About

Current Events

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1991

At Rutgers since 1991

RESEARCH INTERESTS

U.S. foreign policy, American-Russian relations, religion, missionaries, propaganda, military occupations, national identity.  Currently working on a history of U.S. experiences with “nation building” since 1898 and (in collaboration with two Russian historians) a history of American-Russian relations since 1776.

Books​

The American Mission and The "Evil Empire"
America's Secret War Against Bolshevishm
no_war_from_russia.jfif

No War!
(Image from Moscow Times)

Re “Kremlin Finds It Hard to Hide the Costs to People at Home” (front page, Feb. 27):

 

...one of my academic colleagues in Russia offers a different perspective. She has not joined protesters in the streets and is “even afraid to like posts against the war, because it might cost me my job.”

But when the war began on Feb. 24, she wrote to me at length to express her revulsion at the “terrible, mind-boggling invasion of Ukraine.” She is not part of the intellectual or cultural elite. She even voted for Mr. Putin in 2000 and 2004 because she thought then that “he was capable of leading Russia along a democratic path.”

But now she is appalled that Russia has become a brutal aggressor. She says her feelings are “shared by thousands.”    (Go to the NYTimes)

As Ukraine war intensifies, some Russian speakers far from Moscow are feeling hostility

...widespread anti-Russia sentiment in the United States dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when worsening czarist political repression and anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia combined to trigger what he called the first American crusade for Russian freedom.

Americans were encouraged to sympathize with the people of Russia rather than the government. And that seems to me to be what is really different from what we’re seeing now, where you see people at protests with signs saying all Russians are to blame for Putin’s aggression...

But even then, when tensions were at their highest and many feared a nuclear war in the early 1980s, Americans and Soviets were working to overcome those tensions.

That’s what I would point to as an inspiration for how we should be thinking — about trying to build connections outside of the Russian government, to the Russian people. And instead of terminating cultural exchanges and person-to-person contacts, we should be seeking to maintain them...

(Go to The Washington Post)

Latest Works
With Fear and Favor: The Russophobia of "The New York Times"

July 17,2020

Disregarding all past experience, journalists, politicians, and foreign policy experts have simply assumed that the claims of Russian bounties for killing American troops are true. They—and we—should know better

April 02, 2020

Between 1985 and 1989 hundreds of Soviet citizens came to the United States in projects initiated by American activists who feared nuclear war and hoped to improve relations with the USSR. This ambitious citizen diplomacy led to hundreds of thousands of encounters between Soviet visitors and Americans that shattered negative stereotypes. Since the Soviet visitors received extensive media coverage, the programs had broad impacts on attitudes in many American towns and cities. As a result, ‘the Cold War’ ended in the hearts and minds of many Americans long before the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The Face of the Enemy

November 29,2019

For many years, one man has been the enemy Americans have hated most.  Not Osama bin Laden, whose time in the spotlight was relatively brief. Not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ...

October 21,2019

Book Review:  Christopher Andrew. The Secret World: A History of Intelligence​

Here's How Democratic Presidential Contenders Should (not) Talk About Russia

January 16,2019

Candidates gearing up for 2020 may be blazing new trails on domestic issues, but when it comes to engagement with Russia, they haven’t moved beyond the counterproductive status quo.

Putin: From Soulmate to Archenemy

October 21,2019

Disregarding all past experience, journalists, politicians, and foreign policy experts have simply assumed that the claims of Russian bounties for killing American troops are true. They—and we—should know better

HOW CITIZENS HELPED TO END THE COLD WAR: INSPIRATION FOR TODAY

June 1, 2018

Thirty years ago, when Ronald Reagan met with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow and said that he no longer considered the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” many observers began declaring that the Cold War was over. While the important roles of Reagan and Gorbachev in the ending of Soviet-American enmity are widely remembered, it is often forgotten that Soviet and American citizens played active roles in overcoming the suspicion and hostility that had marred relations between the two countries for decades. Today, when American-Russian relations have deteriorated so badly that many now speak of a “new cold war,” it is important to remember how citizens made a difference in the ending of the old Cold War.​