James Goldgeier

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Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship

Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship

Against the backdrop of an enormous power differential between their two countries, Clinton and Yeltsin established a close personal rapport. They used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the…

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                    [post_content] => Editorial Note: In light of the public interest in U.S.-Russian relations, especially in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helskinki this summer, the Texas National Security Review will be publishing a series of essays in our “Strategist” section on past U.S. presidents and their engagements with Soviet and Russian leaders. 

As many were decrying the lack of any formal record of the one-on-one meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the Clinton Presidential Library in July posted online nearly all of the declassified memoranda of conversation (“memcons”) from the in-person meetings and telephone conversations (“telcons”) between President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin from Jan. 23, 1993, to Dec. 31, 1999, when Yeltsin abruptly resigned from office and made way for Putin. With 18 memcons and 56 telcons available through the library’s website, it is possible to view directly the key discussions between these two leaders over time, from the early days when Clinton publicly backed Yeltsin in his bloody political standoff with the Russian parliament to their later disagreements over NATO enlargement and Kosovo, along with numerous conversations about arms control, Chechnya, Iran, and other global issues.[1]

As someone who worked in the Clinton administration and has written about U.S.-Russian relations in this period,[2] I found that the documents allow a much deeper and broader understanding of three core features of the Clinton-Yeltsin interactions. First, the two leaders established a close personal rapport and used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement and the Kosovo War. Throughout, from the 1993 political turmoil in Russia through the 1998 Russian financial crisis and beyond, Clinton offered Yeltsin his full personal support.

Second, the two men used their meetings and phone calls to build trust in one another by explicitly referring to delivering on promises made in their prior conversations. This proved particularly important in their discussions of NATO enlargement. Clinton was trying to thread a needle: He sought to keep the issue from harming Yeltsin’s reelection bid in the summer of 1996 while ensuring that the United States responded to Central and Eastern European desires to join the Western alliance. Because Clinton believed the issue would affect his own reelection bid, he wanted to make clear to voters of Central and Eastern European descent in the Midwest before November 1996 that he was moving forward with enlargement. From 1994 to 1996, Clinton reminded Yeltsin often of his assurances about the timing.

Third, and perhaps most important when their interactions are compared with those of other U.S. and Soviet (and later Russian) heads of state during the Cold War and after, an enormous power differential existed between the two countries in this period and was the backdrop to their conversations. Yeltsin’s Russia was extremely weak, a country in economic free-fall and strategic decline. Clinton’s America was enjoying its unipolar moment.[3] In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart, and the declassified memcons and telcons from this period show how that imbalance of power permeates the discussions. The meetings largely consist of Yeltsin agreeing to Clinton’s requests after some back and forth. But also clear is Yeltsin’s desire for Russia to be seen as an equal to the United States, something that was important for his predecessors and successors alike and a factor in U.S.-Russian relations often underappreciated by many in the West.

Clinton’s Support for Yeltsin and the Building of a Personal Rapport

In his first term, Boris Yeltsin needed Bill Clinton’s support as he battled domestic Russian opposition to his policies. It was not just financial support for Russia that was critical, although that assistance was important, including when Clinton publicly endorsed what became a $10.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund announced in the midst of the 1996 Russian presidential campaign.[4] Clinton also offered Yeltsin complete public support when the latter used military force in a standoff with the Russian parliament in the fall of 1993. Clinton did so because he believed he needed Yeltsin — a Russian president committed to good relations with the West who could thereby enable the American president to shrink the U.S. defense budget to pay for cherished domestic programs. One of the first big moments in their relationship came in April 1993, when Yeltsin held a referendum that asked voters whether they trusted him, approved of his socioeconomic policies, and believed new presidential and parliamentary elections should be conducted ahead of schedule. Russia experts in the U.S. government thought that Yeltsin would lose overwhelmingly, and Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, wrote later that the president “followed the referendum as though it were an American election.” Remarkably, given the state of the Russian economy, 58.7 percent of voters affirmed their trust in Yeltsin and 53 percent approved his socioeconomic policies. Clinton happily threw his support behind the Russian president.[5] In a call the next day, Clinton told Yeltsin, “I’m about to issue a statement in support of your policies. I want you to know that we’re in this with you for the long haul.” Yeltsin closed the call by saying, “I hug you from the bottom of my heart.”[6] By September, however, parliamentary opposition to Yeltsin grew stronger. Clinton called Yeltsin early that month to convey his continued support amid the standoff in Moscow. In a follow-up call on Sept. 21, Yeltsin told him, “Bill, the Supreme Soviet [the Russian parliament] has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist. We can no longer put up with that.” He added, “I think there will be no bloodshed,”[7] which turned out to be mistaken. The battle between Yeltsin and the opposition legislators came to a head on Oct. 3, when Yeltsin ordered his military to shell the parliament building. A bloody clash between the executive and legislative branches was not exactly a sign of a healthy democracy, but Clinton phoned two days later to tell Yeltsin, “I wanted to call you and express my support.” Yeltsin responded, “Now that these events are over, we have no more obstacles to Russia’s democratic elections and our transition to democracy and market economy.” Yeltsin even mused that he might hold elections for president at the same time as parliamentary elections in December and told Clinton that he “might end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for standing for election three times in three years.” (He did not carry out this plan.) Yeltsin closed by telling Clinton once again, “I embrace you with all my heart.”[8] [quote id="1"] Clinton continued to emphasize his personal support for Yeltsin over the course of their terms in office. In late 1994, Russia invaded the breakaway province of Chechnya. Clinton expressed concern about the impact of this war on Yeltsin’s image. Referring to an upcoming speech by the Russian president to parliament, Clinton told him, referring to Yeltsin’s pivotal role during the August 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “It is also an opportunity to remind the world of why you are the best hope for continued reform in Russia. I want everyone to see you as the person who stood on the tank and stood up for freedom.”[9] In the run-up to the first round of the Russian presidential election in June 1996, Yeltsin was growing desperate for financial assistance. He told the U.S. president, “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion.” Yeltsin explained that he was not seeing results yet from the rescheduling of Russia’s debt by the group of major creditor countries known as the Paris Club, and the bulk of the recently announced IMF loan would not arrive until later in the year. “But the problem,” said Yeltsin, “is I need money to pay pensions and wages.” Clinton assured him, “I’ll check on this with the IMF and some of our friends and see what can be done.”[10] No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond. In a telephone exchange in late October 1997, months after the two had met in Denver in June, Yeltsin told Clinton, “You know, I started missing your voice.” Clinton replied, “I miss you too.” (They had a similar exchange in February 1998 only three weeks after their previous call!)[11] Clinton saw Yeltsin as a significant figure in Russian history, and he tried to convey that at various points. At a meeting in May 1998, Clinton said, “You know, Boris, we really are working with the stuff of history here. I’m convinced that 20 years from now, when the Russian economy is booming, people will look back and say we were right; we did the right things. I just hope you get all the credit you deserve while you’re still around, because you’ve done a terrific job of leading your country during one of the two or three most important moments in Russian history.”[12] The greatest test of their personal relationship came during the Kosovo bombing campaign in March 1999. Clinton and his European counterparts believed that NATO needed to carry out airstrikes against Serbia to bring its leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to the bargaining table. Yeltsin was stridently opposed to any use of force, not just because of the close ties between Russia and Serbia but partly because, unlike the situation in Bosnia a few years earlier, this would mean military intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Russia’s ability to wield a veto in the U.N. Security Council meant that authorization for the war from that body would not be forthcoming.[13] In a phone conversation between the two men as NATO was about to launch airstrikes, Clinton, after rehashing all that Milosevic had done, told Yeltsin bluntly, “Basically, it will be your decision if you decide to let this bully destroy the relationship we worked hard for over six and a half years to build up.” He reminded Yeltsin of all his public and private support over the years, including providing economic assistance to Russia and his multiple visits to Moscow. “You may decide to let this get in the way of our relationship, but I’m not going to because I do not think he’s that important. I’m sorry he is a Serb. I wish he were Irish or something else, but he is not.” Clinton tried telling Yeltsin that maybe after a few strikes, Milosevic would seek diplomacy; after all, he had come to the table in 1995 to end the earlier Balkan war. Yeltsin would have none of it: “[O]ur people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO. I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that. Well, since I failed to convince the President, that means there is in store for us a very difficult, difficult road of contacts, if they prove to be possible.” He signed off with “Goodbye,” with no added embrace.[14] The latter part of the war led to quite an up-and-down in their conversations. In early May 1999, as they were coming to agreement on what needed to be done, Yeltsin told Clinton, “I owe you a bear hug.” Clinton replied, “Yes, I want a bear hug.”[15] Clinton called Yeltsin on June 10, after discussions between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, and Milosevic appeared to end the conflict, and Yeltsin told him, “I would like to hug and kiss you, and I am sincerely glad that in such a difficult situation our friendship wasn’t broken.”[16] [quote id="2"] Alas, in the next few days, Russian forces occupied the airport in Pristina, and it looked like NATO and Russian forces might come into conflict. Clinton and Yeltsin spoke multiple times by phone. Clinton made clear that a failure to resolve the conflict would harm the upcoming Group of Eight meeting in Germany: “We were about to have in Cologne a celebration of Russia in the peace operation,” an angry Clinton remarked. “Instead, we face day after day, international embarrassment that Kosovo will be wrecked.”[17] Russia’s weakness and Yeltsin’s desire to be feted by his G-8 colleagues in Cologne were key factors in the ultimate resolution of the conflict but so, too, was the importance of the relationship the two presidents had built, a relationship that was tested over the years by the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastward.

Clinton’s Promises on Enlargement

Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement. An undercurrent of their exchanges involved Clinton’s efforts to ensure that he did not harm Yeltsin politically while giving him a very bitter pill to swallow. Another recurrence was Yeltsin’s explanation of the damage this issue was doing to him while ultimately going along with Clinton’s various proposals. There was a brief moment in the fall of 1994 when Yeltsin believed that Clinton was reneging on a commitment not to rush the process and exploded at a Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) summit. The huge power imbalance between the two countries hung over the relationship and punctuated the presidents’ interactions.[18] In their meetings and phone calls, Clinton drove the agenda, as he did for nearly all of the issues they discussed over seven years. The two men genuinely got along, partly because they were similar political animals. But at the end of the day, the United States called the shots in the relationship. Clinton was always trying to make sure that Yeltsin knew he was giving him what he could, and Clinton expected Yeltsin to go along with his proposals. Generally, Yeltsin did. Throughout their conversations on enlargement, Clinton was eager for Yeltsin to know that the United States was keeping a promise Clinton made in September 1994 in one of their discussions in Washington (the declassified memcon of this exchange is not among the cache of documents recently released): namely, that he and his NATO colleagues would go slowly on expanding the alliance given Clinton’s (publicly unstated but understood) desire to see Yeltsin safely reelected in 1996. Meanwhile, Yeltsin focused Clinton’s attention on the domestic political ramifications of NATO enlargement. Interestingly, he did not raise the issue (as others later would) that the United States and its Western European allies had assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during the 1990 negotiations over German unification that NATO would not expand eastward.[19] In October 1993, when discussions first began in earnest about NATO’s future, the possibility of enlargement seemed quite distant. Secretary of State Warren Christopher explained to Yeltsin at the latter’s country dacha that the United States planned to pursue the “Partnership for Peace,” which would include all members of the former Warsaw Pact, and NATO enlargement would be considered only as a “longer-term eventuality.”[20] Christopher told Yeltsin, “There could be no recommendation to ignore or exclude Russia from full participation in the future security of Europe. As a result of our study, a ‘Partnership for Peace’ would be recommended to the [January 1994] NATO summit which would be open to all members of the [North Atlantic Cooperation Council] including all European and [former Soviet] states. There would be no effort to exclude anyone and there would be no step taken at this time to push anyone ahead of others.” Yeltsin was obviously relieved. “This is a brilliant idea, it is a stroke of genius,” he said. “It is important that there is an idea of partnership for all and not new membership for some.” Yeltsin exclaimed, “It really is a great idea, really great,” adding, “Tell Bill I am thrilled by this brilliant stroke.”[21] In late December, a few weeks before Clinton was to meet Yeltsin in Moscow after the NATO summit, the two men spoke by phone. The primary purpose was to discuss the recent Russian parliamentary elections and for Clinton to remind Yeltsin of how the United States had delivered on the economic assistance announced at their first meeting, in Vancouver, the previous April. Clinton stated simply, “I will be in Brussels for the NATO summit and in Prague before I see you and will want to discuss Russian participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace proposal.” Yeltsin responded that he had recently met with NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner: “We discussed a plan of action for the countries of Eastern Europe to cooperate with NATO in a way that would not be at the expense of Russia and also a plan of action for Russia to join NATO.” While Clinton did not respond to Yeltsin’s comment, their discussion was quite cordial; after all, as far as Yeltsin understood, NATO enlargement was not on the table in a serious way.[22] While the Clinton Library collection does not contain the declassified memcon from the presidents’ January 1994 summit in Moscow, nor the specific discussion they had regarding NATO that September in Washington, Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, has written that in the latter meeting Clinton told Yeltsin that NATO was going to expand but tried to reassure him that he had no timetable yet. “We’re going to move forward on this, but I’d never spring it on you.” Clinton said there would be “no surprises, no rush, and no exclusion.” He then added, “As I see it, NATO expansion is not anti-Russia. … I don’t want you to believe that I wake up every morning thinking only about how to make the Warsaw Pact countries a part of NATO — that’s not the way I look at it. What I do think about is how to use NATO expansion to advance the broader, higher goal of European security, unity and integration — a goal I know you share.”[23] Clinton knew Yeltsin was not going to be happy, so he kept emphasizing that he was promising not to spring anything on Yeltsin and that “no exclusion” meant that Russia would be eligible to join someday. In reality, it was no exclusion in theory but not in practice. Russia was not going to become a NATO member. Even so, Clinton had reason to believe he was managing the process well; after all, Yeltsin told him in a phone call on Oct. 5, 1994, that “the Washington Summit proved a success.”[24] At their September meeting, Yeltsin asked Clinton to come to the CSCE summit in Budapest that December. The CSCE was being upgraded to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), and Yeltsin wanted to signal that perhaps there could be alternatives to NATO in addressing European security. Clinton agreed to go. He kept that promise even after the 1994 midterm elections resulted in a Republican takeover of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. His White House team scheduled a congressional reception the night of the Budapest summit precisely to try to keep the president from leaving town. But Clinton’s foreign policy team said he had to go, and he did.[25] It turned out to be the most disastrous public encounter the two presidents would have. On Dec. 1, the NATO foreign ministers announced that they would complete a study by the end of 1995 (i.e., a half-year before the 1996 Russian presidential election) on how NATO would enlarge. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who had gone to Brussels to sign Russia’s Partnership for Peace program document and a document on a NATO-Russia dialogue, was ordered by a furious Yeltsin not to sign. At the Budapest summit a few days later, Clinton gave what his deputy secretary of state, Talbott, described later as the “most in your face” manifestation of the U.S. position on NATO enlargement. In remarks Talbott said were drafted not in his office but within the National Security Council (where National Security Adviser Anthony Lake had been pushing NATO enlargement for more than a year), Clinton declared, “We must not allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference. We must not consign new democracies to a gray zone.” He added that “no country outside will be allowed to veto expansion.”[26] Yeltsin publicly responded, “Europe, not having yet freed itself from the heritage of the Cold War, is in danger of plunging into a cold peace.”[27] Clinton was stunned and angered by the tone of Yeltsin’s remarks. Talbott, who was not on the trip, thought he might be fired for not having adequately prepared his boss for what would occur.[28] Soon, however, Clinton had things seemingly back on track thanks in part to visits by others in his administration, including Vice President Al Gore, to see Yeltsin. In advance of his own trip to Moscow in May 1995, Clinton called Yeltsin to discuss NATO. “We recognize how sensitive this issue is for you. That is why I want to assure you that this process is proceeding along a path that is consistent with what you and I agreed upon last September and that Vice President Gore reiterated to you when he saw you in December.” Yeltsin responded, “I fully agree with you on that.” Clinton added, “For the future stability of Europe, it is important that Russia is a vital part of the new security structures that are emerging. That means OSCE, the post-COCOM [the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls established by the West after World War II] regime, the new NATO—all of them. None of this can develop normally unless Russia is involved in the process.” Yeltsin stated, “We’ll both have difficult discussions with regards to NATO, but I’m confident we’ll be able to find an acceptable solution for this issue.” Clinton then reported that Secretary of State Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev had just described to him a proposal for the upcoming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting that would again affirm that there would be no acceleration of the enlargement process, announce a strengthening of the Partnership for Peace, and begin discussions about a NATO-Russia special relationship.[29] [quote id="3"] Nevertheless, the issue remained an enormous sore spot for Yeltsin and a domestic political problem. In a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin on May 10, 1995, Yeltsin asked for a better understanding of what Clinton was doing on NATO enlargement “because now I see nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed. How do you think it looks to us if one bloc continues to exist while the Warsaw Pact has been abolished?” He called it a “new form of encirclement” and repeated his plea to develop a new pan-European security architecture. “You and I are heading for elections,” Yeltsin said. “The extremists and hardliners are exploiting this issue for their own purposes — on both sides. I am being attacked from both the right and the left on this. We need a common European space that provides for overall security. So let’s postpone any change in NATO until 1999 or 2000. … But for me to agree to the borders of NATO expanding toward those of Russia — that would constitute a betrayal on my part of the Russian people.” Instead, Yeltsin said in desperation, “Let’s say that Russia will give every state that wants to join NATO a guarantee that we won’t infringe on its security.” When Clinton asked rhetorically whether the United States still needed to maintain a security relationship with Europe, Yeltsin fired back, “I’m not so sure you do.” Clinton tied his approach to the Victory Day ceremony for which he had come to Moscow and the lessons of history. “Our goal is for the U.S. to stay in Europe and promote a unified, integrated Europe.” He was doing that, he said, by trying to make the Partnership for Peace important, keeping open the door to Russian NATO membership, creating a special NATO-Russia relationship, and ensuring that the NATO membership review process was a deliberate one. Clinton reminded Yeltsin of how this process had unfolded, that he had told Yeltsin in January 1994 that NATO was open to taking in new members, and that in December NATO had agreed to study how to do it. Responding to that study would take the first half of 1996, said Clinton. For Yeltsin, this time frame was vital, because, the Russian leader noted, “my position heading into the 1996 elections is not exactly brilliant.” Clinton, however, had his own political concerns. He explained to Yeltsin that the Republicans were using NATO expansion in their effort to win over voters of Central European descent in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. He suggested to Yeltsin that they accept what each other needed to do politically. Yeltsin would not have to embrace expansion. Clinton would not say he was slowing down the process. And meanwhile Yeltsin should sign the documents for Russia to join the Partnership for Peace and to establish a NATO-Russian dialogue:
So here is what I want to do. I’ve made it clear I’ll do nothing to accelerate NATO. I’m trying to give you now, in this conversation, the reassurance you need. But we need to be careful that neither of us appears to capitulate. For you, that means you’re not going to embrace expansion; for me, it means no talk about slowing the process down or putting it on hold or anything like that.
Then Clinton told Yeltsin to sign the two documents. Yeltsin asked again that NATO move forward only after his election. Clinton reiterated the timetable, trying to reassure Yeltsin that nothing concrete would happen until after the summer of 1996. Yeltsin said they should publicly say they discussed the issue, understood each other, and would discuss the issue further at their next meeting. Clinton responded, “Good. So join PFP.” Yeltsin agreed.[30] A few months before the NATO leaders’ 1997 announcement in Madrid that the alliance was inviting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join, Yeltsin made one last effort to shape the future at a small meeting with Clinton in Helsinki on March 21. He opened by acknowledging the inevitable. “Our position has not changed,” Yeltsin said. “It remains a mistake for NATO to move eastward. But I need to take steps to alleviate the negative consequences of this for Russia. I am prepared to enter into an agreement with NATO not because I want to but because it is a forced step. There is no other solution for today.” Yeltsin sought a legally binding accord, signed by all 16 NATO members, that would make clear that NATO decisions would not be made “without taking into account the concerns or opinions of Russia.” He also wanted assurance that no nuclear or conventional arms would move into the new members’ territory, “thus creating a new cordon sanitaire aimed at Russia.” Then he put on the table what he most wanted. “[O]ne thing is very important: enlargement should also not embrace the former Soviet republics. I cannot sign any agreement without such language. Especially Ukraine.” Recognizing he was unlikely to receive this, he changed tack slightly,
I propose that in the statement we could accept the fact that Russia has no claims on other countries. In fact, regarding the countries of the former Soviet Union, let us have a verbal, gentlemen’s agreement — we would not write it down in the statement — that no former Soviet republics would enter NATO. This gentlemen’s agreement would not be made public.
Clinton responded that he was “trying to change NATO.” He had language in the proposed agreement between NATO and Russia on nuclear and conventional forces. And he wanted to make sure they signed something before the NATO summit “so we can say to the world that there is a new NATO and a new Russia and that’s the right spirit,” to which Yeltsin agreed. But Clinton added that he couldn’t make an agreement on former Soviet republics: “it would be a bad thing for our attempt to build a new NATO, but it would also be a bad thing for your attempt to build a new Russia.” NATO was assisting the process of building an “integrated, undivided Europe,” Clinton argued what Yeltsin was proposing would mean “Russia would be saying, ‘we have still got an empire, but it just can’t reach as far West.’” Clinton didn’t want to come out of the meeting having discussed new lines being drawn in Europe, and he wouldn’t be able to go forward with a treaty because of Senate opposition. Yeltsin tried again, saying that the Duma would likely make this a condition of its ratification of a NATO-Russia charter. He asked Clinton to tell him what he wanted to hear “one-on-one — without even our closest aides present — that you won’t take new republics in the near future; I need to hear that. I understand that maybe in ten years or something, the situation might change, but not now.” Clinton shot back,
If I went into a closet with you and told you that, the Congress would find out and pass a resolution invalidating the NATO-Russia charter. I’d rather frankly that the Duma pass a resolution conditioning its adherence on this point. I just can’t do it. A private commitment would be the same as a public one. … I know what a terrible problem this is for you, but I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO.
Yeltsin tried one last time to get what he wanted, but to no avail, and so they moved on to other items. [31] At their last meeting, in Istanbul in November 1999, Yeltsin said to Clinton, “I ask you one thing. Just give Europe to Russia. The U.S. is not in Europe. Europe should be the business of Europeans. Russia is half European and half Asian. … Bill, I’m serious. Give Europe to Europe itself. We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles.”[32] This was, of course, not a statement the United States would take seriously, and it was hard enough for Russia to be taken seriously by the United States as an equal.

The Imbalance of Power and Russia’s Drive for Equal Status

Yeltsin’s desire to be seen as an equal, and Clinton’s efforts to provide window dressing to help with appearances, permeated their conversations throughout the two presidents’ time in office, and not only during their conversations over NATO enlargement. During the September 1994 Washington summit, Yeltsin said, “[T]here are some people in the White House and Congress who believe that Russia has lost its superpower status. Of course, not you personally, Bill.” Clinton responded, “I have tried in every way to relate to Russia and to you as a great power and to enhance your role, whether in the G-7 or bilaterally.”[33] Still, neither could escape the fact that the two countries occupied completely different status levels in the international system. At their May 1995 meeting in Moscow, Clinton said to Yeltsin, “You have to walk through the doors that we open for you.”[34] The Russians wanted to be treated as equals, and the idea of walking through doors the United States was opening for them made clear that they were not. The dynamic was such, however, that when Yeltsin got spun up on these issues, Clinton would soothe him. In a one-on-one meeting (with Talbott and Yeltsin’s assistant Dmitry Ryurikov as notetakers) in Moscow in April 1996, Yeltsin came into the meeting clearly angry because Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov had told him that the United States was trying to sideline Russia in the Middle East. Clinton said, “That’s not correct. No one’s sidelining anybody.” When Yeltsin said he was not convinced, Clinton reminded him of all they had done together since their first meeting three years earlier: “We’ve done a remarkable job in getting a lot done and also in being honest about our differences. My objectives are first, an integrated, undivided Europe; and second, a cooperative equal partnership with a democratic, economically successful Russia which is influential in the world.” He added, “I want historians fifty years from now to look back on this period and say you and I took full advantage of the opportunity we had. We made maximum use of the extraordinary moment that came with the end of the Cold War.” Yeltsin zeroed in on the one word that mattered to him: “The key word you just used was ‘equal’ partnership. This will restore trust and confidence.” Clinton explained how Russia could play an important role in the Middle East due to its influence with Syria and Hezbollah. Yeltsin appeared mollified.[35] One of the major issues in their relationship was Russia’s ascension to the group of advanced industrialized democracies. The G-7 was to become the G-8. Clinton faced significant opposition to this move from his own Treasury Department, which was concerned about diluting a body of the world’s leading market economies with membership for a country that did not yet have a market economy and whose gross domestic product was quite small.[36] At a larger meeting of the two leaders and their teams in April 1996 at the Kremlin, Clinton explained that the G-7’s work coordinating fiscal policy “among the world’s richest countries” was important and that if Russia were included, countries such as Mexico, South Korea, and Brazil would ask to join as well. Yeltsin argued, “Russia will be on the rise. I cannot agree to the ‘7 plus 1’ formula; I also understand that we cannot reach the level of a full G-8. You have to keep in mind that we are a great power, which affects how people think about this.”[37] A year later, at their March 1997 meeting in Helsinki, Clinton publicly stated:
We will work with Russia to advance its membership in key international economic institutions like the W.T.O., the Paris Club, and the O.E.C.D. And I am pleased to announce, with the approval of the other G-7 nations, that we will substantially increase Russia’s role in our annual meeting, now to be called the Summit of the Eight, in Denver this June.[38]
At a bilateral meeting of the two presidents and a small group of advisers in Paris in advance of the “Summit of the Eight,” Yeltsin raised the issue of how Russia’s economy was labeled. National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger explained that by law, Russia would be far worse off in terms of trade preferences being labeled a market economy than if it were designated a non-market economy or a transition economy. Yeltsin did not care for the designation, seeing it as an insult: “Russia is not a transition economy. We have transformed. It is a market economy.” Labels mattered to him; Yeltsin wanted Russia to be seen as a great power on par with the other leading world powers.[39]

Conclusions

These records are an important reminder that notes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed. The recently released Clinton White House records show the distribution of these conversations, typically to the secretary of state, Deputy Secretary of State Talbott (who often was with the president for the meetings and phone calls), and the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. The role these documents play in developing policy is a major reason why there was so much concern when Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin one-on-one for more than two hours in Helsinki in July 2018 with no notetakers present.[40] [quote id="4"] Reading these memcons and telcons as a narrative record of the seven years of interactions between Clinton and Yeltsin left me feeling rather sad. The two leaders certainly accomplished a great deal: Yeltsin ensured that Russian troops left the Baltic countries, worked to keep Russian entities from transferring missile technologies to Iran, and participated in the Implementation Force in Bosnia alongside NATO and under American command. The two presidents worked with their counterparts in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to transfer to Russia the strategic nuclear weapons those countries inherited upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is notable that many of their accomplishments occurred during their first terms and were largely issues related to the collapse of the Soviet Union such as the removal of Russian troops from the Baltics and the stationing of strategic nuclear weapons. They had big plans throughout their two terms for new arms-control agreements, but domestic political constraints got in the way. Ultimately, neither the United States nor Russia found a place for Russia in the basic architecture of European security. Meanwhile, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine ended up in a zone of insecurity, not able to join NATO and each with Russian military forces on its territory. A conversation at the end of their time together regarding Yeltsin’s successor was more hopeful than was warranted. In September 1999, Yeltsin informed Clinton by phone,
It took me a lot of time to think who might be the next Russian president in the year 2000. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not find any sitting candidate. Finally, I came across him, that is, Putin, and I explored his bio, his interests, his acquaintances, and so on and so forth. I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner. I am very much convinced that he will be supported as a candidate in the year 2000.[41]
In their in-person conversation in Istanbul in November 1999, Clinton asked who was going to win the Russian presidential election the next year, and Yeltsin did not hesitate: “Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.” He added, “He’s tough. He has an internal ramrod. He’s tough internally, and I will do everything possible for him to win — legally, of course. And he will win. You’ll do business together. He will continue the Yeltsin line on democracy and economics and widen Russia’s contacts. He has the energy and the brains to succeed.”[42] On Dec. 31, 1999, Clinton called Yeltsin just after Yeltin’s announcement that he was stepping down in favor of Putin, who of course went on to win the presidential election a few months later. In that final call, Clinton said, “You have guided your country through a historic time and you are leaving a legacy that will leave Russians better off for years to come. … Boris, I believe that historians will say you were the father of Russian democracy…” After telling Clinton once again that Putin would win and that he was a strong, intelligent democrat, Yeltsin ended their call as he had done so often over the previous seven years: “I would like from the bottom of my heart to embrace you.”[43]   James Goldgeier is a professor of international relations at American University, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the 2018-19 Library of Congress chair in U.S.-Russia relations at the John W. Kluge Center. You can follow him on Twitter: @JimGoldgeier. Image: FDR Presidential Library [post_title] => Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bill-and-boris-a-window-into-a-most-important-post-cold-war-relationship [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-05 18:44:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-05 22:44:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://tnsr.org/?p=696 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => Against the backdrop of an enormous power differential between their two countries, Clinton and Yeltsin established a close personal rapport. They used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement — a major sore spot for Yeltsin — and the Kosovo War, the greatest test of the two leaders' personal relationship. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 4 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => [N]otes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed. ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => ) ) [style] => strategist [type] => Strategist [style_label] => The Strategist [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 60 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] The documents are in two files labeled “Declassified Documents Concerning Russian President Boris Yeltsin.” The first covers the period from Jan. 23, 1993, to April 21, 1996, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568. The second covers the period from April 21, 1996, to Dec. 31, 1999, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569. The letters they sent one another have not been declassified. [2] James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003). [3] Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs 70, no. 1 (1990/1991), https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1991-02-01/unipolar-moment. [4] Paul Quinn-Judge, “Clinton Gives Yeltsin a Vote of Confidence; Declares Support for $9 Billion Loan,” Boston Globe, Jan. 31, 1996. The agreed-upon loan amount ended up being $10.2 billion. See Michael Gordon, “Russia and I.M.F. Agree on a Loan for $10.2 Billion,” New York Times, Feb. 23, 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/23/world/russia-and-imf-agree-on-a-loan-for-10.2-billion.html. See also the Clinton-Yeltsin discussion of the loan in Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “The President’s Discussion with President Yeltsin on the Russian Election, Bilateral Relations, START II Ratification and NATO,” Feb. 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 357. [5] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 125; Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy (New York: Random House, 2002), 70. [6] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” April 26, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 51–52. [7] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Sept. 7, 1993; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Sept. 21, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 95, 107. [8] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Oct. 5, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 119–21. [9] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin: Chechnya, START II,” Feb. 13, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 269. [10] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin on CTBT, Chechnya, Economics, CFE and Russian Election,” May 7, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 26–27. [11] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 30, 1997; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Feb. 23, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 183, 253. [12] Memorandum of Conversation, “President Boris Yeltsin of Russia,” Birmingham, England, May 17, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 316. [13] John Norris, Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo (New York: Praeger, 2005). [14] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” March 24, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 432–36. Note that the document is dated 1998, but given the content and the placement in the records, it is clear the call was from 1999. [15] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” May 2, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 472. [16] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” June 10, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 488. [17] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” June 13, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 535. [18] For more on the impact of NATO enlargement on their relationship, see Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose. [19] See Mary Elise Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to ‘Bribe the Soviets Out’ and Move NATO In,” International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 110–37, https://doi.org/10.1162/ISEC_a_00005; Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (January 2010): 119–40, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7709.2009.00835.x; Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7–44, https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00236. For arguments that the notion of promises or assurances are mistaken, see, for example, Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2009): 39–61, https://doi.org/10.1080/01636600902773248; James M. Goldgeier, Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999); Steven Pifer, “Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says ‘No,’” Brookings Institution, Nov. 6, 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/. [20] “Secretary Christopher’s Meeting with President Yeltsin,” Moscow, Oct. 22, 1993, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/dc.html?doc=4390822-Document-08-Secretary-Christopher-s-meeting-with. This document was posted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University earlier this year and was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request I made many years ago. [21] For a discussion of this meeting’s importance for future developments, see James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016, https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/promises-made-promises-broken-what-yeltsin-was-told-about-nato-in-1993-and-why-it-matters/. [22] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Dec. 22, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 144–45. Unfortunately, the declassified memcon from their meeting in Moscow in January 1994 is not included in the cache of documents recently made available by the Clinton Library. [23] Talbott, The Russia Hand, 136; Ronald D. Asmus, Opening NATO’s Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 90. For an explanation of how U.S. policy developed from January to September 1994, see Goldgeier, Not Whether But When. [24] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 5, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 227. Note that the document itself is dated 1993, but the content and the date on the transmittal memorandum make clear that it is from 1994. [25] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 189–90. [26] Talbott, The Russia Hand, 141; “Remarks by the President at Plenary Session of 1994 Summit of the Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Dec. 5, 1994, https://clintonwhitehouse6.archives.gov/1994/12/1994-12-05-president-remarks-at-csce-summit-in-budapest.html. [27] Daniel Williams, “Yeltsin, Clinton Clash over NATO’s Role,” Washington Post, Dec. 6, 1994, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/12/06/yeltsin-clinton-clash-over-natos-role/19b7b3a1-abd1-4b1e-b4b2-362f1a236ce9/. [28] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 192. [29] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Presidential Telephone Call,” April 27, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 281–82. [30] “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 290–96. [31] Memorandum of Conversation, “Morning Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, START, ABM/TMD,” Helsinki, March 21, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 106–10. [32] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 562–63. [33] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with President Boris Yeltsin,” Sept. 27, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 214–15. [34] “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 293. [35] “POTUS-Yeltsin One-on-One,” Presidential Ceremonial Office, The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 381–85. [36] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 207. [37] Memorandum of Conversation, “Luncheon Meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 11–12. [38] “The President’s News Conference with President Boris Yeltsin of Russia in Helsinki,” March 21, 1997, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=53904. [39] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, Arms Control, Economics, Denver Summit of the Eight, Afghanistan, Iran,” Paris, May 27, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 148–49. [40] James Goldgeier, "Trump and Putin one-on-one is not a good idea. Here’s why." Monkey Cage blog, July 19, 2017 (revised and republished July 13, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/07/19/there-are-no-notes-on-trumps-meeting-with-putin-thats-a-big-deal/. [41] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Sept. 8, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 548. [42] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 565–66. [43] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” Dec. 31, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 582–84. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 496 [post_author] => 107 [post_date] => 2018-02-20 10:24:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-20 15:24:27 [post_content] =>

1. Introduction: How Do We Bridge the Gap?

By James Goldgeier In 1993, Stanford Professor Alexander George published Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy.[1] The project that I co-direct, which goes by the same name, as well as other related programs at a number of universities funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York,[2] are testimony to the influence George had on so many of us who are interested in connecting academic research to policy and public audiences. Hundreds of scholars have attended our Bridging the Gap New Era Workshop (NEW) for PhD students, now in its 13th year, and our International Policy Summer Institute (IPSI) for faculty, which we will hold for the 8th time in June.[3] NEW focuses on helping emerging scholars develop policy-relevant questions and learn about a range of career options for PhD students who want to do policy-relevant work. IPSI is designed to give faculty members more tools to engage policy and public audiences. We have learned through our work that university leaders across the country would like to see more of their faculty engage local, national, and international audiences beyond the ivory tower. In 2016, we convened 13 provosts from a variety of public and private universities to discuss ways to create incentives and resources on their campuses for this type of work.[4] In moments of great uncertainty, policymakers and the public turn to academics for ideas and solutions. After World War II, for example, the onset of the nuclear age created huge opportunities for figures such as Thomas Schelling, Bernard Brodie, Albert Wohlstetter, William Kaufmann, and others who held positions at universities but also had think tank and government connections.[5] Nuclear war made great power war unwinnable, and these theorists made major contributions to the understanding of the requirements for mutual deterrence, such as the concept of “Mutual Assured Destruction” or MAD.  As former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg says, “policymaking is about putting ideas into practice, and universities are about generating ideas.”[6] Many of the significant foreign policy theories and ideas that have circulated in the policy world and in public debate have come from academia: the end of history,[7] the clash of civilizations,[8] and, more recently, the so-called Thucydides trap.[9] Liberalism’s theory that democracies don’t go to war with one another has influenced U.S. presidents since Woodrow Wilson. Bill Clinton’s 1994 National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement argued, for example: “The more that democracy and political and economic liberalization take hold in the world, particularly in countries of geostrategic importance to us, the safer our nation is likely to be and the more our people are likely to prosper.”[10] One reason academic ideas penetrate government is that the United States has a long history of academics serving at high levels of government, including National Security Advisers McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Condoleezza Rice, as well as other government officials, such as Joseph Nye, Stephen Krasner, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.[11] And even foreign policy practitioners who have not come from academia often have backgrounds in political science or international relations either at the undergraduate or graduate level, where they took classes that exposed them to academic ideas. Why Should Academics Seek to Bridge the Gap? Many scholars go into academia because they have a passion for research and writing. They typically are not trained or even encouraged in their PhD programs to write for policy or public audiences. Yet, what we’ve learned from the applications to our Bridging the Gap training workshops is that there is a real hunger in the academy, particularly among younger scholars, to use academic expertise to influence policy audiences and public debates. One reason to do this type of work is to reach a larger readership. Academic books and articles take a long time to write and are intended for a limited distribution. It can be rewarding when shorter pieces spun off from that work reach a wider audience. After all, academics are in the business of educating others, and many would like to find ways to do so beyond their students and colleagues. American University professor Sarah Snyder describes in this roundtable how she used her expertise in the history of American foreign policy, particularly in the area of human rights, to produce pieces for the Conversation, which has a huge readership through its own platform as well as through republishing. Through this medium, she was able to reach tens of thousands of readers and share her knowledge and insights. Particularly when seeking to educate the broader public based on their scholarly expertise, scholars should keep in mind that their value comes from that deep expertise. Snyder acknowledges that at first she worried about going on radio and television because she is not a pundit. But media outlets look for scholars precisely for this reason — because they are experts, not general commentators. And as Snyder found out, in addition to reaching the broader public, other scholars heard her commentary and invited her to present her work on their campuses. Where Are the Opportunities? University of Texas LBJ School professor Joshua Busby describes below writing for platforms like the Duck of Minerva and the Monkey Cage, the latter of which started as a blog in the George Washington University political science department and is now hosted by the Washington Post. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy professor Monica Duffy Toft mentions outlets like War on the Rocks (which has become highly influential in the defense community) and Lawfare, which is widely read by folks in the national security and legal community. Her Fletcher colleague Dan Drezner has built an amazing public profile throughout his career, and now has a regular column for the Washington Post. Another kind of writing that branches out beyond academia takes the form of producing papers for think tanks, as Busby discusses. Think tanks are not only excellent outlets for policy relevant work but are great ways to build policy networks. While most U.S.-based think tanks are located in Washington, D.C., there are important opportunities in other major American cities, such as the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, although academics do not have to be located in these cities to connect to the think tanks. As Busby and Toft discuss in their contributions to this roundtable, there are also a variety of ways that academics can gain policy experience, including fellowships such as the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship (IAF), the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship, or working in government as a political or expert appointee. (International organizations also provide opportunities for the latter.) But as both of those contributors note, academics need to be able to tell policymakers what to do based on their substantive and theoretical knowledge, which can be hard for a scholar who has been trained to build and test theory. Toft writes that policymakers “need good — not perfect — answers fast, and they require clear predictions along with sound options for dealing with those crises.” One personal anecdote illustrates this point perfectly: In my first week as an IAF at the Department of State in 1995, I delivered a requested policy memo to my boss, who said, “This is a great analysis, but what should we do?” And I thought to myself, “How the heck should I know? I’m an academic.” A year spent at the State Department and on the National Security Council staff taught me how. It also greatly informed my subsequent scholarship and teaching. What Are the Costs to Academics? Although some professional organizations, like the American Anthropological Association[12]  and the American Sociological Association,[13] encourage departments in their fields to consider how to count publicly engaged work as part of the tenure and promotion process, we are still in the early stages of agreeing on how to measure that impact. And as Toft notes, even if one is in a department or school that values this type of work, the external review process is likely to produce letters that focus exclusively on the evaluation of peer-reviewed academic work. The provosts who attended the 2016 Bridging the Gap workshop cited this as a major obstacle in providing incentives for more policy relevance and public engagement. This is also a challenge, as Toft argues, for interdisciplinary work, which might be essential for solving pressing problems but runs into problems in disciplinary departments that can sometimes suffer from a silo effect. Snyder reminds us, as we consider how to promote greater scholarly public engagement, not to ignore the huge disparities in the numbers of men and women writing op-eds for major media outlets. She cites a Washington Post op-ed editor who revealed that 90 percent of submissions came from men, an astonishing statistic. Another important issue that needs to be addressed, as Snyder points out, is that women whose work is visible on social media are subject to significant online harassment. Conclusion There are many opportunities for scholars to bridge the gap. Younger scholars, in particular, have shown eagerness to do so as one can see by perusing the Monkey Cage, War on the Rocks, the Duck of Minerva, the Conversation, and other great outlets that engage policy and public audiences. There are still academic departments that advise junior scholars to wait until after they are tenured to do this type of work. However, scholars who spend graduate school and the tenure-track writing narrow academic pieces will find it hard, after a dozen or more years, to suddenly write for such a different audience. No one who advocates for bridging the gap is suggesting that scholars abandon serious academic work to write op-eds or think tank reports. The goal is to do both well and use academic work to build a broader portfolio. International Affairs schools are playing a major role in hiring faculty who do both academic and policy work, and particularly in valuing certain expertise that disciplinary departments have traditionally ignored. Political science turned its back on area studies some time ago, but International Affairs schools need experts on specific countries and regions for teaching purposes. These faculty members can also be critical for helping policymakers as well as the public understand places like China, Egypt, and North Korea, especially when conflict arises. History departments have devalued international diplomatic history, but in recent years, policy schools such as Harvard’s JFK School, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Fletcher School, and American University’s School of International Service have lured leading diplomatic historians to train future policymakers. The challenges of measuring impact on the public and in the policy arena for both the tenure and promotion processes won’t go away. But encouraging faculty to bridge those gaps is a welcome feature of the international affairs school landscape, as indicated by the three great scholars who have contributed to this roundtable.   James Goldgeier is Visiting Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Professor of International Relations at the School of International Service at American University, where he served as Dean from 2011-17. Previously, he was a professor at George Washington University, where, from 2001-05, he directed the Elliott School’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. He also taught at Cornell University, and has held a number of public policy appointments, including Director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff, Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Henry A. Kissinger Chair at the Library of Congress. In addition, he has held appointments at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Hoover Institution, the Brookings Institution, and the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation. He is past president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, and he co-directs the Bridging the Gap project, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has authored or co-authored four books.

2. On Policy Engagement and Academia: 5 Approaches to Bridging the Gap

By Joshua Busby There has been no shortage of commentary in recent years lamenting the divide between policy and academia. While less true today, many academics have, over the years, made insufficient efforts to make their work accessible to broader audiences while insights from those scholars who have tried to bridge the gap often languished unread.[14] There are also challenges in traditional academic departments, particularly for junior scholars on tenure track, to doing policy relevant work because it is frequently not valued by senior colleagues.[15] For those determined to press on, there are several formats and venues for doing policy relevant work. In this essay, I identify five different approaches that I have engaged in to make my work relevant to policy. I also reflect on the benefits and trade-offs inherent to each area. Those five approaches include short-form writing for the public, long-form writing for policy audiences, policy-oriented courses, grants and consulting work, and actual policy practice. But before examining each of these five areas, let’s first ask some more fundamental questions about why academics should care about being involved in the policy world and look at some general advice about how to begin engaging with it. We live in a period described by Tom Nichols as the “death of expertise.”[16] With rumors and false information in ample supply on the internet, Nichols worries that the role of and appreciation for people with deep subject-matter expertise has diminished. With even leading political figures trucking in conspiracy theories and fringe websites, this development is not limited to the mass public. As a consequence of declining confidence in expertise, the transmission belt of information to decision-makers who are persuaded by solid arguments and data has been somewhat upended. Keeping that observation in mind, if we, as academics, care about policy and about changing the world, we must be aware of this development when we step in the arena. We not only have to share what we know, but we may also need to make a more fulsome argument for why people should listen to us. The question then becomes: What can we do to become more involved and have the ear of decision-makers? In the parlance of the musical Hamilton, what can a policy-curious academic do to be in the room where it happens? Answering that question in turn triggers a set of other questions for scholars: What should we be learning and focusing on? Where should we go? With whom can we meet? To make ourselves more policy relevant might mean learning new methods or languages, or developing new areas of expertise, which can be achieved through arranging field work or study tours in specific locations. And, of course, academics could choose to attend policy-oriented conferences where they will meet other academics and policy-makers with similar interests. Given that most of what academics do is write, the choice will often come down to the topics we write about and the publications where we publish. Ultimately, academics are only worth listening to if we have something substantive to say. Part of that includes having a distinct point of view. Sometimes, while pursuing that goal, scholars can become professional contrarians who take issue with established orthodoxies in order to set themselves apart. There are indeed audiences for that kind of work, but it often comes off as a mercenary approach. However one decides to go at it, scholars need to develop an argument or an approach that others can recognize. It helps immensely if scholars choose a real world issue of great importance to the events of today or possible future realities. Stephen Van Evera offers this advice for dissertations and case selection. Problem-driven questions surrounding big issues likely produce more interesting scholarship than small bore, methods-driven questions.[17] In academia these days, there are plenty of opportunities to let your policy freak flag fly and meet other like-minded thinkers. These include the New Era conference for graduate students,[18] which is associated with the wider Bridging the Gap program at American University,[19] as well as gap-bridging efforts around the country at the University of Denver[20] and others supported by the Carnegie Corporation.[21] Other long-standing programs such as the Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS) are also helpful for building networks with other policy-oriented scholars.[22] Before looking at the five ways to engage the policy world, a brief word of caution. In seeking to bridge the gap, scholars also have a responsibility, at the very least, to do no harm, with a sense of humility that they might be wrong and that the real world may confound. David Halberstam wrote about the “best and the brightest,” scholar-practitioners of impeccable credentials who were part of the intellectual class that embroiled the United States in Vietnam.[23] As the stigma of policy engagement recedes in academia, scholars would be wise to remember the limits of their own expertise and how poor implementation of ideas expertly conceived can still lead to failure. These warnings aside, scholars now have many different avenues and forums to engage with policy. May they use these channels wisely. 1. Short-Form Writing for the Public Most of the writing scholars do comes in the form of long, peer-reviewed articles and books for specialized audiences. The readership and reach of both are necessarily limited to the people with training to understand the work and methods, not to mention those with access to paywalled journals. Short-form writing, including op-eds and blogging, is a way for scholars to translate their work into shorter, more accessible prose for a wider public audience.[24] Both are increasingly being embraced by academics. I began blogging in the mid-2000s and since 2011 have been writing for the academic blog Duck of Minerva, including a six-part series of posts on this very topic that grew out of a similar session last year at the American Political Science Association (APSA) annual conference.[25] In recent years, I have also contributed consistently to the Monkey Cage, among other outlets, and have an active social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. The Monkey Cage, a blog hosted by the Washington Post, has become the premier short-form outlet for academics in large part because of the size of its readership. With the professionalization and integration of blogs like the Monkey Cage into traditional media, it seems almost obligatory for scholars, particularly younger ones trying to make a name for themselves, to publish a short-form version of their longer peer-reviewed work. People may not have heard about a scholar’s journal article but a digestible distillation of the argument in a blog or op-ed may pique their interest. All of these efforts take time and energy. Scholars have to ask themselves what purposes are served by engaging in those activities. One benefit of publishing for the general public is that it can result in invitations to brief policymakers. Visibility can also lead to invitations to conferences, funding opportunities, and advances for books, all of which increase a scholar’s reach. However, this type of short-form writing should not be mistaken for policy influence itself. When writing op-eds or other commentary articles for the general public, there is a premium placed on being topical. Savvy scholars will anticipate events such as the annual conferences of the G20, climate negotiations, or other forums that are relevant to their specialization. This allows a person to pitch an idea to an outlet in advance so it can appear when interest is likely to be high. On the other hand, things can pop up suddenly, so those who are serious about being policy relevant need to periodically be prepared to drop everything when events happen and write a 1000-word piece on short notice. One danger that is worth pointing out is how easy it is to allow one’s self-esteem to be driven by metrics like pageviews, retweets, and likes. But unlike citation counts, no one will get tenure based on retweets, nor do social media metrics necessarily equate to policy influence. 2. Long-form Writing for Policy Audiences It can be tempting to substitute in-depth long-form writing with shorter quick hits as discussed above. However, serious academics, even those deeply engaged with policy, need a mix of publications. One way to maintain that balance while still engaging in policy-oriented scholarship is writing long-form papers for think tanks. Think tank papers often have readerships that exceed most academic papers and are also counted in Google Scholar. Some departments may even count them towards tenure, promotion, or metrics for awarding raises. Getting a foot in the door of a think tank may be the hardest part of this type of policy engagement. Writing for or holding a fellowship at a think tank can sometimes be the result of knowing the right person, but there are other ways in. The more visibility a scholar has, the better chance they will have of being offered work in that venue. Once someone has written a few think tank papers, it can be easier to get other contracts and writing requests. Some think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Wilson Center have their own blogs. Offering to write a guest post for one of these is a great way to get to know some of the in-house scholars. Going to relevant conferences can also help generate professional networks that can help get a scholar on the think tank radar. I would encourage younger scholars to pursue membership in the Council on Foreign Relations’ Term Member program and take part in their international and domestic trips. Short of that, engaging substantively with individuals at think tanks on social media is another approach to becoming a known quantity to them. Writing a think tank piece can often be more time intensive than a peer-reviewed article, requiring multiple rounds of review, internally and externally, in-person meetings with expert reviewers, and, if you are lucky, a launch event. Getting line edits from very senior policymakers can be daunting and the arduous external review process has to be taken very seriously. Think tanks are not afraid to pull the release of a paper if the work is not satisfactory. One particular challenge in writing for think tanks — beyond the need to write in plain language for a non-scholarly audience — is coming up with policy solutions. Academics are trained to identify questions and puzzles, develop potential theories that could explain them, and apply appropriate, often sophisticated, methods to test those theories. Academics are not, for the most part, trained to think about concrete policy solutions. Writing for policy often requires some understanding of program acronyms, funding lines, organizational charts, and other arcana of the policy process. Think tank papers will demand that authors say more than “Focus on X” or “Spend money on Y.” A think tank report will often require authors to have a decent understanding of the actors, offices, or programs that need to focus on X, how much more to spend on Y, and why those objectives are not being met at the moment. Scholars who aim to seriously engage the policy community have to get out of their comfort zones and learn something about how things actually work in practice and what has and has not already been tried. Here, interviewing policy practitioners can be an important way to learn what is going on and get a feel for the process. Interviews also help build professional networks that may prove useful later on should a scholar wish to cross-over from academia. 3. Policy-oriented Courses Another way for academics to bring policy into the university world is by developing applied courses as part of their teaching portfolio. These classes have the advantage of preparing a whole new generation in subjects that overlap with the professor’s areas of research as well as giving students hands-on experience in policy-oriented research. They also expand the reach of the scholar by enlisting a team of students who can do more research than the professor could accomplish on his or her own. At the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin, we offer year-long courses for masters students on a specific policy topic where a client provides the school with the resources to support student travel for the project. For example, I recently carried out a course on Global Wildlife Conservation for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in which my students wrote six CRS-style policy reports for senior CRS leadership. The students and I also developed professional relationships with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund through the course. Those experiences can lead to connections for future policy engagement that students can take forward in their subsequent professional work. At the end of the course, the students and I presented our findings to CRS senior leadership and wildlife conservation NGOs, and briefed staff and members of the Texas Congressional delegation on our work. I also co-authored two blog posts with students from the class in prominent outlets.[26] A previous year-long course on sectoral greenhouse gas emissions mitigation led to a series of policy and academic publications for me in outlets such as Energy Research and Social Science. It also culminated in writing for and collaborating with the Paulson Institute, the Stanley Foundation, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Although these kinds of courses are gratifying for the reasons mentioned above, they are not without challenges. They represent a considerable amount of work to resource and manage. It is not easy to find clients willing to invest $25,000 to $50,000 to fund student travel. Even in the case of a supportive sponsor like CRS, I had to cobble together resources from other organizations to make it work. There are other inherent challenges to running policy-oriented courses. Whenever a project is client-driven, it can be a challenge to align the student work with the interests of the client. In the case of CRS, they have a distinct style of writing that takes some time to learn. Given the distribution of talent and motivation in any open enrollment class, the analytical products students produce often vary in quality. Students, even the generally high quality master’s students, are sometimes imperfect agents for producing academic scholarship. These reservations aside, courses like these are a tremendous opportunity to start a policy-oriented research program. Scholars can develop expertise in a new subject area by tasking smart students to research and write on topics of interest. With the right client, scholars also gain a better appreciation of how organizations and policy professionals in the issue area operate. 4. Grants and Consulting Grants and consulting are closely related to the kinds of client-driven courses described above. Like those courses, grants and consulting provide resources for a scholar or team to produce research products that fit the needs and interests of the funders, whether in the form of a report, policy brief, an on-line multi-media website or “dashboard,” or other research material. Where they differ from client-driven courses is in their tendency to involve a higher commitment of resources and include a larger cohort of professional researchers, although grants and contracts can also provide support for students. I have been fortunate to be part of two large multi-person, multi-million dollar research grants through the Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, the Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) and the Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA) programs. In my experience with the Minerva Initiative, the Department of Defense was interested in basic research that might later inform policy. That meant our research was relevant to the department but was not directly tied to on-going programs or operations. This arrangement had the virtue of providing us with ample research funds without much interference from the funders about how we carried out the work or what our findings were. The Minerva grants afforded modest opportunities for direct engagement with policy folks throughout the grant. For example, our CCAPS research team held several workshops with invited guests from the Pentagon, participated in the annual Minerva research conferences, and held a final wrap-up briefing. Consulting and grants pose their own challenges. Conceiving and carrying out these programs means the research team is committed to the funders over a period of years, including deliverables such as policy briefs, annual reports, trip reports, and research meetings. For scholars who often work on indefinite timelines guided only vaguely by deadlines, that can be difficult. Harder still is coordinating a research team of individuals who are accustomed to working on their own time and who themselves are juggling a variety of research commitments. Getting a large research grant may require coordinating staff and graduate students, which means more administrative work, though many of these grants are complex enough to warrant full-time administrators. Other consultancy arrangements involve more hands-on participation from the client. This arrangement might make the research product more closely tied to the policy process, and will likely mean that the client is more involved in how the research is conducted and the findings. The contracted research team may have less scope to pursue methods of their choosing or reach conclusions at odds with the client’s perceived worldview. My Minerva-funded and wider consulting experiences have been valuable. Having a significant amount of resources to hire research assistants and conduct fieldwork to study an important problem is an incredible opportunity. It was gratifying, for example, to see the work cited in prominent outlets like the reports of the Defense Science Board and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Ultimately, however, scholars have to reconcile themselves with that fact that they may never know what diffuse impact their ideas ultimately have on policy. 5. Public Service A final option open to academics is actual public service. This is the ultimate way to bridge the gap between academics and policymakers — the academic actually becomes the policymaker, at least for a short-period of time. Academics have deep subject-matter knowledge of particular issues and places.  Unlike practitioners, they also often have the luxury of stepping back from the immediacy of the news cycle to examine wider structural dynamics when answering important questions such as why states go to war or looking at the impediments to and possibilities for international cooperation. These kinds of insights can inform policy by identifying the conditions under which policies typically succeed or fail. Public service can also sensitize scholars to how the policy process works and inform their later research. Public service can take several forms, including a stint in government like those sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) through its International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) for younger scholars as well as the new fellowship for tenured scholars. The IAF is a route to government service that many prominent international relations scholars have availed themselves of.[27] The IAF is a year-long fellowship that places scholars in the U.S. federal government, for example, at the Pentagon or the State Department. Complementary IAF fellowships are available for those in government to spend a year at a think tank. There are also a variety of other CFR fellowships including placements in Canada and Japan or opportunities to study nuclear issues.[28] The APSA Congressional Fellowship is another fellowship that places scholars in a congressional office for nine months.[29] Taking a year or two off to serve in government not only provides opportunities for public service but will make for better scholarship. Academics who spend time directly engaged in the policy process will have a better appreciation for the complexities involved. They will also be better able to reflect on how the various theories of international relations and foreign policy fare in current policy discussions. Somewhat more tangential is working on a political campaign such as a U.S. presidential campaign. These campaigns are sometimes open to having academics participate in committees that draft policy papers for candidates. An academic may have subject matter expertise that a campaign finds valuable. Upstart campaigns by long-shot candidates short on foreign policy expertise may find academics provide them some gravitas and can help shape the candidate’s foreign policy message. Some committees may tackle more salient topics that are more central to the campaign. Although it is unclear how often these policy papers get read, they provide scholars with an opportunity to network with people more directly engaged in policy and get a feel for the kinds of proposals being discussed in the policy arena. Some scholars may be lucky enough to have more regular contact with senior campaign staff and be on call to produce talking points, written material for press releases, and speeches. Backing the right horse in an election can also potentially lead to a policy appointment if one’s preferred candidate wins. Engagement in political campaigns is time consuming and can require being an effective surrogate for the candidate, which can mean being available for emergent issues and campaigning in important primary and swing states. This is merely to point out the trade-offs associated with serious campaign-related policy engagement that may fit uneasily with the research and teaching demands of academia. With the developments on the national and international stage of late, there is another option that academics, particularly women, should actively consider: running for office. Public service is important, and we need more people with wisdom, integrity, and grit to roll their sleeves up in support of causes greater than their own self-interest. In an era in which the politics of the moment seems ever more divorced from evidence and a commitment to serve, scholars who bring with them valuable knowledge and who care about the outcomes they study may find a second calling by not only bridging the gap but crossing it.[30] Conclusion While academics can do their level best to write accessibly and reach out proactively to policy audiences, scholars may never know if their ideas are influential and shape policy. Their influence may not be apparent. But this shouldn’t dissuade them. After all, policymakers get their ideas from somewhere. Given their specialized training and expertise, academics are well-placed to identify non-obvious patterns and relationships that can improve current policy and inspire future policy. The challenge for and onus on scholars goes well beyond becoming better writers and self-promotion. If academics are convinced that they have not just good ideas but perhaps better ideas, they have the responsibility to hone their craft and engage the world of policy.   Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is a Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and a non-resident fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Dr. Busby has published widely on transnational advocacy movements, climate change, global health, and other topics for various think tanks and academic journals including International Security, International Studies QuarterlySecurity Studiesand Perspectives on Politics. His first book, Moral Movements and Foreign Policy, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. His second book AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations with Ethan Kapstein was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 and won the 2014 Don K. Price Award (the APSA award for the best book on science, technology, and environmental politics). 

3. Bridging the Gap between Academia and the Public

By Sarah B. Snyder I am coming to the question of bridging the gap from a different perspective than my fellow contributors. For one thing, my disciplinary background is in history rather than political science, and, although tenured, I am at an earlier stage in my career. But most importantly, I am trying to reach a different audience: Rather than bridging a gap between scholars and policymakers, I am interested in spanning the divide between academia and a broader audience outside the proverbial ivory tower. My experience with public engagement is limited. Up until twelve months ago, I made no effort to disseminate my academic research publicly. Why did I decline all interview requests that came my way? To begin with, I questioned my own expertise — was I really qualified to speak to a BBC reporter about the Cuban Missile Crisis? Sure, I taught the crisis, but I hadn’t conducted archival research on the topic, making me doubt my suitability as an interviewee. Second, I worried that speaking with reporters or writing for a more popular audience would take up too much time; this was only compounded by my reservations about my knowledge. Finally, I questioned to what degree I would be rewarded for all of this effort. Would the time taken away from publishing, teaching, and service — the triad of academic promotion — pay off in any respect? My attitude about public engagement changed in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, when I began to perceive significant parallels between the presidential transition from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan, a topic on which I had published, and the transition from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. In response to this observation, I wrote an essay that argued that the coalition that defeated Ronald Reagan’s first nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Ernest Lefever, could serve as a model for concerned activists today.[31] It was published initially by The Conversation and then republished by the Huffington Post and Salon.com and has been read 11,500 times, a dramatically larger readership than I would have found in a traditional, academic outlet. Subsequently, my editors at The Conversation solicited a second piece that examined other failed cabinet nominations that occurred when the White House and the Senate were controlled by the same party, as they are now. I argued that the nominations that did not succeed had foundered on ethical rather than policy issues, suggesting that some critics’ attention was being misdirected during the presidential transition.[32] That piece, also published initially by The Conversation, was republished by Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Salon.com, Huffington Post, and Business Insider and has been read just short of 43,000 times. In my view, the piece’s wide readership showed that a demand existed for analysis and historical context. In the era of Trump, my students and readers want to know, has “X” ever happened before? And, if so, what were the consequences? My sense was that existing news outlets were not meeting those needs. Further convinced that my scholarly research could add to domestic debates, I wrote two essays in July 2017 that responded to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s contention in remarks to State Department employees that promoting values “creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.”[33] The first essay analyzed how Congress could pressure the White House and State Department on human rights issues. It began as an effort to mark the 41st anniversary of the signing of the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976, which is important in my work on congressional activism on human rights, although it ended up focusing on recent Senate efforts to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.[34] This essay garnered a much smaller number of views (2,200) and was republished by regional newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Connecticut Post, rather than some of the national publications that had carried my earlier pieces. Yet, the essay, along with a separate response to Tillerson published in the Washington Post’s “Made by History” feature, led to two interview requests — to appear on the national radio program “On Point” and on a Sirius radio program.[35] These opportunities enabled me to talk about my forthcoming book From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy and to connect it with Trump and Tillerson’s attitudes toward human rights today. These radio interviews led to an invitation to present my new book project at Concordia University in Montreal. A historian at Concordia had heard the “On Point” interview via Vermont public radio. Thus, in the end, my effort to reach a broader audience for my work also gave me an opportunity to disseminate my research to new academic colleagues. Public engagement, therefore, can also be an excellent way to promote research to academic communities beyond our existing networks. Yet the question remains: Why should we as academics engage more with the public in the first place? To begin with, the impact of research on public life is increasingly important in terms of funding. This is particularly true for colleagues in the United Kingdom and other systems where academics must demonstrate the public benefit of government-funded research. Second, such efforts secure broader audiences for our work. For example, my first book has sold 957 copies, according to Cambridge University Press, whereas close to 57,000 people have read my three pieces in The Conversation.[36] Such efforts will enable us to achieve the goals of fostering a better-informed public and shifting debate toward analysis and away from hyperbole and hysteria. They may even impact policy formulation. Those from my discipline — history — can ensure that we are learning from the past in a rigorous way and not misusing the supposed lessons of history. One major concern for academics who are inclined to disseminate their research findings through nonscholarly channels is the time commitment that it requires. I found that I actually needed far less time than I first had anticipated. Each piece took approximately one workday to research and draft. But what such efforts do require of academics is a disposition to work with editors to make their writing and scholarship accessible to a general readership, which can, at times, be challenging. In addition, one needs a willingness to put oneself out there — in Sheryl Sandberg’s formulation, to “lean in.”[37] I will admit that I was nervous about doing a live, national radio program. However, those of us who want to engage with the public but are hesitant should seek formal and informal support from our networks. For example, many universities offer formal media training that can be taken advantage of. It can also be useful — and a confidence booster — to speak with friends and colleagues who have previously done national radio and television interviews. I would like to close with a call for women and other unrepresented groups in major news outlets to seek out and accept more public engagement opportunities. An analysis of front page New York Times stories found that only 25 percent of sources were women.[38] One reason for this may be gendered media gatekeeping. A researcher analyzing the disparities in public outreach activities of Swiss scientists found that members of the media were far more likely to contact male scientists than female ones.[39] Certainly, having more female reporters and editors would help. The same study of New York Times stories found that articles authored by women relied upon male sources only twice as often as female sources.[40] But, in order to be seen as experts in their fields, women also need to put their research, and therefore themselves, out there more often. An op-ed editor at the Washington Post reported that men submit nine times as many op-eds as women do.[41] Self-selection is likely a key reason that women are currently underepresented on the op-ed pages of major newspapers. One study found that over several months in 2011 women authored only 20 percent of the op-eds of the country’s four leading newspapers, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.[42] The Washington Post editor noted that men’s submissions tended to be more “dinner party op-eds” rather than informed by deep research, suggesting that the disparity may be attributed to the same factors that produced what J. Scott Long called the “productivity puzzle”: why women scientists published fewer journal articles but the ones that they did publish were cited more often. Women may decline a request to submit an op-ed unless they are confident in their ability to contribute something steeped in research.[43] Furthermore, researchers have found that women are more risk averse, which manifests in decreased inclination to run for political office and potentially a reluctance to put themselves and their scholarship out there.[44] A newer yet meaningful reason some women may be hesitant to accept or initiate broad dissemination of their work is the risk of online harassment. Although men overall face more harassment online, women are subject to more harassment via social media, suffer stalking and sexual harassment disproportionately, and are more likely to find their harassment “extremely or very upsetting” than harassed men.[45] The risk of suffering harassment is real and may be magnified within a population already more risk averse. One way to diminish such threats is to increase the number of women writing op-eds and speaking as authorities in news articles. I have shared my own minor success in public engagement as a means to convince others that the time required can be very worthwhile. The value here is not only to our own careers or the broader dissemination of knowledge. Increasing the visibility of women and other underrepresented groups as experts brings value to those communities in our profession and to society as a whole.[46]   Sarah B. Snyder teaches at American University’s School of International Service. She is the author of From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, 2018) and the award-winning Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network (Cambridge University Press, 2011).  

4. Making Academic Work Relevant to Policymakers

By Monica Duffy Toft As the international community faces tremendous change and upheaval, and the United States undergoes shifts in its foreign and domestic policies under the Trump administration, there is a critical need for sound and relevant advice on issues of national security. A key question is, what, if anything, do national security academics have to offer policymakers? The answer is, “quite a bit.” However, academics need to understand that what policymakers need is often quite different than what academics pursue and produce. The good news is that there does seem to be movement within the academy to analyze and write in ways, and on topics, that policymakers will find useful. Moreover, engaging with policymakers will only help to make academic research more relevant and interesting. As someone who has advised the policy community for a number of years, it is clear that this community’s needs and demands are quite different from those of academics. Policymakers are often confronted with crises in quick succession. They need good — not perfect — answers fast, and they require clear predictions along with sound options for dealing with those crises. Above all, policymakers need analysis shorn of excessive detail. They will listen, and ask follow-up questions that are relevant to their needs. Academics for their part face a different situation. For them it is not a matter of getting a problem solved, but getting it right. That means spending long hours in archives, analyzing data, reading relevant literature, surveying populations, or interviewing experts and decision-makers. Very often “getting it right” means updating or improving an earlier analysis or argument, not necessarily discovering practical applications in the real world. For example, suppose ten years ago a social scientist had written an influential article on what sorts of military interventions are unlikely to succeed. In making her case, she developed and tested a statistical model, which showed that in a particular case, military interventions were much more likely than not to fail. That research would be useful to a policymaker grappling with whether to recommend to the president committing armed forces to help resolve a national security crisis. However, academics might later argue there were errors in how the previous author collected data or in the model supported by her statistics. Their research might make interesting and useful academic contributions, but would be of interest to policymakers only if the errors suggested a different course of action. Very often, there are no new policy implications from such contributions. It is incentives like these that widen the gap between national security academics, who have a luxury of time but are under constant pressure to be more “scientific” (each generation entertaining a different conception of what “scientific” means), and policymakers, who are invariably pressed for time, and as such are primarily interested in what might work or, perhaps more importantly, what will not work when attempting to solve the problem at hand. When Data Took Over Academia Does this mean that policymakers and academics cannot engage one another? Hardly. In fact, some of the best national security scholarship is often that which is directly informed by what is happening in the world. Perhaps the best example is Graham Allison’s Essence of Decision, a book informed by the Cuban missile crisis, which Allison crafted into a theoretically-informed report that remains relevant today in both academic and policy circles.[47] It remains a classic, highlighting that while external conditions and security contexts shift, perennial questions and national security dilemmas remain. Allison’s book is also worth reviewing because of its timing. It came out before the desktop computer revolution, and the spread of high level statistical and computational modeling that followed. This is especially evident with the development of the Singer and Small Correlates of War data set, first introduced in 1963 (and still going strong).[48] Within the political science discipline and the international relations subfield, a fetishizing of data became the norm as computational capacity continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s and new data sets appeared. A similar phenomenon occurred with regional studies. Why learn a foreign language or travel overseas when you can build a data set and mine it from the comfort of your office? This trend toward data-informed analyses happened at the same time that history — particularly international and military history — diminished in stature. Just as qualitatively-informed research diminished in political science so did historical approaches, and with these trends so too did the ability of national security experts to speak clearly and effectively to policy makers. This explains why Samuel Huntington, perhaps the most famous and accomplished political scientist, started the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. He became concerned that academics were becoming untethered from national security policy as they developed ever more complex models and modelling. He therefore established a fellowship program to promote the best junior scholars and their research in the hopes that scholarship would stay relevant to policy challenges and perhaps help to secure international peace and security. The situation today is not as dire as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. No longer does data-driven analysis rule the day. Rather, international relations and security studies scholars recognize that sound analysis requires a variety of methods. Furthermore, history as a field of study has been undergoing a revival of sorts. Interestingly, this revival is not happening in traditional academic departments, but in schools of public policy where there is a recognition that most government decision-making — especially in national security — is conducted by way of historical reasoning and comparison. What better way to teach those skills than with historical methods and historians themselves? Challenges Within the Academy Remain Yet, despite some progress, significant and potentially costly gaps between the academy and the policy community, remain. This is due, in no small part, to tensions within the academy itself. It is still difficult for academics to make the case that it pays to write for the policy community. This is especially true for junior scholars who, in order to get tenure, have to publish in academic journals and for academic presses. They are not rewarded for writing policy papers or opinion editorials. They could even be harmed by publishing such content, as some colleagues may think that it is not the job of academics to engage in policy debates or that they are wasting their time and should be devoting more to the scholarly enterprise. When letters are solicited for tenure reviews, these types of opinions may be reflected by the referees, thereby undermining the tenure outcome for candidates. It is clear to candidates for tenure that what matters first and foremost is the opinion of fellow academics. The admonition “publish, and publish ‘scientifically’ or perish,” still looms large. Unfortunately, even within public policy schools the letters that are sought for tenure and that count the most are those from fellow academics from within the different academic disciplines. They are the ones who can make the case that the candidate has (or has not) had a significant impact on the field. That is what comes first. Regardless of policy influence or experience, a junior academic will not be tenured without a substantial and significant (however defined) contribution to their academic discipline. The effect of this environment is that fewer academics consider writing and informing policy debates and policy makers than would otherwise be the case, at least at the junior level. The structure of incentives simply mitigates too strongly against it. Such incentives (or disincentives) also mean that academics within the university system are only rarely taught how to think about policy challenges and how to communicate them effectively. Again, they are rewarded for writing for academic audiences, and end their essays with their theoretical, empirical, and methodological implications. If policy implications are included, they are so generic and anemic that a policymaker would have a hard time thinking through how exactly to operationalize them to effect any desired change. This is not to say that this sort of training cannot be done. Master’s students at schools of public policy and international affairs are taught policy evaluation and guided through the mechanics of writing for the policy community. PhD candidates in traditional academic departments, those with real expertise on an issue, are not. Again, their primary audience is fellow academics sitting in offices reading other fellow academics’ research — and not many of them at that. The average American academic article garnered about three citations in 2010.[49] Policymakers Need Specific Guidance, not Generalizations In addition to the difficulty of communicating effectively and concisely to the policy community, there is also the problem that much of what academics write increasingly involves a continued use of statistical analysis and sophisticated modelling that took off in the 1980s and 1990s. This has led to two problems. First, the outcomes tend to relate probabilistic outcomes and conditions that might contribute to war and peace as opposed to point predictions. Policymakers want guidance on particular cases at a particular moment, not generalizations across a set of cases. They want to know how to end the war in Syria, not how civil wars end in general. Moreover, few policymakers have been trained to recognize that probabilistic theories cannot be refuted by one or more counter-examples, which then often results in them rejecting scholarly models and findings. Academic research has produced a multitude of data sets and corresponding analyses, each with its own definitions of war, peace, conflict, cooperation, alliances, trade embargoes, death, destruction, and the like. As a result, scholars often find themselves contradicting existing research, leaving both academics and policymakers scratching their heads about whether they can ever make generalizations across a number of cases. What is a policymaker to make of fundamental disagreements coming from academic research? If academics can’t agree on the best way to terminate a war and maintain peace or how to deter a rival to prevent war in the first place, then why should a policymaker turn to that literature to begin with? She is already pressed for time, why add confusion over what academics have to say on the matter to the mix? Finally, we know that most issues that concern policymakers in the national security arena are a mix of political, economic, and social factors. Civil wars, for example, often emerge in states with fragile political institutions, failing or compromised economic systems, and cleavages that divide societies along ethnic, linguistic, racial, and/or religious lines. Yet, most scholars are trained in one discipline and publish in disciplinary journals. There is little cross fertilization or collaboration. So while economists tend to focus on the supply of goods and services in a society as the explanation for why a civil war emerges — there are too many workers and not enough jobs — political scientists will look to the structure of the political system, issues of equity, and whether and how elites or majorities prey upon minorities within a society causing them to rise up and challenge the system. This specialization is further compounded by the tendency of scholars to research and publish alone, particularly in the non-economic social sciences. This practice does not allow for different sets of knowledge and expertise to inform the analysis in order to get a fuller and more appropriate sense of what is happening in the world that policymakers are trying to address. Once again, the incentive structure mitigates against the kind of collaboration that might support informed and accessible policies. What Can be Done? Given the gaps in time pressures, incentives, and interests between the academic community and the policy world, what can be done? We should first recognize that the gap is not as large it was in the late 1980s and 1990s. There has been progress made both across the gap and within the academy. Across the gap, perhaps most notably, there have been movements to fund academic research through The Minerva Research Initiative, which is “administered jointly by the Office of Basic Research and the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, supports social science research aimed at improving our basic understanding of security, broadly defined.”[50] Second, opportunities to inform policy circles have grown through media platforms, including the Duck of Minerva, Lawfare, and War on the Rocks, regular features by Daniel Drezner and Stephen Walt for the Washington Post and Foreign Policy online respectively, as well as interest from prominent journalists and authors working to get academic research noticed and promoted, including the New York Times’ David Brooks, the Washington Post’s Shankar Vandantam, and Malcolm Gladwell. Within the academy itself, there has been a move by academics to co-author more frequently, thereby drawing on broader expertise and avoiding a silo effect. Interdisciplinary work has been slower to gain traction, again because of the incentive structure of the tenure system, but it is not entirely absent. Universities and research institutes have been making strides to appoint “bridge” faculty who work across disciplinary departments. Some of the fastest growing institutions are schools of public policy and professional schools of international affairs, bastions of interdisciplinary work whose purpose is to ask policy-relevant questions and to answer those questions using the most appropriate methods and sources, rather than those dictated by disciplinary preferences and sometimes fads. Conclusion Allow me to close by commenting on a final and perhaps graver problem, one that is related to the academic-policy gap and that itself suggests a solution. In the United States, the rise of science doubters — including evolution, climate change, vaccination skeptics, and even those who question that the earth is a sphere — has led to an increase in the rejection of “expert” advice and guidance of all sorts in favor of a quest for better authorities. Given that the sciences are made of up communities of people who highly value critical thinking, this rejection of science as such comes as a rather depressing shock. The current U.S. presidential administration has placed people at the heads of agencies whose primary qualification is that they previously worked to oppose the existence or core mission of the same agency. This is the situation at the Departments of Interior, Energy, and State, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. Many times objections from those discounting the scientific inquiry  are framed as doubt over the “science” or “the facts.”[51] But the opposition is actually energized not by doubt, but by certainty that an alternative authority — often an iconoclastic personality or a particular construction of a holy text such as the Bible — should be our guide for crafting policy.[52] The academic instinct is to confront doubters with more facts and more research. However, it seems that this confrontation will not work as the representation of an opinion as expert actually lowers its persuasiveness in the minds of doubter audiences. How then should we work to overcome this war, if you will, against science and against issue-area experts? In order to bridge the gap between the university and the policy world, we need to alter the structure of academic promotion and research production by incentivizing rather than punishing co-authorship and cross-disciplinary collaboration. This is beginning to happen and is having a positive, if slow, impact. But we need to add advocacy training to the mix. Researchers need to learn how to persuade audiences that are skeptical of their stock in trade and come to learn that having the right set of facts, though necessary, is not sufficient to change a doubter’s mind. That kind of training can be incorporated into both policy schools and academia more generally so that national security students are armed with more than good facts, theories, and arguments, but armed also with empathy for a doubting audience and the patience and skill that is increasingly needed to make the difference in the world that we all seek a reality.   Monica Duffy Toft, Professor of International Politics, Director, Center for Strategic Studies, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Image: Wikimedia Commons [post_title] => Policy Roundtable: How to Bridge the Gap Between Academics and Policymakers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => policy-roundtable-bridge-gap-academics-policymakers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-20 11:01:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-20 16:01:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?post_type=roundtable&p=496 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => roundtable [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => We asked some leading academics to discuss the need to branch out beyond the university to reach both policymakers and the public. [pubinfo] => [issue] => [quotes] => [style] => roundtable [type] => Policy [style_label] => Roundtable [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 107 [1] => 60 [2] => 79 [3] => 81 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] Alexander L. George, Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, 1993). [2] See the Carnegie Reporter 7, no. 4 (Fall 2014), https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/83/c2/83c2aac2-0089-4426-b6c3-7f4e71c3f13a/ccny_creporter_2014_vol7no4.pdf. [3] For more on these programs, see www.bridgingthegapproject.org. [4] Summary of Meeting of University Provosts, 2016 at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3omZyDTdFdHd2dRMnozeW12REE/view. [5] Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice,” Political Psychology 29, no. 4, (2008): 593-602. [6] James B. Steinberg, “Universities and Public Policy,” (Transcript of a presentation at the Presidents’ National Dialogue, University of Ottawa, Canada, Oct. 22, 2009), 3, http://www.cips-cepi.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/steinberg.pdf. [7] Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History?” The National Interest 16, (Summer 1989): 3-18. [8] Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993), https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/1993-06-01/clash-civilizations. [9] Graham Allison, “The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?” The Atlantic, Sept. 24, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/united-states-china-war-thucydides-trap/406756/ . [10] The White House, A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, July, 1994, 2, http://nssarchive.us/NSSR/1994.pdf. [11] James M. Goldgeier, “The Academic and Policy Worlds,” in Paul D. Williams, ed., Security Studies: An Introduction, 2nd edition (London: Routledge, 2013), 555-567. [12] AAA Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion Review: Communicating Public Scholarship in Anthropology at http://www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=21713&navItemNumber=582 . [13] “What Counts? Evaluating Public Communication in Tenure and Promotion,” Final Report of the ASA Subcommittee on the Evaluation of Social Media and Public Communication in Sociology,” August 2016 at http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/tf_report_what_counts_evaluating_public_communication_in_tenure_and_promotion_final_august_2016.pdf . [14] See, for example, Francis Gavin, “TNSR: Who We Are, What We Do, and Why You Should Care,” Texas National Security Review, Oct. 24, 2017, https://tnsr.org/2017/10/tnsr-who-we-are-what-we-do-and-why-you-should-care/; Stephen M. Walt, “Public Sphere Forum,” Social Science Research Center, Jul. 21, 2011, http://publicsphere.ssrc.org/walt-international-affairs-and-the-public-sphere/. [15] Cullen Hendrix, “Why Engagement Can’t Wait—Walt on Tenure and Bridging the Gap,” Political Violence at a Glance, Feb. 23, 2016, http://politicalviolenceataglance.org/2016/02/23/why-engagement-cant-wait-walt-on-tenure-and-bridging-the-gap/. [16] Tom Nichols, “The Death Of Expertise,” The Federalist, Jan. 17, 2014, http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/; Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). [17] Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997). [18] “New Era Workshop,” Bridging the Gap, School of International Service, American University, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, http://bridgingthegapproject.org/programs/new-era/. [19] “Bridging the Gap,” School of International Service, American University, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, http://bridgingthegapproject.org/. [20] Announcement of Carnegie Corporation of New York grant on bridging the Academic-Policy gap, University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Jan. 24, 2017, https://www.du.edu/korbel/about/news/2016-carnegie-grant-bridging-gap.html. [21] Announcement of Carnegie Corporation of New York grant to universities for innovative programs linking academia and policy, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Sep. 23, 2014, https://www.carnegie.org/news/articles/bridging-the-gap-carnegie-corporation-of-new-york-awards-5-million-to-universities-for-innovative-programs-linking-academia-and-policy/. [22] “Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy,” Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, http://www.siwps.org/swamos/. [23] David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. (New York: Random House, 1972). [24] Joshua Busby, “Social Media and the Scholar in an Era of Hyper-Nationalism and Fake News,” PS: Political Science & Politics 50, no. 4 (October 2017): 1004-1007,  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096517001160. [25] Joshua Busby, “Public Service: Part VI of VI in a Series,” Duck of Minerva, Mar. 2, 2017, http://duckofminerva.com/2017/03/public-service-part-vi-of-vi-in-a-series.html. [26] For example, see Joshua Busby and Leo Carter, “Elephants are in danger. Our research could help save them.” Washington Post, Nov. 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/09/23/elephants-are-in-danger-our-research-could-help-save-them/?utm_term=.e92a10b04034; Cameron Lagrone and Joshua Busby, “Is Wildlife Trafficking a National Security Threat?” New Security Beat, Jun. 10, 2015, https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2015/06/wildlife-trafficking-national-security-threat/. [27] “International Affairs Fellowship,” Council on Foreign Relations, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, https://www.cfr.org/fellowships/international-affairs-fellowship. [28] “Fellowship Page,” Council on Foreign Relations, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, https://www.cfr.org/fellowships. [29] “Congressional Fellowship Program,” American Political Science Association, accessed Jan. 16, 2018, http://www.apsanet.org/cfp. [30] Of course, there are other ways to directly apply one’s expertise to solving global problems beyond public serve. This includes service in the private sphere, such as for NGOs or for-profit companies, or through artistic and journalistic endeavors. For example, in my spare time, I also lead a small NGO of returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in Ecuador. We support small community projects and try to help our community remain engaged with the Peace Corps and Ecuador. [31] Sarah B. Snyder, “An Activist’s Playbook: How to Influence Trump’s Cabinet and Policies,” The Conversation, Dec. 7, 2016, https://theconversation.com/an-activists-playbook-how-to-influence-trumps-cabinet-and-policies-69087. [32] Sarah B. Snyder, “Four Key Times Presidential Nominees Failed to Gain Senate Confirmation,” The Conversation, Jan. 10, 2017, https://theconversation.com/four-key-times-presidential-nominees-failed-to-gain-senate-confirmation-70454. [33] Rex W. Tillerson, “Remarks to U.S. Department of State Employees,” May 3, 2017, https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm. [34] Sarah B. Snyder, “Can Congress Pressure the White House on Human Rights?” The Conversation, July 6, 2017, https://theconversation.com/can-congress-pressure-the-white-house-on-human-rights-79959. [35] Sarah B. Snyder, “Is the Trump Administration Abandoning Human Rights?” Washington Post, July 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/07/02/is-the-trump-administration-abandoning-human-rights/?utm_term=.ebbc19162afb. [36] At this time, “Made by History” does not track readership. [37] Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, (New York: Knopf, 2013). [38] Tierney Sneed, “Women Underrepresented in Media Across Platforms, Report Finds,” U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 19, 2014, https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/19/women-under-represented-in-media-across-platforms-report-finds. [39] Fabienne Crettaz von Roten, “Gender Differences in Scientists’ Public Outreach and Engagement Activities,” Science Communications, 33, no. 1 (2011). [40] Sneed, “Women.” [41] Deborah Howell, “An Op-Ed Need for Diverse Voices,” Washington Post, May 25, 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/23/AR2008052302308.html. [42] Erika Fry, “It’s 2012 Already: Why is Opinion Writing Still Mostly Male?: Byline Counts are Better, but not Much. How Come?” Columbia Journalism Review, May 29, 2012, https://archives.cjr.org/behind_the_news/its_2012_already_why_is_opinio.php. [43] J. Scott Long, “Measures of Sex Differences in Scientific Productivity,” Social Forces, 71 (1992): 159-78; Fry, “Its’ 2012 Already.” [44] Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox, “Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition,” American University School of Public Affairs, Mar. 2013, https://www.american.edu/spa/wpi/upload/girls-just-wanna-not-run_policy-report.pdf; Alexandra van Geen, “Risk in the Background: How Men and Women Respond,” Harvard Kennedy School, Women and Public Policy, http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/risk-background-how-men-and-women-respond. I thank Jennifer Nicoll Victor, John Sides, Marc Lynch, and Seth Masket for sharing their thoughts on some of these questions. [45] Maeve Duggan, “Online Harassment,” Pew Research Center Internet & Technology, Oct. 22, 2014, http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/10/22/online-harassment/. The study also found that young women suffer “disproportionately high levels” of online harassment, but as the women studied were between the ages of 18 and 24, that population is relevant to assessing academics’ decision making. 16 See for example, Lori Beaman, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, and Petia Topalova, “Female Leadership Raises Aspirations and Educational Attainment for Girls: A Policy Experiment in India,” Science, 335, no. 583, (Jan., 2012), DOI: 10.1126/science.1212382. [47] Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd edition (New York: Pearson, 1999). [48] “History,” The Correlates of War, accessed Feb. 1, 2018, http://www.correlatesofwar.org/history. [49] See, Mark War and Michael Mabe, “The stm report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing,” 3rd ed., International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, Nov. 2012, http://www.stm-assoc.org/2012_12_11_STM_Report_2012.pdf. [50] The Minerva Research Initiative, accessed Feb. 1, 2018, http://minerva.defense.gov/. [51] See, for example, Neal F. Lane and Michael Riordan, “Trump’s Disdain for Science,” New York Times, Jan. 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/opinion/trump-disdain-science.html. [52] Evangelicals and Science in Historical Perspective, edited by David N. Livingstone,‎ D. G. Hart, and Mark A. Noll (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => Contents [contents] => 1. Introduction, by James Goldgeier 2. On Policy Engagement and Academia: 5 Approaches to Bridging the Gap, by Joshua Busby 3. Bridging the Gap between Academia and the Public, by Sarah B. Snyder 4. Making Academic Work Relevant to Policymakers, by Monica Duffy Toft ) ) ) [post_count] => 2 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 696 [post_author] => 60 [post_date] => 2018-08-28 05:00:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-28 09:00:23 [post_content] => Editorial Note: In light of the public interest in U.S.-Russian relations, especially in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helskinki this summer, the Texas National Security Review will be publishing a series of essays in our “Strategist” section on past U.S. presidents and their engagements with Soviet and Russian leaders. As many were decrying the lack of any formal record of the one-on-one meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the Clinton Presidential Library in July posted online nearly all of the declassified memoranda of conversation (“memcons”) from the in-person meetings and telephone conversations (“telcons”) between President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin from Jan. 23, 1993, to Dec. 31, 1999, when Yeltsin abruptly resigned from office and made way for Putin. With 18 memcons and 56 telcons available through the library’s website, it is possible to view directly the key discussions between these two leaders over time, from the early days when Clinton publicly backed Yeltsin in his bloody political standoff with the Russian parliament to their later disagreements over NATO enlargement and Kosovo, along with numerous conversations about arms control, Chechnya, Iran, and other global issues.[1] As someone who worked in the Clinton administration and has written about U.S.-Russian relations in this period,[2] I found that the documents allow a much deeper and broader understanding of three core features of the Clinton-Yeltsin interactions. First, the two leaders established a close personal rapport and used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement and the Kosovo War. Throughout, from the 1993 political turmoil in Russia through the 1998 Russian financial crisis and beyond, Clinton offered Yeltsin his full personal support. Second, the two men used their meetings and phone calls to build trust in one another by explicitly referring to delivering on promises made in their prior conversations. This proved particularly important in their discussions of NATO enlargement. Clinton was trying to thread a needle: He sought to keep the issue from harming Yeltsin’s reelection bid in the summer of 1996 while ensuring that the United States responded to Central and Eastern European desires to join the Western alliance. Because Clinton believed the issue would affect his own reelection bid, he wanted to make clear to voters of Central and Eastern European descent in the Midwest before November 1996 that he was moving forward with enlargement. From 1994 to 1996, Clinton reminded Yeltsin often of his assurances about the timing. Third, and perhaps most important when their interactions are compared with those of other U.S. and Soviet (and later Russian) heads of state during the Cold War and after, an enormous power differential existed between the two countries in this period and was the backdrop to their conversations. Yeltsin’s Russia was extremely weak, a country in economic free-fall and strategic decline. Clinton’s America was enjoying its unipolar moment.[3] In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart, and the declassified memcons and telcons from this period show how that imbalance of power permeates the discussions. The meetings largely consist of Yeltsin agreeing to Clinton’s requests after some back and forth. But also clear is Yeltsin’s desire for Russia to be seen as an equal to the United States, something that was important for his predecessors and successors alike and a factor in U.S.-Russian relations often underappreciated by many in the West.

Clinton’s Support for Yeltsin and the Building of a Personal Rapport

In his first term, Boris Yeltsin needed Bill Clinton’s support as he battled domestic Russian opposition to his policies. It was not just financial support for Russia that was critical, although that assistance was important, including when Clinton publicly endorsed what became a $10.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund announced in the midst of the 1996 Russian presidential campaign.[4] Clinton also offered Yeltsin complete public support when the latter used military force in a standoff with the Russian parliament in the fall of 1993. Clinton did so because he believed he needed Yeltsin — a Russian president committed to good relations with the West who could thereby enable the American president to shrink the U.S. defense budget to pay for cherished domestic programs. One of the first big moments in their relationship came in April 1993, when Yeltsin held a referendum that asked voters whether they trusted him, approved of his socioeconomic policies, and believed new presidential and parliamentary elections should be conducted ahead of schedule. Russia experts in the U.S. government thought that Yeltsin would lose overwhelmingly, and Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, wrote later that the president “followed the referendum as though it were an American election.” Remarkably, given the state of the Russian economy, 58.7 percent of voters affirmed their trust in Yeltsin and 53 percent approved his socioeconomic policies. Clinton happily threw his support behind the Russian president.[5] In a call the next day, Clinton told Yeltsin, “I’m about to issue a statement in support of your policies. I want you to know that we’re in this with you for the long haul.” Yeltsin closed the call by saying, “I hug you from the bottom of my heart.”[6] By September, however, parliamentary opposition to Yeltsin grew stronger. Clinton called Yeltsin early that month to convey his continued support amid the standoff in Moscow. In a follow-up call on Sept. 21, Yeltsin told him, “Bill, the Supreme Soviet [the Russian parliament] has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist. We can no longer put up with that.” He added, “I think there will be no bloodshed,”[7] which turned out to be mistaken. The battle between Yeltsin and the opposition legislators came to a head on Oct. 3, when Yeltsin ordered his military to shell the parliament building. A bloody clash between the executive and legislative branches was not exactly a sign of a healthy democracy, but Clinton phoned two days later to tell Yeltsin, “I wanted to call you and express my support.” Yeltsin responded, “Now that these events are over, we have no more obstacles to Russia’s democratic elections and our transition to democracy and market economy.” Yeltsin even mused that he might hold elections for president at the same time as parliamentary elections in December and told Clinton that he “might end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for standing for election three times in three years.” (He did not carry out this plan.) Yeltsin closed by telling Clinton once again, “I embrace you with all my heart.”[8] [quote id="1"] Clinton continued to emphasize his personal support for Yeltsin over the course of their terms in office. In late 1994, Russia invaded the breakaway province of Chechnya. Clinton expressed concern about the impact of this war on Yeltsin’s image. Referring to an upcoming speech by the Russian president to parliament, Clinton told him, referring to Yeltsin’s pivotal role during the August 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “It is also an opportunity to remind the world of why you are the best hope for continued reform in Russia. I want everyone to see you as the person who stood on the tank and stood up for freedom.”[9] In the run-up to the first round of the Russian presidential election in June 1996, Yeltsin was growing desperate for financial assistance. He told the U.S. president, “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion.” Yeltsin explained that he was not seeing results yet from the rescheduling of Russia’s debt by the group of major creditor countries known as the Paris Club, and the bulk of the recently announced IMF loan would not arrive until later in the year. “But the problem,” said Yeltsin, “is I need money to pay pensions and wages.” Clinton assured him, “I’ll check on this with the IMF and some of our friends and see what can be done.”[10] No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond. In a telephone exchange in late October 1997, months after the two had met in Denver in June, Yeltsin told Clinton, “You know, I started missing your voice.” Clinton replied, “I miss you too.” (They had a similar exchange in February 1998 only three weeks after their previous call!)[11] Clinton saw Yeltsin as a significant figure in Russian history, and he tried to convey that at various points. At a meeting in May 1998, Clinton said, “You know, Boris, we really are working with the stuff of history here. I’m convinced that 20 years from now, when the Russian economy is booming, people will look back and say we were right; we did the right things. I just hope you get all the credit you deserve while you’re still around, because you’ve done a terrific job of leading your country during one of the two or three most important moments in Russian history.”[12] The greatest test of their personal relationship came during the Kosovo bombing campaign in March 1999. Clinton and his European counterparts believed that NATO needed to carry out airstrikes against Serbia to bring its leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to the bargaining table. Yeltsin was stridently opposed to any use of force, not just because of the close ties between Russia and Serbia but partly because, unlike the situation in Bosnia a few years earlier, this would mean military intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Russia’s ability to wield a veto in the U.N. Security Council meant that authorization for the war from that body would not be forthcoming.[13] In a phone conversation between the two men as NATO was about to launch airstrikes, Clinton, after rehashing all that Milosevic had done, told Yeltsin bluntly, “Basically, it will be your decision if you decide to let this bully destroy the relationship we worked hard for over six and a half years to build up.” He reminded Yeltsin of all his public and private support over the years, including providing economic assistance to Russia and his multiple visits to Moscow. “You may decide to let this get in the way of our relationship, but I’m not going to because I do not think he’s that important. I’m sorry he is a Serb. I wish he were Irish or something else, but he is not.” Clinton tried telling Yeltsin that maybe after a few strikes, Milosevic would seek diplomacy; after all, he had come to the table in 1995 to end the earlier Balkan war. Yeltsin would have none of it: “[O]ur people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO. I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that. Well, since I failed to convince the President, that means there is in store for us a very difficult, difficult road of contacts, if they prove to be possible.” He signed off with “Goodbye,” with no added embrace.[14] The latter part of the war led to quite an up-and-down in their conversations. In early May 1999, as they were coming to agreement on what needed to be done, Yeltsin told Clinton, “I owe you a bear hug.” Clinton replied, “Yes, I want a bear hug.”[15] Clinton called Yeltsin on June 10, after discussions between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, and Milosevic appeared to end the conflict, and Yeltsin told him, “I would like to hug and kiss you, and I am sincerely glad that in such a difficult situation our friendship wasn’t broken.”[16] [quote id="2"] Alas, in the next few days, Russian forces occupied the airport in Pristina, and it looked like NATO and Russian forces might come into conflict. Clinton and Yeltsin spoke multiple times by phone. Clinton made clear that a failure to resolve the conflict would harm the upcoming Group of Eight meeting in Germany: “We were about to have in Cologne a celebration of Russia in the peace operation,” an angry Clinton remarked. “Instead, we face day after day, international embarrassment that Kosovo will be wrecked.”[17] Russia’s weakness and Yeltsin’s desire to be feted by his G-8 colleagues in Cologne were key factors in the ultimate resolution of the conflict but so, too, was the importance of the relationship the two presidents had built, a relationship that was tested over the years by the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastward.

Clinton’s Promises on Enlargement

Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement. An undercurrent of their exchanges involved Clinton’s efforts to ensure that he did not harm Yeltsin politically while giving him a very bitter pill to swallow. Another recurrence was Yeltsin’s explanation of the damage this issue was doing to him while ultimately going along with Clinton’s various proposals. There was a brief moment in the fall of 1994 when Yeltsin believed that Clinton was reneging on a commitment not to rush the process and exploded at a Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) summit. The huge power imbalance between the two countries hung over the relationship and punctuated the presidents’ interactions.[18] In their meetings and phone calls, Clinton drove the agenda, as he did for nearly all of the issues they discussed over seven years. The two men genuinely got along, partly because they were similar political animals. But at the end of the day, the United States called the shots in the relationship. Clinton was always trying to make sure that Yeltsin knew he was giving him what he could, and Clinton expected Yeltsin to go along with his proposals. Generally, Yeltsin did. Throughout their conversations on enlargement, Clinton was eager for Yeltsin to know that the United States was keeping a promise Clinton made in September 1994 in one of their discussions in Washington (the declassified memcon of this exchange is not among the cache of documents recently released): namely, that he and his NATO colleagues would go slowly on expanding the alliance given Clinton’s (publicly unstated but understood) desire to see Yeltsin safely reelected in 1996. Meanwhile, Yeltsin focused Clinton’s attention on the domestic political ramifications of NATO enlargement. Interestingly, he did not raise the issue (as others later would) that the United States and its Western European allies had assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during the 1990 negotiations over German unification that NATO would not expand eastward.[19] In October 1993, when discussions first began in earnest about NATO’s future, the possibility of enlargement seemed quite distant. Secretary of State Warren Christopher explained to Yeltsin at the latter’s country dacha that the United States planned to pursue the “Partnership for Peace,” which would include all members of the former Warsaw Pact, and NATO enlargement would be considered only as a “longer-term eventuality.”[20] Christopher told Yeltsin, “There could be no recommendation to ignore or exclude Russia from full participation in the future security of Europe. As a result of our study, a ‘Partnership for Peace’ would be recommended to the [January 1994] NATO summit which would be open to all members of the [North Atlantic Cooperation Council] including all European and [former Soviet] states. There would be no effort to exclude anyone and there would be no step taken at this time to push anyone ahead of others.” Yeltsin was obviously relieved. “This is a brilliant idea, it is a stroke of genius,” he said. “It is important that there is an idea of partnership for all and not new membership for some.” Yeltsin exclaimed, “It really is a great idea, really great,” adding, “Tell Bill I am thrilled by this brilliant stroke.”[21] In late December, a few weeks before Clinton was to meet Yeltsin in Moscow after the NATO summit, the two men spoke by phone. The primary purpose was to discuss the recent Russian parliamentary elections and for Clinton to remind Yeltsin of how the United States had delivered on the economic assistance announced at their first meeting, in Vancouver, the previous April. Clinton stated simply, “I will be in Brussels for the NATO summit and in Prague before I see you and will want to discuss Russian participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace proposal.” Yeltsin responded that he had recently met with NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner: “We discussed a plan of action for the countries of Eastern Europe to cooperate with NATO in a way that would not be at the expense of Russia and also a plan of action for Russia to join NATO.” While Clinton did not respond to Yeltsin’s comment, their discussion was quite cordial; after all, as far as Yeltsin understood, NATO enlargement was not on the table in a serious way.[22] While the Clinton Library collection does not contain the declassified memcon from the presidents’ January 1994 summit in Moscow, nor the specific discussion they had regarding NATO that September in Washington, Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, has written that in the latter meeting Clinton told Yeltsin that NATO was going to expand but tried to reassure him that he had no timetable yet. “We’re going to move forward on this, but I’d never spring it on you.” Clinton said there would be “no surprises, no rush, and no exclusion.” He then added, “As I see it, NATO expansion is not anti-Russia. … I don’t want you to believe that I wake up every morning thinking only about how to make the Warsaw Pact countries a part of NATO — that’s not the way I look at it. What I do think about is how to use NATO expansion to advance the broader, higher goal of European security, unity and integration — a goal I know you share.”[23] Clinton knew Yeltsin was not going to be happy, so he kept emphasizing that he was promising not to spring anything on Yeltsin and that “no exclusion” meant that Russia would be eligible to join someday. In reality, it was no exclusion in theory but not in practice. Russia was not going to become a NATO member. Even so, Clinton had reason to believe he was managing the process well; after all, Yeltsin told him in a phone call on Oct. 5, 1994, that “the Washington Summit proved a success.”[24] At their September meeting, Yeltsin asked Clinton to come to the CSCE summit in Budapest that December. The CSCE was being upgraded to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), and Yeltsin wanted to signal that perhaps there could be alternatives to NATO in addressing European security. Clinton agreed to go. He kept that promise even after the 1994 midterm elections resulted in a Republican takeover of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. His White House team scheduled a congressional reception the night of the Budapest summit precisely to try to keep the president from leaving town. But Clinton’s foreign policy team said he had to go, and he did.[25] It turned out to be the most disastrous public encounter the two presidents would have. On Dec. 1, the NATO foreign ministers announced that they would complete a study by the end of 1995 (i.e., a half-year before the 1996 Russian presidential election) on how NATO would enlarge. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who had gone to Brussels to sign Russia’s Partnership for Peace program document and a document on a NATO-Russia dialogue, was ordered by a furious Yeltsin not to sign. At the Budapest summit a few days later, Clinton gave what his deputy secretary of state, Talbott, described later as the “most in your face” manifestation of the U.S. position on NATO enlargement. In remarks Talbott said were drafted not in his office but within the National Security Council (where National Security Adviser Anthony Lake had been pushing NATO enlargement for more than a year), Clinton declared, “We must not allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference. We must not consign new democracies to a gray zone.” He added that “no country outside will be allowed to veto expansion.”[26] Yeltsin publicly responded, “Europe, not having yet freed itself from the heritage of the Cold War, is in danger of plunging into a cold peace.”[27] Clinton was stunned and angered by the tone of Yeltsin’s remarks. Talbott, who was not on the trip, thought he might be fired for not having adequately prepared his boss for what would occur.[28] Soon, however, Clinton had things seemingly back on track thanks in part to visits by others in his administration, including Vice President Al Gore, to see Yeltsin. In advance of his own trip to Moscow in May 1995, Clinton called Yeltsin to discuss NATO. “We recognize how sensitive this issue is for you. That is why I want to assure you that this process is proceeding along a path that is consistent with what you and I agreed upon last September and that Vice President Gore reiterated to you when he saw you in December.” Yeltsin responded, “I fully agree with you on that.” Clinton added, “For the future stability of Europe, it is important that Russia is a vital part of the new security structures that are emerging. That means OSCE, the post-COCOM [the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls established by the West after World War II] regime, the new NATO—all of them. None of this can develop normally unless Russia is involved in the process.” Yeltsin stated, “We’ll both have difficult discussions with regards to NATO, but I’m confident we’ll be able to find an acceptable solution for this issue.” Clinton then reported that Secretary of State Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev had just described to him a proposal for the upcoming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting that would again affirm that there would be no acceleration of the enlargement process, announce a strengthening of the Partnership for Peace, and begin discussions about a NATO-Russia special relationship.[29] [quote id="3"] Nevertheless, the issue remained an enormous sore spot for Yeltsin and a domestic political problem. In a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin on May 10, 1995, Yeltsin asked for a better understanding of what Clinton was doing on NATO enlargement “because now I see nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed. How do you think it looks to us if one bloc continues to exist while the Warsaw Pact has been abolished?” He called it a “new form of encirclement” and repeated his plea to develop a new pan-European security architecture. “You and I are heading for elections,” Yeltsin said. “The extremists and hardliners are exploiting this issue for their own purposes — on both sides. I am being attacked from both the right and the left on this. We need a common European space that provides for overall security. So let’s postpone any change in NATO until 1999 or 2000. … But for me to agree to the borders of NATO expanding toward those of Russia — that would constitute a betrayal on my part of the Russian people.” Instead, Yeltsin said in desperation, “Let’s say that Russia will give every state that wants to join NATO a guarantee that we won’t infringe on its security.” When Clinton asked rhetorically whether the United States still needed to maintain a security relationship with Europe, Yeltsin fired back, “I’m not so sure you do.” Clinton tied his approach to the Victory Day ceremony for which he had come to Moscow and the lessons of history. “Our goal is for the U.S. to stay in Europe and promote a unified, integrated Europe.” He was doing that, he said, by trying to make the Partnership for Peace important, keeping open the door to Russian NATO membership, creating a special NATO-Russia relationship, and ensuring that the NATO membership review process was a deliberate one. Clinton reminded Yeltsin of how this process had unfolded, that he had told Yeltsin in January 1994 that NATO was open to taking in new members, and that in December NATO had agreed to study how to do it. Responding to that study would take the first half of 1996, said Clinton. For Yeltsin, this time frame was vital, because, the Russian leader noted, “my position heading into the 1996 elections is not exactly brilliant.” Clinton, however, had his own political concerns. He explained to Yeltsin that the Republicans were using NATO expansion in their effort to win over voters of Central European descent in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. He suggested to Yeltsin that they accept what each other needed to do politically. Yeltsin would not have to embrace expansion. Clinton would not say he was slowing down the process. And meanwhile Yeltsin should sign the documents for Russia to join the Partnership for Peace and to establish a NATO-Russian dialogue:
So here is what I want to do. I’ve made it clear I’ll do nothing to accelerate NATO. I’m trying to give you now, in this conversation, the reassurance you need. But we need to be careful that neither of us appears to capitulate. For you, that means you’re not going to embrace expansion; for me, it means no talk about slowing the process down or putting it on hold or anything like that.
Then Clinton told Yeltsin to sign the two documents. Yeltsin asked again that NATO move forward only after his election. Clinton reiterated the timetable, trying to reassure Yeltsin that nothing concrete would happen until after the summer of 1996. Yeltsin said they should publicly say they discussed the issue, understood each other, and would discuss the issue further at their next meeting. Clinton responded, “Good. So join PFP.” Yeltsin agreed.[30] A few months before the NATO leaders’ 1997 announcement in Madrid that the alliance was inviting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join, Yeltsin made one last effort to shape the future at a small meeting with Clinton in Helsinki on March 21. He opened by acknowledging the inevitable. “Our position has not changed,” Yeltsin said. “It remains a mistake for NATO to move eastward. But I need to take steps to alleviate the negative consequences of this for Russia. I am prepared to enter into an agreement with NATO not because I want to but because it is a forced step. There is no other solution for today.” Yeltsin sought a legally binding accord, signed by all 16 NATO members, that would make clear that NATO decisions would not be made “without taking into account the concerns or opinions of Russia.” He also wanted assurance that no nuclear or conventional arms would move into the new members’ territory, “thus creating a new cordon sanitaire aimed at Russia.” Then he put on the table what he most wanted. “[O]ne thing is very important: enlargement should also not embrace the former Soviet republics. I cannot sign any agreement without such language. Especially Ukraine.” Recognizing he was unlikely to receive this, he changed tack slightly,
I propose that in the statement we could accept the fact that Russia has no claims on other countries. In fact, regarding the countries of the former Soviet Union, let us have a verbal, gentlemen’s agreement — we would not write it down in the statement — that no former Soviet republics would enter NATO. This gentlemen’s agreement would not be made public.
Clinton responded that he was “trying to change NATO.” He had language in the proposed agreement between NATO and Russia on nuclear and conventional forces. And he wanted to make sure they signed something before the NATO summit “so we can say to the world that there is a new NATO and a new Russia and that’s the right spirit,” to which Yeltsin agreed. But Clinton added that he couldn’t make an agreement on former Soviet republics: “it would be a bad thing for our attempt to build a new NATO, but it would also be a bad thing for your attempt to build a new Russia.” NATO was assisting the process of building an “integrated, undivided Europe,” Clinton argued what Yeltsin was proposing would mean “Russia would be saying, ‘we have still got an empire, but it just can’t reach as far West.’” Clinton didn’t want to come out of the meeting having discussed new lines being drawn in Europe, and he wouldn’t be able to go forward with a treaty because of Senate opposition. Yeltsin tried again, saying that the Duma would likely make this a condition of its ratification of a NATO-Russia charter. He asked Clinton to tell him what he wanted to hear “one-on-one — without even our closest aides present — that you won’t take new republics in the near future; I need to hear that. I understand that maybe in ten years or something, the situation might change, but not now.” Clinton shot back,
If I went into a closet with you and told you that, the Congress would find out and pass a resolution invalidating the NATO-Russia charter. I’d rather frankly that the Duma pass a resolution conditioning its adherence on this point. I just can’t do it. A private commitment would be the same as a public one. … I know what a terrible problem this is for you, but I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO.
Yeltsin tried one last time to get what he wanted, but to no avail, and so they moved on to other items. [31] At their last meeting, in Istanbul in November 1999, Yeltsin said to Clinton, “I ask you one thing. Just give Europe to Russia. The U.S. is not in Europe. Europe should be the business of Europeans. Russia is half European and half Asian. … Bill, I’m serious. Give Europe to Europe itself. We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles.”[32] This was, of course, not a statement the United States would take seriously, and it was hard enough for Russia to be taken seriously by the United States as an equal.

The Imbalance of Power and Russia’s Drive for Equal Status

Yeltsin’s desire to be seen as an equal, and Clinton’s efforts to provide window dressing to help with appearances, permeated their conversations throughout the two presidents’ time in office, and not only during their conversations over NATO enlargement. During the September 1994 Washington summit, Yeltsin said, “[T]here are some people in the White House and Congress who believe that Russia has lost its superpower status. Of course, not you personally, Bill.” Clinton responded, “I have tried in every way to relate to Russia and to you as a great power and to enhance your role, whether in the G-7 or bilaterally.”[33] Still, neither could escape the fact that the two countries occupied completely different status levels in the international system. At their May 1995 meeting in Moscow, Clinton said to Yeltsin, “You have to walk through the doors that we open for you.”[34] The Russians wanted to be treated as equals, and the idea of walking through doors the United States was opening for them made clear that they were not. The dynamic was such, however, that when Yeltsin got spun up on these issues, Clinton would soothe him. In a one-on-one meeting (with Talbott and Yeltsin’s assistant Dmitry Ryurikov as notetakers) in Moscow in April 1996, Yeltsin came into the meeting clearly angry because Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov had told him that the United States was trying to sideline Russia in the Middle East. Clinton said, “That’s not correct. No one’s sidelining anybody.” When Yeltsin said he was not convinced, Clinton reminded him of all they had done together since their first meeting three years earlier: “We’ve done a remarkable job in getting a lot done and also in being honest about our differences. My objectives are first, an integrated, undivided Europe; and second, a cooperative equal partnership with a democratic, economically successful Russia which is influential in the world.” He added, “I want historians fifty years from now to look back on this period and say you and I took full advantage of the opportunity we had. We made maximum use of the extraordinary moment that came with the end of the Cold War.” Yeltsin zeroed in on the one word that mattered to him: “The key word you just used was ‘equal’ partnership. This will restore trust and confidence.” Clinton explained how Russia could play an important role in the Middle East due to its influence with Syria and Hezbollah. Yeltsin appeared mollified.[35] One of the major issues in their relationship was Russia’s ascension to the group of advanced industrialized democracies. The G-7 was to become the G-8. Clinton faced significant opposition to this move from his own Treasury Department, which was concerned about diluting a body of the world’s leading market economies with membership for a country that did not yet have a market economy and whose gross domestic product was quite small.[36] At a larger meeting of the two leaders and their teams in April 1996 at the Kremlin, Clinton explained that the G-7’s work coordinating fiscal policy “among the world’s richest countries” was important and that if Russia were included, countries such as Mexico, South Korea, and Brazil would ask to join as well. Yeltsin argued, “Russia will be on the rise. I cannot agree to the ‘7 plus 1’ formula; I also understand that we cannot reach the level of a full G-8. You have to keep in mind that we are a great power, which affects how people think about this.”[37] A year later, at their March 1997 meeting in Helsinki, Clinton publicly stated:
We will work with Russia to advance its membership in key international economic institutions like the W.T.O., the Paris Club, and the O.E.C.D. And I am pleased to announce, with the approval of the other G-7 nations, that we will substantially increase Russia’s role in our annual meeting, now to be called the Summit of the Eight, in Denver this June.[38]
At a bilateral meeting of the two presidents and a small group of advisers in Paris in advance of the “Summit of the Eight,” Yeltsin raised the issue of how Russia’s economy was labeled. National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger explained that by law, Russia would be far worse off in terms of trade preferences being labeled a market economy than if it were designated a non-market economy or a transition economy. Yeltsin did not care for the designation, seeing it as an insult: “Russia is not a transition economy. We have transformed. It is a market economy.” Labels mattered to him; Yeltsin wanted Russia to be seen as a great power on par with the other leading world powers.[39]

Conclusions

These records are an important reminder that notes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed. The recently released Clinton White House records show the distribution of these conversations, typically to the secretary of state, Deputy Secretary of State Talbott (who often was with the president for the meetings and phone calls), and the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. The role these documents play in developing policy is a major reason why there was so much concern when Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin one-on-one for more than two hours in Helsinki in July 2018 with no notetakers present.[40] [quote id="4"] Reading these memcons and telcons as a narrative record of the seven years of interactions between Clinton and Yeltsin left me feeling rather sad. The two leaders certainly accomplished a great deal: Yeltsin ensured that Russian troops left the Baltic countries, worked to keep Russian entities from transferring missile technologies to Iran, and participated in the Implementation Force in Bosnia alongside NATO and under American command. The two presidents worked with their counterparts in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to transfer to Russia the strategic nuclear weapons those countries inherited upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is notable that many of their accomplishments occurred during their first terms and were largely issues related to the collapse of the Soviet Union such as the removal of Russian troops from the Baltics and the stationing of strategic nuclear weapons. They had big plans throughout their two terms for new arms-control agreements, but domestic political constraints got in the way. Ultimately, neither the United States nor Russia found a place for Russia in the basic architecture of European security. Meanwhile, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine ended up in a zone of insecurity, not able to join NATO and each with Russian military forces on its territory. A conversation at the end of their time together regarding Yeltsin’s successor was more hopeful than was warranted. In September 1999, Yeltsin informed Clinton by phone,
It took me a lot of time to think who might be the next Russian president in the year 2000. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not find any sitting candidate. Finally, I came across him, that is, Putin, and I explored his bio, his interests, his acquaintances, and so on and so forth. I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner. I am very much convinced that he will be supported as a candidate in the year 2000.[41]
In their in-person conversation in Istanbul in November 1999, Clinton asked who was going to win the Russian presidential election the next year, and Yeltsin did not hesitate: “Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.” He added, “He’s tough. He has an internal ramrod. He’s tough internally, and I will do everything possible for him to win — legally, of course. And he will win. You’ll do business together. He will continue the Yeltsin line on democracy and economics and widen Russia’s contacts. He has the energy and the brains to succeed.”[42] On Dec. 31, 1999, Clinton called Yeltsin just after Yeltin’s announcement that he was stepping down in favor of Putin, who of course went on to win the presidential election a few months later. In that final call, Clinton said, “You have guided your country through a historic time and you are leaving a legacy that will leave Russians better off for years to come. … Boris, I believe that historians will say you were the father of Russian democracy…” After telling Clinton once again that Putin would win and that he was a strong, intelligent democrat, Yeltsin ended their call as he had done so often over the previous seven years: “I would like from the bottom of my heart to embrace you.”[43]   James Goldgeier is a professor of international relations at American University, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the 2018-19 Library of Congress chair in U.S.-Russia relations at the John W. Kluge Center. You can follow him on Twitter: @JimGoldgeier. Image: FDR Presidential Library [post_title] => Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bill-and-boris-a-window-into-a-most-important-post-cold-war-relationship [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-05 18:44:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-05 22:44:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://tnsr.org/?p=696 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => Against the backdrop of an enormous power differential between their two countries, Clinton and Yeltsin established a close personal rapport. They used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement — a major sore spot for Yeltsin — and the Kosovo War, the greatest test of the two leaders' personal relationship. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 4 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => [N]otes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed. ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => ) ) [style] => strategist [type] => Strategist [style_label] => The Strategist [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 60 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] The documents are in two files labeled “Declassified Documents Concerning Russian President Boris Yeltsin.” The first covers the period from Jan. 23, 1993, to April 21, 1996, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568. The second covers the period from April 21, 1996, to Dec. 31, 1999, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569. The letters they sent one another have not been declassified. [2] James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003). [3] Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs 70, no. 1 (1990/1991), https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1991-02-01/unipolar-moment. [4] Paul Quinn-Judge, “Clinton Gives Yeltsin a Vote of Confidence; Declares Support for $9 Billion Loan,” Boston Globe, Jan. 31, 1996. The agreed-upon loan amount ended up being $10.2 billion. See Michael Gordon, “Russia and I.M.F. Agree on a Loan for $10.2 Billion,” New York Times, Feb. 23, 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/23/world/russia-and-imf-agree-on-a-loan-for-10.2-billion.html. See also the Clinton-Yeltsin discussion of the loan in Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “The President’s Discussion with President Yeltsin on the Russian Election, Bilateral Relations, START II Ratification and NATO,” Feb. 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 357. [5] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 125; Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy (New York: Random House, 2002), 70. [6] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” April 26, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 51–52. [7] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Sept. 7, 1993; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Sept. 21, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 95, 107. [8] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Oct. 5, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 119–21. [9] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin: Chechnya, START II,” Feb. 13, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 269. [10] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin on CTBT, Chechnya, Economics, CFE and Russian Election,” May 7, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 26–27. [11] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 30, 1997; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Feb. 23, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 183, 253. [12] Memorandum of Conversation, “President Boris Yeltsin of Russia,” Birmingham, England, May 17, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 316. [13] John Norris, Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo (New York: Praeger, 2005). [14] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” March 24, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 432–36. Note that the document is dated 1998, but given the content and the placement in the records, it is clear the call was from 1999. [15] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” May 2, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 472. [16] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” June 10, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 488. [17] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” June 13, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 535. [18] For more on the impact of NATO enlargement on their relationship, see Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose. [19] See Mary Elise Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to ‘Bribe the Soviets Out’ and Move NATO In,” International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 110–37, https://doi.org/10.1162/ISEC_a_00005; Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (January 2010): 119–40, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7709.2009.00835.x; Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7–44, https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00236. For arguments that the notion of promises or assurances are mistaken, see, for example, Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2009): 39–61, https://doi.org/10.1080/01636600902773248; James M. Goldgeier, Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999); Steven Pifer, “Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says ‘No,’” Brookings Institution, Nov. 6, 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/. [20] “Secretary Christopher’s Meeting with President Yeltsin,” Moscow, Oct. 22, 1993, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/dc.html?doc=4390822-Document-08-Secretary-Christopher-s-meeting-with. This document was posted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University earlier this year and was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request I made many years ago. [21] For a discussion of this meeting’s importance for future developments, see James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016, https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/promises-made-promises-broken-what-yeltsin-was-told-about-nato-in-1993-and-why-it-matters/. [22] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Dec. 22, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 144–45. Unfortunately, the declassified memcon from their meeting in Moscow in January 1994 is not included in the cache of documents recently made available by the Clinton Library. [23] Talbott, The Russia Hand, 136; Ronald D. Asmus, Opening NATO’s Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 90. For an explanation of how U.S. policy developed from January to September 1994, see Goldgeier, Not Whether But When. [24] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 5, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 227. Note that the document itself is dated 1993, but the content and the date on the transmittal memorandum make clear that it is from 1994. [25] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 189–90. [26] Talbott, The Russia Hand, 141; “Remarks by the President at Plenary Session of 1994 Summit of the Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Dec. 5, 1994, https://clintonwhitehouse6.archives.gov/1994/12/1994-12-05-president-remarks-at-csce-summit-in-budapest.html. [27] Daniel Williams, “Yeltsin, Clinton Clash over NATO’s Role,” Washington Post, Dec. 6, 1994, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/12/06/yeltsin-clinton-clash-over-natos-role/19b7b3a1-abd1-4b1e-b4b2-362f1a236ce9/. [28] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 192. [29] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Presidential Telephone Call,” April 27, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 281–82. [30] “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 290–96. [31] Memorandum of Conversation, “Morning Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, START, ABM/TMD,” Helsinki, March 21, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 106–10. [32] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 562–63. [33] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with President Boris Yeltsin,” Sept. 27, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 214–15. [34] “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 293. [35] “POTUS-Yeltsin One-on-One,” Presidential Ceremonial Office, The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57568, 381–85. [36] Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 207. [37] Memorandum of Conversation, “Luncheon Meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 11–12. [38] “The President’s News Conference with President Boris Yeltsin of Russia in Helsinki,” March 21, 1997, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=53904. [39] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, Arms Control, Economics, Denver Summit of the Eight, Afghanistan, Iran,” Paris, May 27, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 148–49. [40] James Goldgeier, "Trump and Putin one-on-one is not a good idea. Here’s why." Monkey Cage blog, July 19, 2017 (revised and republished July 13, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/07/19/there-are-no-notes-on-trumps-meeting-with-putin-thats-a-big-deal/. [41] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Sept. 8, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 548. [42] Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 565–66. [43] Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” Dec. 31, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/57569, 582–84. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 2 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => 1 [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 1cc51aef24802916b716dc2ce06fa20c [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )