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

Managing Partnerships, not Enlargement, Is NATO’s Real Challenge

By Richard Weitz
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Despite the recent prominence given to the issue of NATO’s membership enlargement, the alliance seems destined for at least the next few years to focus on broadening and deepening its partnerships with nonmember countries and other international institutions. Partners contribute capabilities, money and legitimacy to alliance activities. But managing NATO’s diverse portfolio of partners also presents challenges. more

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When it Comes to Nonproliferation, China Has Been a ‘Free Rider’

By Richard Weitz
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The Chinese, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a recent interview, “have been free riders for the last 30 years,” while the U.S. has maintained international security for the good of the world. Although Obama might not have meant to be so blunt, his remarks reflect a widespread view within Washington that China, in order to minimize foreign risks, has not been as helpful on many global issues, especially nonproliferation. more

Ukraine Crisis Torpedoes Russia-Japan Rapprochement

By Richard Weitz
, , Briefing

One of the major sticking points to improved Japan-Russia relations has long been the two sides’ territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils. Now the two countries have an opportunity to change matters. For the first time in decades, both have leaders who could negotiate a territorial compromise and then sell it domestically. But the Ukraine crisis has put an end to earlier hopes for a resolution. more

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NATO Summit Must Make Further Progress on Smart Defense

By Richard Weitz
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Next month’s NATO summit needs to make greater progress on Smart Defense, the alliance-wide effort to get more collective benefits out of individual members’ defense budgets. The initiative aims to induce NATO members to acquire military capabilities collectively, so that smaller members can contribute to expensive joint projects. Unfortunately, Smart Defense initiatives have so far produced limited results. more

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NATO Must Adapt to Counter Russia’s Next-Generation Warfare

By Richard Weitz
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A recently released paper of the Defense Committee of the U.K. Parliament concludes that Russia’s seizure of Crimea represents a “game changer” for Western security. The authors offered useful recommendations meant to inform both the next U.K. Defense Review and the upcoming NATO summit. The alliance will need to adapt its capabilities if it is to avoid being caught off-guard by Russian tactics in the future. more

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China Advances on Missile Defense, With Eye on Dissuading Rivals

By Richard Weitz
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On July 23, China conducted its third declared ballistic missile defense test in the past four years, with the Ministry of Defense announcing afterward that the test “achieved the desired objectives.” But it would be premature to conclude that Beijing now embraces BMD. Instead, the recent tests are designed primarily to overcome adversary missile defenses as well as to develop China’s anti-satellite systems. more

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Putin’s South American Trip Hides Russia’s Strategic Weaknesses

By Richard Weitz
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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to South America this month garnered considerable attention. In the U.S., some saw the trip as a tit-for-tat display of influence in Washington’s strategic backyard. However, it is best to keep Moscow’s machinations in perspective. Russia is presenting a number of challenges to important U.S. global interests, but its activities in South America are not among them. more

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For Afghanistan Election, After Kerry Deal Comes the Hard Part

By Richard Weitz
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John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy paved the way to resolving Afghanistan’s current election crisis, while helping to establish a potential framework to address its more-enduring problems. In so doing, Kerry’s effort fortified Afghanistan’s ability to overcome future political challenges with less U.S. intervention. Despite the successful deal-making, however, Afghanistan continues to face major challenges. more

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Xi’s Visit Brings No Breakthrough in China-South Korea Ties

By Richard Weitz
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Last week’s China-South Korea summit confirmed the good relations between Beijing and Seoul under Presidents Xi Jinping and Park Geun-hye. The two leaders announced ambitious economic goals and reconfirmed their opposition to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Nonetheless, no breakthrough occurred; until Beijing distances itself from Pyongyang, it cannot fundamentally elevate its relations with Seoul. more

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Park’s Central Asia Tour Reaffirms South Korea’s Eurasian Vision

By Richard Weitz
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South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s high-profile six-day visit to Central Asia last week imparted further momentum to her “Eurasia initiative," intended to deepen South Korean ties with that energy-rich but geopolitically volatile region. The trip also highlighted South Korea’s value to Washington at a time when U.S. influence in the region is declining due to the ebbing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. more

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Despite Softer Rhetoric, Iran Foreign Policy Shows Little Change

By Richard Weitz
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One of the major issues affecting U.S. deliberations over whether to accept a nuclear deal with Iran or to cooperate with Tehran in Iraq is the question of how much Iranian foreign policy has changed under President Hassan Rouhani. In fact, a survey of Iranian foreign policy during the past year shows major improvements in only a few areas, with a harder line on other issues and broad continuity in most cases. more

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Learning From Iraq to Prepare for Afghanistan’s Post-2016 Future

By Richard Weitz
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In a revealing quirk of history, the crisis in Iraq caused by the sudden onslaught of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can help us better understand possible scenarios for Afghanistan moving forward. Despite their many differences, both countries are exposing the consequences of America’s decreased leverage combined with the rising but often mutually competing influence of other powers. more

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Pentagon Report Details China’s Unrelenting Military Buildup

By Richard Weitz
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One can read the Pentagon’s latest report on Chinese military power in many ways, but two interpretations come to mind most easily. First, one sees clear continuities with previous versions of this congressionally mandated annual assessment. Second, the document depicts a comprehensive military buildup whose sheer size and persistence could if continued propel China to superpower status in a few decades. more

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EU Seeks Energy Security Solutions to Russian Gas Challenge

By Richard Weitz
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On May 28, the European Commission released its comprehensive energy security strategy. Although the immediate goal is to avert another winter energy crisis, the long-term objective is to reduce EU reliance on vulnerable foreign energy supplies, especially from Russia. Europe’s core challenge is that its energy demand will rise by an estimated 27 percent by 2030, while EU domestic energy production is falling. more

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After Ukraine, Limited Prospects for U.S.-Russian Security Cooperation

By Richard Weitz
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I spent part of last week in Russia, giving a talk at the Moscow Carnegie Center on U.S.-Russia security cooperation after Ukraine, and attending a security conference organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. The difference between the two audiences was striking, and in the end, only a few opportunities for near-term cooperation were identified, most notably regarding Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear program. more

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Increased Military Transparency Lifts Veil on U.S.-China Tensions

By Richard Weitz
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Last week’s visit of Gen. Fang Fenghui to the U.S. was the latest in a series of high-level exchanges between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. One consequence of this increased transparency is to make more evident the differences between the two countries’ defense establishments. Whereas in the past the Chinese would tend to downplay diverging views, now they don’t hesitate to frankly address differences. more

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West Joins China, Russia to Promote Nuke-Free Central Asia

By Richard Weitz
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At a ceremony on the margins of last week’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty meeting, France, the U.K. and the U.S. reversed their long-standing opposition and joined China and Russia in signing the protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Agreement. The signing demonstrates that even in moments of great power tensions, nuclear nonproliferation remains an issue of consensus and cooperation. more

Strategic Posture Review: Russia

By Richard Weitz
, , Report

The past few years have seen a remarkable recovery of Russia’s international influence and ambitions. Rejecting an implicit offer of partnership with the West, the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin continues to pursue a separate agenda aimed at making Russia an important and independent pillar of the global order. Moscow may not yet aspire to become a global superpower and peer rival of the U.S. again, but Russian policymakers consistently challenge efforts to relegate Moscow to secondary status in Europe and East Asia. Nonetheless, a number of domestic and foreign factors will impact Russia’s strategic posture. more

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Russia-India Afghan Arms Deal Comes With Regional Implications

By Richard Weitz
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One of the effects of the Western military drawdown from Afghanistan has been to strengthen Russian-Indian security ties. Until now, their mutual engagement regarding Afghanistan was mostly diplomatic. But media reports have now emerged of a new arrangement in which India will buy weapons from Russia for delivery to the Afghan military and join with Russia to help restore Afghanistan’s own arms industry. more

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NATO’s Missile Defense Counteroffensive to Ukraine

By Richard Weitz
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As part of their response to perceived Russian meddling in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. and its NATO allies are considering increasing U.S. missile defenses based in NATO’s European member states. While Moscow clearly hates these U.S. systems, and placing them near Russia is sure to capture Moscow’s attention, the U.S. missile defense response needs to be nuanced to yield net benefits to Western security. more