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The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is again hosting the highly regarded Rethinking Seminar Series.  Now in its 14th year, the series provides informative seminars on national security and defense issues by distinguished speakers which are held approximately one evening per month.  Free and open to the public, the Rethinking Seminars provide in-depth, professional views on important topics. The 2017-2018 Seminar Series will focus on Rethinking Future Environments and Strategic Challenges.

As in the past, this website’s Video Archives offers streaming videos of the talks, as well as downloadable video, audio, podcasts, bulletized notes, and presentation files that speakers provide.  Previous videos and related files can also be found on the Past Series and Speakers pages. Finally, videos from recent years’ seminars are also available on the JHU/APL Seminars YouTube Playlist – Rethinking Seminar Series.


Tuesday, March 13th
Marriott Residence Inn, Pentagon City (6:00 – 8:00 PM)

Dr. Robert Legvold

Columbia University


Russia: The Foe We Only Half Know

Over the past several years, the Russian government has provided support to Syria in its civil war, maintained its support for the separatist regimes in eastern Ukraine, intervened in the U.S. electoral process and that of European allies, pushed false narratives to sway Western public opinion, and is rebuilding its armed forces, while modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad.  Dr. Legvold’s talk will discuss why the Russians are doing what they are doing.  His talk will examine:

  • The Russian leadership on the eve of elections, its priorities and perspectives as it looks both inward and outward;

  • The factors driving Russian foreign policy and the resources sustaining it;

  • Constraints on Russia foreign policy options: structural, material and political;

  • Whether the Russian leadership has a strategic vision, and, if so, what it is;

  • The Russian leadership’s view of allies and adversaries, including its assessment of the United States;

  • The Russian leadership’s expectations as it contemplates Russia's future and key trends in the world over the next 5-10 years; and

  • Improving U.S. policy toward a Russia that we only half understand.

Dr. Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, where he specialized in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. Previously, he was Director of The Harriman Institute, one of the world's leading academic institutions devoted to Russian, Eurasian and East European studies. Prior to coming to Columbia in 1984, he served for six years as Senior Fellow and Director of the Soviet Studies Project at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  Dr. Legvold also served on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Tufts University and was project director for “Rethinking U.S. Policy toward Russia” at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2009-2012 he was director of the “Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative” sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Dr. Legvold's areas of particular interest are the foreign policies of Russia, Ukraine, and the other new states of the former Soviet Union, U.S. relations with the post-Soviet states, and the impact of the post-Soviet region on the international politics of Asia and Europe. His most recent books are collaborative volumes including The Policy World Meets Academia: Designing U.S. Policy toward Russia (2010) and Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century and the Shadow of the Past (2007). His most recent essays include “Reconciling Limitations on Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons Conventional Arms Control, and Missile Defense Cooperation,” in Steve Andreasen and Isabelle Williams, eds., Reducing Nuclear Risks in Europe: A Framework for Action (2011) and “Encountering Globalization Russian Style,” in Julie Wilhelmsen and Elana Wilson Rowe, eds., Russia’s Encounter with Globalization (2011).



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Previous Seminar

Dr. T. X. Hammes

February 6, 2018
The 4th Industrial Revolution, De-Globalization, and its Effect on International Security

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Future Seminars


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