Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (and abroad)
With recent events in Ukraine and beyond, many policymakers and foreign policy analysts are asking what motivates Russian President Vladimir Putin. What shapes his policy decisions and how he views the outside world? Most importantly, officials in Washington and European capitals are left asking what Putin wants and how far is he willing to go. The great lesson of the outbreak of World War I in 1914 was the danger of misreading the statements, actions, and intentions of the adversary. Today, Vladimir Putin has become the greatest challenge to European security and the global world order in decades. Russia’s 8,000 nuclear weapons underscore the huge risks of not understanding who Putin is and what his aspirations are for himself and the people of Russia.
On February 18, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings hosted a discussion with Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, authors of the new and expanded edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. The authors explored Putin’s motivations and methods and dispelled potentially dangerous misconceptions about Putin.
Thomas Wright, fellow and director of the Brookings Project on International Order and Strategy provided introductory remarks. Jill Dougherty, public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, moderated the discussion.
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[Kim Jong Un] did not engage diplomatically at all in those first seven years [as the leader of North Korea], probably because he didn’t want to hear the Chinese nagging him about advancing these weapons. And also he wasn’t going to start bargaining or negotiating them away. ... Kim has done a pivot where he’s doing a maximum engagement.
Having someone [like Andrew Kim, head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center] with strong links to South Korean officials suggests there’s probably a high level of coordination going on [in preparation for the Trump-Kim summit], which is a good thing.
[On Trump-Moon relationship] It’s not a bad relationship, but I wouldn’t call it a love fest either.