Marvin Kalb


Imperial Gamble:
Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War

This event includes a book signing


November 6, 2015
4:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard MARVIN KALB for a discussion of his book Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War.

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Crimea in March 2014 stunned the world. The United States and its Western allies reacted by imposing strict economic sanctions on Russia in the naïve hope that Putin would be intimidated and change his policy. At the same time, the United States stressed it would not go to war with Russia over Ukraine.

A sharp deterioration in East-West relations that has followed, raising basic questions about the policies of Putin and the future of Russia. Is Putin's ultimate goal the dissolution of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the end of Western influence and power in Eastern Europe? Or are his goals more modest simply to retain Russian influence and power in Ukraine?

Kalb argues that world order hangs on the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. The only sensible solution lies in both Russia and Ukraine recognizing that their futures are irrevocably linked by the geography, power, politics, and history that Kalb brings to life in Imperial Gamble. Kalb makes the provocative argument that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Putin did not "suddenly" decide to invade Crimea and then instigate a pro- Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine. Once he saw the power of the pro-Western demonstrations in late 2013, he knew that one day soon he would have to take military action to thwart Ukraine's swing to the West. It was, in his mind, just a matter of time. The "Maidan Square" demonstrations posed an existential threat to Russia, and Putin felt they had to be stopped.

Imperial Gamble examines how Putin reached that conclusion by taking a critical look at the recent political history of post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine. Kalb also journeys deeper into Russian history to explain more fully the roots of Russian nationalism and why the Russian people support Putin's dangerous and controversial actions in Ukraine.

Marvin Kalb
Marvin Kalb

Marvin Kalb

Marvin Kalb is a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, a senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and a Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard. In his long and distinguished career, he served as the chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC, the Moscow bureau chief, and the host of Meet the Press

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