict directly with NATO air support for beleaguered Ukrainian foot soldiers? These are awkward questions but Beebe is well equipped to parse them. He is the Director of Grand Strategy for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft in Washington and in an earlier career in government he served as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis. 

The springboard for our discussion is his 2019 book, The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (St. Martins Press, 2019). It’s a sober and an incisive look at a vital topic—and as characterizes Beebe’s assessments generally, his take is unsparing of prevailing U.S. foreign policy establishment wisdoms.

Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His latest book, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports) will be published in January.

Your Host

Paul Starobin

Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His latest book, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports) will be published in January.

View Profile