Richard Weitz

Richard Weitz is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Affairs at Hudson Institute. He analyzes mid- and long-term national and international political-military issues, including by employing scenario-based planning. His current areas of research include defense reform, counterterrorism, homeland security, and U.S. policies towards Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and the Middle East.

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Articles written by Richard Weitz

Global Insights: With Election, Afghanistan Strengthens Democratic Credentials

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The first round of Afghanistan's presidential election saw the country's political institutions perform much better than during the 2009 ballot, while the Afghan National Security Forces provided a relatively safe and secure electoral environment. The winners may not be clear until May, and a second round is likely. But already the results offer hope for Afghanistan's status as a functioning democracy. more

Global Insights: U.S.-South Korea Alliance Faces Growing Pains

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The South Korean and U.S. militaries have begun their annual major field training exercise, which will include the largest amphibious drill in Korea in decades. South Korean officials said the exercise underscores Seoul’s strategic significance to the U.S. Asia pivot. Beneath the surface calm, however, many troubled currents will buffet both the exercise and the overall bilateral military relationship. more

Global Insights: Global Nuclear Security Agenda at Pivot Point

By Richard Weitz
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President Barack Obama’s whirlwind visit to Europe began yesterday against the looming shadow of the Ukraine crisis. While Obama will seek to rally Western resistance to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and affirm the administration’s strong commitment to European security, the trip was initially scheduled to coincide with the third Nuclear Security Summit, which focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism. more

As Ukraine Crisis Escalates, NATO Reinforces Its Eastern Front

By Richard Weitz
, on , Briefing

The Ukraine crisis has presented NATO with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to reassure its nervous members and partners while deterring further Russian military aggression. The opportunity is that the crisis may rescue the alliance from perceived irrelevancy after the end of the Afghanistan War and against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S. military focus on East Asia and the Middle East. more

Global Insights: Turkey’s Russia Policy Put to the Test by Ukraine Crisis

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Over the past few years, Turkey’s “zero problem with neighbors” policy has become something of a joke, with Turkey now the only major country without ambassadors in Egypt, Syria and Israel simultaneously. One major exception was arguably Turkey’s relations with Russia, which have remained solid. Now the Crimea crisis has confronted Turkey with the most serious challenge to its Russian policy since the Cold War. more

Global Insights: In Ukraine Crisis, China Chooses Russia Ties Over Principles

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Russia’s military occupation and impending annexation of the Crimea in Ukraine has put Beijing in a difficult spot. Having cultivated good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Chinese leaders would prefer to avoid antagonizing one party by siding too closely with the other. Yet China’s recent approach shows how Beijing is now willing to dilute longstanding foreign policy principles to align with Moscow. more

Global Insights: Russia Gambling That Ukraine Crisis Can Revert to Familiar Script

By Richard Weitz
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has so far followed a familiar script, in which Moscow seeks to exploit separatist fissures to keep a former Soviet republic in its orbit. But many questions remain unanswered regarding the crisis. Perhaps the most important of these are how far Russia will go, what the West can do to resist Russian belligerence and what economic consequences will ensue from Russia’s actions. more

Global Insights: Ukraine Crisis Shows Strength of NATO Partnership Policies

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Although the geopolitical tug-of-war between the European Union and Russia was recognized as a principal factor driving Ukraine’s crisis, NATO’s role is not widely understood. Though NATO took no military action in the crisis, its partnership policies toward Ukraine have helped keep the Ukrainian armed forces out of the recent street fighting and could help the country emerge from its recent security crisis. more

Global Insights: Russia-NATO Naval Operation Would Boost Syria Chemical Weapons Plan

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

That Russia and NATO are developing plans to conduct a joint maritime show of force to reaffirm their commitment to the Syrian chemical weapons elimination process is a good development. The mission would be largely symbolic, but the symbolism would be potent. The joint operation could re-energize the stalled elimination process in Syria and provide a basis for renewed Russian-NATO cooperation in other areas. more

Global Insights: In Sochi, Xi and Putin Put China-Russia Ties on Display

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

In addition to the magnificent opening ceremony and the admirable performance of the athletes on display at the Winter Olympics, Sochi has seen a remarkable show of solidarity between the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his most important visitor, Chinese President Xi Jinping. Clearly, despite a generally realpolitik foreign policy, China has made targeted personal diplomacy with Putin a priority. more

Global Insights: Turkey’s Domestic Troubles Causing Tensions With U.S.

By Richard Weitz
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The problems facing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are placing a major burden on Turkey-U.S. relations. Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies and proclivity to blame everyone, including the U.S., for his domestic challenges have become increasingly difficult for the Obama administration to ignore, despite the two leaders’ close personal ties. These challenges will likely only increase in coming months. more

Global Insights: Russia, NATO and the Goldilocks Zone

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Despite areas of limited cooperation, such as in Afghanistan and counterterrorism efforts, the Russia-NATO relationship is on balance distinctly negative. Although complementary interests can in some cases bridge the gaps that exist, in many instances they are too large to paper over. But the question remains, do the problems in the NATO-Russia relationship—and, more generally speaking, Russia itself—matter? more

Global Insights: As Interim Nuclear Deal With Iran Takes Effect, Uncertainty Remains

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The implementation agreement for the interim nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 in November entered into effect yesterday. Although the text of the implementation deal remains confidential, the White House released a summary that, while answering some important questions, still leaves uncertain whether the deal will achieve its main purpose of transitioning to a more comprehensive agreement. more

Global Insights: As U.S. Draws Down, India Raises Security Profile in Afghanistan

By Richard Weitz
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Last month, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to India, the two governments announced they would deepen their defense and security ties. Although Indian officials declined to fill Karzai’s entire shopping list, Afghan-Indian military cooperation will likely increase now that the U.S., which has generally discouraged a major Indian security role in Afghanistan, is losing influence in Kabul. more

Global Insights: To Protect Interests, China Must Upgrade Afghanistan Policy

By Richard Weitz
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Thus far, China’s Afghanistan policy has followed Deng Xiaoping’s famous adage regarding Chinese foreign policy: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.” But the planned withdrawal of most Western troops by the end of 2014 will require Beijing to consider new approaches in Afghanistan. more

Global Insights: Russian Bombings Show Limits of Security Crackdowns

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

After a period of relative calm, two recent terrorist attacks in Russia serve as a reminder that, despite the government’s pre-Olympic crackdown, Russia’s heartland remains vulnerable to militants from the Muslim-majority North Caucasus region. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, Volgograd has suffered from years of attacks, typically by Islamist terrorists from the North Caucasus. more

Global Insights: Obama’s NSA Dilemmas

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The Obama administration’s decision last week to continue the dual-hatted arrangement whereby a single military officer runs both the Cyber Command and the National Security Agency is the latest indication that the administration plans to make only modest changes in how the United States conducts offensive and defensive cyber operations in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA data collection. more

Global Insights: Hagel Visit Shows Limits of U.S. Agenda in Afghanistan, Pakistan

By Richard Weitz
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During his recent visit to South Asia, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel focused on securing a formal agreement to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and an informal accord to continue drone strikes in Pakistan. These are both important topics, but U.S. policymakers need to devote more attention to other issues that could have an even greater impact on U.S. interests in the region in coming years. more

Global Insights: Despite Mounting Costs, Russia Sticks By Syria’s Assad

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The Syrian civil war has presented Moscow with two major challenges. First, the collapse of the Assad regime would likely result in a sharp decline of Russian influence in Damascus. Second, an Islamist victory in Syria could encourage Islamist extremism in the North Caucasus and Central Asia. For these reasons, Moscow has refused to turn its back on one of its few remaining allies in the Middle East. more

Global Insights: With Air Defense Zone, China Scores ‘Own Goal’ in South Korea

By Richard Weitz
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China’s decision to establish an air identification zone that encompasses its disputed islands with Japan is yet another attempt to expand its territorial claims by presenting neighboring countries with a fait accompli. But in this case Beijing may have overreached. The declared zone encompasses several important South Korean national territories, triggering sharp rebukes from Seoul not seen in several years. more